Are humans the only animals that actively fear death?
I know that an animal that is running from a predator is frightened in that moment, and will be until it gets to safety, evolution has programmed it to flee and try to live another day so it can eventually pass on its genes, but they're not standing around before an attack pondering what death is like.
- RayLv 61 month agoFavorite Answer
Glutamate is the neural chemical behind fear, humans have it, all vertebrates have it, insects have it etc.
It is as instinctive for other animals as it is for us.
I know philosophy has attempted to separate humans, most notably emotionally, from other animals, but science classifies us as just another clade of great ape. We are animals, no ifs and or buts about it.
- Anonymous2 months ago
We cannot read minds of course, so we do not know whether animals know that one day they are going to die or not, but some indirect evidence suggest that some animals seem to know that their friends may be near death. Dogs and cats for example seem to know if a person inside a nursing home is near death and may insist on spending time with them during their final hours until they pass away. Odd animal friends of different species may spend more time with their pals as they near death.
We can however measure the amount of alarm hormones found in the blood of animals. When animals are scared by potential predators the level of alarm hormones go up to get their heart rate elevated and also other body functions ready to run for their lives. These responses are temporary and their physiology return to normal once the threat is gone. Humans, however, are different. We tend to retain these chemicals longer and they will negatively affect our health long term. People tend to retain the memory of threats longer and these memories alone can trigger an increase in these hormones and harmful effects on our body. People who suffer from PTSD are for example, unable to erase these memories and they often have nightmares of their traumatic past events. Our ability to remember these events may have helped us in the past when we lived on the dangerous African savanna, but they are less useful, and even harmful for modern humans, who live in relatively safe environments.
- 2 months ago
We don't necessarily know for sure, but we do know that we are separated from the rest of the animal kingdom by our higher cognitive abilities, so it's likely that although other animals may know what death is, and certainly fear it to some extent, we may be unique in fearing it on a more philosophical level.
(Note that I'm not an expert in animal psychology, this is all conjecture)
- daniel gLv 72 months ago
It is not the fear of death, it is the natural instinct of survival.
Fear is something that is taught and that fear of death prevents living
It is not negotiable, you can't buy more. nothing alive is immortal, all life ends.
Prey animals naturally fear larger animals that might harm them, that is why the run from them.
Even predators will try to avoid animals above them in the food chain, just different if they are trapped/cornered and can't run, they all have some defense. That is called fight or flight.
True, humans are the only animal that has any concept or thought of death, but totally pointless dwelling on a fear of it. I don't want to die, but don't fear it. I just have no delusion of immortality.
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- The MikelLv 72 months ago
Unknown, but other animals mostly run away in some fear of something.
- ChristianLv 52 months ago
No, other animals know what death is. They see their kin die and not come back.