Monkeys may sometimes grieve for dead mates through necrophilia


Your headline is of adequate shock value to instigate a read, but if you actually do read the article you will see that neither of the researchers quoted believe that the marmoset was grieving via necrophilia: “She adds that it was “clear to me” that the male was engaging in caretaking of his dying partner, although she adds that some of his behaviors—such as emitting alarm calls and trying to mate with her—might have been signs of stress rather than compassion,” and "Rather, the male marmoset’s behavior, including the attempts to copulate with the female, could indicate that he was excited and aroused by her lying on the ground, “rather than any kind of compassion.”


Grieving! That’s what I was doing, officer! Grieving! We all grieve in different ways.


yes, I would also argue that “attempts to copulate” do not equal “necrophilia”. But the behavior all taken together is interesting none-the-less.

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A very poor headline for a moving piece.


This chunk leapt out at me

…several months after her death, the male disappeared from the marmoset group, never to be seen again.

And gave chase
Looping over and…
getting tangled-up,
in everything.

Like how every pop and shush
of steam from the coffee maker
is nestled in woven loops of
never to be heard of again

Maybe that’s why I never made that second cup.

I mean, fuck—out pops a clown:
if all I get out of it is grief,
why should I even turn you on,
oh ye coffee pot o’ doom!

That was close wasn’t it.
You can always count on a clown,
though, ride in last minute,
keep you alive another day.

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I really really didn’t need to know this.

The full chronological listing observations are available under the supplementary materials at the Journal link:

I don’t think that I have what it takes to perform field observations (or in this case back yard observations)…

Do Monkeys Grieve for Fallen Mates?

Why is the baseline assumption that monkeys don’t have emotions until proven otherwise? Why would they not have emotions? I suspect this reflexive anti-anthropomorphism in biology will not wind up being judged as wise or prudent, but as the last gasp of kneejerk human exceptionalism.


I agree. It is highly unlikely that much of what we classify as emotions evolved since homo sapiens diverged from the rest of the primates. Likely these characteristics evolved much earlier in the evolutionary tree. Humans are just another animal after all.


I am curious on exactly how the female died. Reading a monkey fell out of a tree, to me, is akin to reading about a dolphin drowning.

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They were in the back yard of a settlement (lots of good fruit trees there) and her head hit a ceramic vase.

F1B fell to the ground when jumping from one tree to another in a garden of one of the houses surrounding the forest fragment. The gardens of these houses represent a good food resource for the common marmosets due to the presence of fruit trees. On the way down, the female hit her head/body on a ceramic vase.

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