Animals Dealing With Death: Just Like Us or Unaware?

New York Times science journalist, Natalie Angier, tackles the question of how various animals deal with death.

Among the social insects, the need for prompt corpse management is considered so pressing that there are dedicated undertakers, workers that within a few minutes of a death will pick up the body and hoist or fly it outside, to a safe distance from hive or nest, the better to protect against possible contagious disease. Honeybees are such compulsive housekeepers that if a mouse or other large creature, drawn by the warmth or promise of honey, happens to make its way into the hive and die inside, the bees, unable to bodily remove it, will embalm it in resin collected from trees. “You can find mummified mice inside beehives that are completely preserved right down to their whiskers,” said Gene E. Robinson, professor of entomology at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.