Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


David M. Peña-Guzmán, Can nonhuman animals commit suicide?


Although my commentary begins with a report about a monkey committing suicide, I agree with the target article's concluding statement that we cannot currently prove that any animal has committed suicide. The author’s proposed continuist approach is based on animal behaviors reminiscent of symptoms preceding suicide in humans (e.g., deep depression and grief). However, in both humans and nonhuman animals, these are just potential precursors of suicide, and dying as a result of grief is not necessarily suicide. In the absence of supporting evidence, the continuist hypothesis of animal suicide is not sustained.

Author Biography

David Eilam, Professor of Zoology and Head of the Laboratory for the Analysis of Human and Animal Behavior at Tel-Aviv University, does research on spatial cognition in individuals and groups, compulsive behavior in animals and in OCD patients, and predator-prey interactions.