I was just reading this blog on HarperCollins website about 5 animals that grieve. Of elephants, the following claim is made:
They bury their dead and pay tribute to the bodies and to the bones. [my emphasis]
Now, I don't doubt that elephants "pay tribute to the bodies", which I take as mourning, as THIS VIDEO (WARNING: if you are an animal-lover, these two videos may be disturbing to you and THIS VIDEO appear to show some sort of concern over the dead. I am aware of the complex emotional lives of many animals, such as cows experiencing PTSD-like symptoms from wolf attacks, or any number of animals that experience PTSD-esque symptoms. Or, how a mother orca carried around her dead calf for 17 days, and I could go on for awhile here.
My point is that I am not doubting that elephants experience a complex inner-world. What I am questioning is elephants' (or ANY creature's) propensity to cover their dead. I find the suggestion that they "bury" their dead, as doubtful almost to the point of disregarding it entirely (for an elephant to dig a grave large enough for another elephant, or to dig up enough material to cover another elephant to effectively "bury" it would be a tremendous amount of work and truly astounding, indeed). However, it would not be too terribly surprising to find them covering their dead. The question would be, to what extent? For example, is it a single branch or a single scooping of dirt with the trunk by a single member of the herd, or is it a concerted effort by the group to cover the deceased with a good amount of material?
The only place I can find with an apparent expert mentioning this behavior is in a Daily Mail article from 2013. It is a passing mention of the behavior:
According to Charlie Mayhew, of the Tusk Trust, elephants will ‘bury’ their dead, covering carcasses with branches and even taking the tusks to be placed at a different spot.
I can find no other mentions of this behavior, outside similar briefly passing mentions in places such as Quora or Facebook.
So, the PRIMARY question is do any animals bury their dead? The reason I have focused primarily on elephants here is because they are the only species mentioned by my Google searches that exhibit this behavior. SECONDARILY, I would like to know what form these "burials" take; i.e., like I mentioned earlier, how much covering of the deceased is performed, and by how many individuals. ULTIMATELY, someone will find a YouTube video or (even more preferentially, multiple) videos showing the act. Thanks for any help you can give.