• Day 11: Planet of the Apes Grieving for Their Ape Kind Dead

    Want to Understand Mortality? Look to the Chimps
    Maggie Koerth-Baker, New York Times Magazine (June 25, 2013)

    Today is the release date for the new Planet of the Apes movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

    We’ll set aside all the timeline problems and alternative universes this specific reboot created. And no one should ever speak again of Tim Burton’s terrible remake.

    What everyone should be discussing is how apes grieve for their dead. The New York Times Magazine ran an article in June 2013 on this topic. The Death Reference Desk has also written about Chimpanzees and grief before, in 2010 and 2009.

    You can also read more generally about animals and death here.

    Whenever we Humans start discussing our primate cousins and grieving, we run the risk of going on an anthropomorphising rampage. That said, it’s clear that our Great Ape relatives could teach us a few things about understanding mortality and the finality of time.

    Want to Understand Mortality? Look to the Chimps Maggie Koerth-Baker, New York Times Magazine (June 25, 2013) Today is the release date for the new…

  • Walter Potter’s Anthropomorphic Taxidermy and Dead Animals

    On the Death and Burial of Cock Robin
    Guest Post by John Troyer, Centre for Death and Society, Bath University (August 23, 2013)

    Death Ref’s good friend Joanna Ebenstein, who runs the Morbid Anatomy blog and benevolent empire in Brooklyn, NY, asked me if I would write a guest blog post for her new book on the 19th century British taxidermist Walter Potter. If you don’t know Walter Potter’s work, but like taxidermy, then you really must look him up. Joanna and Walter Potter expert Pat Morris have put together a new book called Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy.

    Walter Potter is known (and a little infamous, in a late-Victorian kind of way) for his anthropomorphic taxidermy in which dead kittens (for example) have a tea party. There is significantly more to say about all of Potter’s taxidermy work, but I focused on a personal favourite The Death and Burial of Cock Robin.

    The Death and Burial of Cock Robin by Walter Potter

    The Death and Burial of Cock Robin by Walter Potter

     

    Please check it out!

    On the Death and Burial of Cock Robin Guest Post by John Troyer, Centre for Death and Society, Bath University (August 23, 2013) Death Ref’s…

  • Bye Bye Birdies

    The recent spate of mass bird deaths has taken flight across the Internet—a literal and figurative tweeting and Twittering—and dare I say crowing—on a large…

  • Murder?! The Maggots Are on It

    Crime Scene Insects BBC World Service (June 11, 2010) This episode of BBC Documentaries explores forensic entomology: “the investigation of insects recovered from crime scenes…

  • Humans and Pets Cremating Together

    Cremation Association of North America (CANA) and International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories (IAOPCC) Announce new Guidelines for Pet Cremation Press Release, March 2010…

  • Chimpanzees and their Dead Relatives

    Chimps’ Emotional Response to Death Caught on Film Ian Sample, The Guardian (April 26, 2010)   Chimps ‘feel death like humans’ BBC News (April 26,…

  • Lolcats? No, Death Cat.

    The story of Oscar, the “Death Cat”, is making the rounds these days. From articles in Discover and the New England Journal of Medicine, to…

  • Swedish Woman Killed by Elk (possibly) Drunk on Fermented Apples

    Sweden woman’s ‘murder’ committed by elk not husband BBC News (November 28, 2009) So yeah. There are a number of more important articles that I…

  • Chimpanzee Funeral?

    Behind the Lens: The Grieving Chimps Jeremy Berlin, National Geographic Blog Central (October 29, 2009) Fast on the heels of debatably mourning magpies, I offer…

  • No Tittering of Mourning Magpies

    Magpies Hold Funerals for Fallen Feathered Friends Lester Haines, The Register (October 21, 2009) Animal Emotions, Wild Justice and Why They Matter: Grieving Magpies, a…

  • Pets-n-Death

    People are crazy about their pets. Diamond tiaras, cat condos, doggie daycares serving gourmet kibble, anti-depressants and acupuncture for the unstable pet in your life…