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Birds hold funerals for their fallen, study says

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, found that when western scrub jays - similar to blue jays - come across their dead, they hold a strange ritual never seen in birds.

Blue jaysEnlarge
A new study has found that some birds hold funerals for fallen comrades. (Wikimedia/Wikimedia commons)

A new study suggests that some types of birds practice funeral rites.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, found that when western scrub jays - similar to blue jays - come across their dead, they hold a strange ritual never seen in birds.

The ritual sees the bird call out to the others and stop their activity - usually flying and foraging.

After the bird calls out, other western scrubs arrive and gather around the carcass.

Smithsonian said that researchers are unsure whether this is an acknowledgement of the dead or it is a useful way of gathering to repel a threat that may have killed their comrade.

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io9 reported that the study used a number of objects, including pieces of wood to other dead jays, and saw them placed in backyards.

The birds ignored the other objects and would encircle the dead jay in this bizarre funeral ritual.

These birds are not the only animals who pay attention to their dead.

Giraffes, elephants and polar bears are especially affected by the death of their own species, said Smithsonian.

The western scrub jay is native to western North America.

The findings were published in the journal Animal Behavior.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120904/birds-hold-funerals-their-fallen-study-says