“Do Dolphins Feel Grief?” Science News Feed

A pod of striped dolphins. Click on the image to read the Science article. 

A VIDEO OF A STRIPED DOLPHIN IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA remaining with its dead female companion prompted a new study on the question of whether dolphins feel grief, reported on in Science Magazine’s daily news feed.

It’s been a mystery for a good half-century. There are plenty of reports of dolphins exhibiting grief-like behavior, like mothers (and some males) carrying dead infants in their mouths for days. In this case, the male dolphin pushed, nudged and circled its companion for more than an hour, as researchers in a nearby boat looked on.

There’s a video, with commentary. Warning: It’s hard to watch.


Researchers in Italy analyzed 78 scientific reports dating back to 1970 of “post-mortem-attentive behavior” among cetaceans. Short answer: the found grief-like behavior in animals with large, complex brains and societies. They reported their findings in the journal Zoology.

But they admitted that the question remains unanswered.

PRINCIPAL SOURCE:  “Do Dolphins Feel Grief? Virginia Morell, Science News Feed.