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Magpies, dolphins, sea lions, geese, elephants, squirrels and, of course, dogs (to name only a few) each express some level of discomfort over the loss of an offspring, a mate or a companion. Whether that response is equal to the expression of human grief is left to conjecture. There does seem to be some resemblance.
It is unclear what role grief plays in our human adaptive response to loss. We do know that grief, at some point in our evolutionary history, served to strengthen social and family bonds. Death may disrupt our attachment with others, thereby weakening the very survival of the group. Grief and its accompanying empathetic response may make reconciling differences between surviving group members more possible.
Grief does appear to have offered some adaptive value to how we’ve evolved and continue to evolve as a species. Like many of our modern-day emotive potentials, however, grief may no…
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