Updated on July 18 at p. In April , Kaeli Swift laid a dead crow next to a cherry tree—and waited. Now a film crew had come to capture this behavior. As if on cue, another crow alighted on a nearby branch and gazed at the cadaver beneath it. Instead of cawing from afar, it flew down and approached the body.
Not real ones, mind you. Her mission? To figure out why—and how often—live crows tried to have sex with dead ones. When chancing upon a slain comrade, most crows take understandable offense. But one afternoon, Swift noticed a crow do something out of the ordinary.
Why Are Some Crows Committing Acts of Necrophilia?
This is attributable largely to the fact that how these animals procreate is quite different from the mammalian systems we are familiar with. Birds The most consequential departure by birds from mammalian systems is that most birds lack any kind of external sex organ. In contrast, most other kinds of animals have sex organs that are either maintained outside the body permanently, or can emerge temporarily as needed. Which is to say of course that you absolutely should.
Crows are not alone in this peculiar predilection. Scientists have witnessed isolated examples of different types of animals — from ducks to dolphins — trying to copulate with deceased members of their own species. But scientists couldn't say how common that behavior is among species, which makes it difficult to explain why animals were doing it. However, a couple of researchers who study American crows Corvus brachyrhynchos now have some answers. They conducted the first-ever study to observe and document the practice of corpse copulation in crows — or in any land animals with backbones, for that matter.