The natural death of a 55-year-old elephant called Victoria in a national park in Kenya, surrounded by her family, has helped to provide researchers with a unique insight into how the animals respond to loss, including a prolonged interest in the deceased even as the body decays.

After Victoria died the herd clustered around the fallen matriarch, exploring her body with their trunks and feet. Among the last to leave was her ten-year-old daughter, who was observed by scientists to have temporal glands streaming with liquid, a reaction linked to stress. Later, they found evidence of an attempt to move the carcass, apparently by her son.

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