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Social relationships and death-related behaviour in aquatic mammals: a systematic review.
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2018 09 05; 373(1754)PT

Abstract

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' (age class, sex, relationship and decomposition) and 'social' characteristics (escorting, calf dependence, alloparental care, herding and dispersal patterns) from published and unpublished literature.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.This article is part of the theme issue 'Evolutionary thanatology: impacts of the dead on the living in humans and other animals'.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Biology, University of Milano-Bicocca, piazza della Scienza 3, 20126 Milano, Italy melissa.reggente@gmail.com.BioacousticsLab, Institute for Marine Coastal Environment (IAMC), Capo Granitola, National Research Council, via del Mare 3, 91021 Torretta Granitola, Trapani, Italy.Marine Macroecology and Biogeochemistry Lab, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada.Dolphin Biology and Conservation, 33084 Cordenons, Pordenone, Italy.Institute for Marine Coastal Environment (IAMC), Oristano, National Research Council, 09170 Torregrande, Oristano, Italy.Sea Watch Foundation, Paragon House, Wellington Place, New Quay, Ceredigion SA45 9NR, UK.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Systematic Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

30012746

Citation

Reggente, Melissa A L V., et al. "Social Relationships and Death-related Behaviour in Aquatic Mammals: a Systematic Review." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, vol. 373, no. 1754, 2018.
Reggente MALV, Papale E, McGinty N, et al. Social relationships and death-related behaviour in aquatic mammals: a systematic review. Philos Trans R Soc Lond, B, Biol Sci. 2018;373(1754).
Reggente, M. A. L. V., Papale, E., McGinty, N., Eddy, L., de Lucia, G. A., & Bertulli, C. G. (2018). Social relationships and death-related behaviour in aquatic mammals: a systematic review. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 373(1754). https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2017.0260
Reggente MALV, et al. Social Relationships and Death-related Behaviour in Aquatic Mammals: a Systematic Review. Philos Trans R Soc Lond, B, Biol Sci. 2018 09 5;373(1754) PubMed PMID: 30012746.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Social relationships and death-related behaviour in aquatic mammals: a systematic review. AU - Reggente,Melissa A L V, AU - Papale,Elena, AU - McGinty,Niall, AU - Eddy,Lavinia, AU - de Lucia,Giuseppe Andrea, AU - Bertulli,Chiara Giulia, PY - 2018/05/04/accepted PY - 2018/7/18/entrez PY - 2018/7/18/pubmed PY - 2019/7/31/medline KW - aquatic mammals KW - behaviour KW - death KW - multiple correspondence analyses KW - sociality JF - Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences JO - Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci. VL - 373 IS - 1754 N2 - 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' (age class, sex, relationship and decomposition) and 'social' characteristics (escorting, calf dependence, alloparental care, herding and dispersal patterns) 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.This article is part of the theme issue 'Evolutionary thanatology: impacts of the dead on the living in humans and other animals'. SN - 1471-2970 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/30012746/Social_relationships_and_death_related_behaviour_in_aquatic_mammals:_a_systematic_review_ L2 - https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rstb.2017.0260?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub=pubmed DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -