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Animal Behavior: suicide

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Just some confirmation, but I believe humans are the only animals that can/do commit suicide?

I dont believe any other animal or plant for that matter kills it self?

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What about lemmings?

 

That was faked by Disney. I bet it made them a bundle of money, the bastards.

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That was faked by Disney. I bet it made them a bundle of money, the bastards.

 

Really? I hadn't heard that.

 

Yeah. Sure.

Next you're gonna try and tell me that The Natl Geographic used a bunch of actors to stage a stone age tribe in the jungle.......no wait.....

 

Update:

Wow! http://www.snopes.com/disney/films/lemmings.asp

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i think you could argue that lemmings commit suicide, but not consiously.

 

iirc, a lemming's stress levels are proportional the local population-density of lemmings, and stress forces them to migrate. if they don't/cant, i think they generally die of stress, which could be called a natural suicide.

 

also, depressed animals can self-harm and stop eating, to the point where they die iirc.

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What happens to lemmings that don't have a cliff to jump off of?

 

Do they just run around in circles until they starve to death?

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This is something I've never thought of. Perhaps it's unique to human race to commit suicide consiously, although I can't see why other animals can't have feelings and get depressed in the same way as we do.

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Shall I find other animals beside whales and dolphins? :rolleyes:

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iNow, I didn't read the link on your previous post so I might just be wrong, but PETA isn't a very good source when it comes to animal bahaviour. The organisation is way to political.

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Do you doubt the intentionality behind whales which beach themselves?

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Do you doubt the intentionality behind whales which beach themselves?

 

I do, to a great degree. The best hypothesis for a live whale beaching itself is disorientation, brought on by sickness, injury, old age, or what have you. A group of whales beaching themselves are probably following a disoriented pod leader. While I agree that dolphins and elephants are probably the only non-human animals that may be able to intentionally kill themselves, I think it would be extremely rare in the wild. Most other animals do not attempt to kill themselves for the sake of dying, as humans do; they do it in defense, or captive animals become stressed and depressed and through some byproduct of that condition, i.e. not eating well, they die.

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Yes, I doubt the intentionality behind whales which beach themselves.

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Hmmm.....Now I wonder about all those stories I heard in my youth about dogs going under the porch, never to see daylight or eat again after a young man goes away to war............

What d'ya think? Truth or fabrication?

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What d'ya think? Truth or fabrication?

 

Probably a combination of both.

 

 

 

The idea that humans are the only life forms to intentionally take their own life seems like rubbish IMO. I can appreciate that others feel differently, but such a stance doesn't seem grounded in evidence, just semantics.

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Animals IMO, probably cannot commit suicide as humans do or reason death for emotional problems. However one human reason, possibly most often, is ongoing pain. All warm blooded life, suffer pain, at least are thought to. Incapable of reason, animals would not understand the pain would stop, if they just ran off some cliff, ram its head into a rock or any of the limited ways an animal could. The art of reasoning, then the question...

 

Having said this, long before PETA, or ocean sonar activity, dolphins, whales and other sea life have been known to beach themselves. Elephants w/o question, in old age simple quit eating and often go to places others have gone to die. Many animals that fight to mate, must have some idea they are to old or weak to overtake the rival, dieing as the result.

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Do you doubt the intentionality behind whales which beach themselves?

 

Since mulling over this question for a while, I have concluded that I also doubt it (the intentionality of suicide) in most cases that involve humans. More like a really loud cry for help in many (but of course not all) cases.

 

People that use a shotgun to blow the top of their heads off....those guys are serious......

 

OD on pills, maybe not so much.....

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Elephants w/o question, in old age simple quit eating and often go to places others have gone to die.

 

Old elephants stop eating because they no longer have teeth. Elephants have a peculiar system of tooth growth where for every two teeth they lose, only one larger tooth grows back. Eventually they are left with one large tooth which will also get ground down and fall out. After this, they starve to death.

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Certain species of ants can produce (or command) members of the colony that specifically have the purpose of committing suicide; they blow themselves up to defend their colony. So to answer the original OP, is yes, non human species can commit suicide. Maybe not for the same reasons, but it fits the definition.

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Old elephants stop eating because they no longer have teeth. Elephants have a peculiar system of tooth growth where for every two teeth they lose, only one larger tooth grows back. Eventually they are left with one large tooth which will also get ground down and fall out. After this, they starve to death.

 

In short, I offered both sides on *Animal Suicide*, not intending to be precise on any one issue. I do feel "reasoning" a human trait, is not one animals display...

 

Yes: Elephants after about six sets, lose their teeth. The would be tusk or in some cases the tusk, however I am not sure how they could ware down. The legends of *Elephant Graveyards* are still being discussed (argued), many feeling are where older elephants gathered was for softer food, etc. I could give alternative reasons for sea life beaching as well, but my point was; some people think this is animal suicide.

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In short, I offered both sides on *Animal Suicide*, not intending to be precise on any one issue. I do feel "reasoning" a human trait, is not one animals display...

 

But many animals can reason, so your intuition is incorrect in this case.

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A more familiar example of animal suicide would be the bee. They're like suicide bombers, only with stingers instead of explosives. Oh, and I think bees might kill more people than suicide bombers do (due to allergies), but I'm not sure of that last bit.

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So, it sounds like the bee will die once it's stinger is broken off, yet it still engages in the activity of stinging?

 

 

EDIT: Appears to be the case. I just read this after googling:

 

When the stinger or ovipositor is left, the insect has torn off a part of its abdomen and cannot survive the damage.

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I'll admit that I am not an expert in this field, but I don't think what a bee does in protecting its hive could be considered suicide in the same sense....the bee is simply doing what is best for the preservation of its collective and dying appears to be an indirect consequence of that act. Bees and ants (and similar organisms) are perhaps uniquely selfless in their actions.

 

Besides, I wonder if the bee even considers or even knows that its actions will result in its own death.

 

Also, are the soldiers that die protecting their units commiting suicide? Even if they actually know full well that their actions may lead or will lead to their own death.

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