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      Social relationships and death-related behaviour in aquatic mammals: a systematic review

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          Abstract

          <p class="first" id="d4481876e251">Some aquatic mammals appear to care for their dead, whereas others abandon their live offspring when conditions are unfavourable. This incredible variety in behaviours suggests the importance of comparing and contrasting mechanisms driving death-related behaviours among these species. We reviewed 106 cases of aquatic mammals (81 cetaceans and 25 non-cetaceans) reacting to a death event, and extrapolated ‘participant’ ( <i>age class</i>, <i>sex</i>, <i>relationship</i> and <i>decomposition</i>) and ‘social’ characteristics ( <i>escorting</i>, <i>calf dependence</i>, <i>alloparental care</i>, <i>herding</i> and <i>dispersal patterns</i>) from published and unpublished literature. A multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) was performed to explore the relationships between these characteristics and death-related behaviours, with species clustered based on MCA scores. Results showed that both cetaceans and non-cetaceans react to death but in different ways. Non-cetaceans, characterized by a short maternal investment, were observed to protect the dead (defending it from external attacks), while cetaceans spent much longer with their offspring and display carrying (hauling, spinning, mouthing with the carcass and diving with it) and breathing-related (lifting and sinking the carcass) activities with the dead generally in association with other conspecifics. Our work emphasizes the need of increased documentation of death-related cases around the world to improve our understanding of aquatic mammals and their responses to death. </p><p id="d4481876e281">This article is part of the theme issue ‘Evolutionary thanatology: impacts of the dead on the living in humans and other animals’. </p>

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          The Social Structure of Free-Ranging Bottlenose Dolphins

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            ECOLOGY, BEHAVIOR AND SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF THE BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN: A REVIEW

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              Behavioural reactions of elephants towards a dying and deceased matriarch

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
                Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B
                The Royal Society
                0962-8436
                1471-2970
                July 16 2018
                September 05 2018
                July 16 2018
                September 05 2018
                : 373
                : 1754
                : 20170260
                Article
                10.1098/rstb.2017.0260
                6053979
                30012746
                05c9656b-1bd9-48eb-afa1-2e7ec234c468
                © 2018
                History

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