HBM038: Do Crows Mourn Their Dead?

Crows have really strange habits around death. When a bird dies, crows gather, squawking loudly and gathering as many other birds as they can find to come and look at the dead body.

Much of what we know about crow funerals comes from the work of John Marzluff, a biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle. He and Kaeli Swift (one of his grad students) are trying to get to the bottom of these strange phenomena using taxidermy crows and masks and Cheetos and raw peanuts.

On this episode of Here Be Monsters, We look at and listen to the strange behaviors of crows and how they might be able to teach humanity about the origins of funerals and emotions.

Many thanks to David Kestenbaum of NPR's Planet Money for his help on a short version of this piece made for radio...keep your ears peeled.

Also, many thanks to Brian Emtman for tipping us off to this story.

Some of the crow sounds in this episode came from Cornell's Macaullay Library. Citation: macaulaylibrary.org/audio/45291http…org/audio/45291

In this episode there are some amazing recordings of funeral practices from around the world, including Laos (LukeIRL), Bali (RTB45), Colombia (renatofarabeuf), and Ghana (Klankbeeld). via Freesound.

Music from Flower Petal Downpour, Serocell, and The Black Spot.

HBM028: Jonathan's Cadaver Paintings

Jonathan Happ’s white lab coat and latex gloves make him look like a doctor when he stands in a room full of people. But he’s not a doctor…he’s an artist, and the people he shares this room with are all dead.

In this episode, Jonathan takes a recorder into the University of Washington’s cadaver lab and reports on what he sees, and why he draws and paints images of the bodies.

Sensitive listeners should note that this episode contains graphic (but mostly scientific) descriptions of the cadavers.

The track image is one of Jonathan's paintings. To see a larger version and a drawing of the tendons in a cadaver hand, go to HBM's facebook page

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Music from: Swamp Dog ||| Flower Petal Downpour ||| Nym ||| The Black Spot

Here Be Monsters is now a proud member of the Mule Radio Syndicate, which distributes some other really great podcasts. Check them out at MuleRadio.net.

This episode is sponsored by Squarespace, the easiest way to create a professional website. They’ve got a great deal for HBM listeners. Go to SquareSpace.com and use the promo code “monsters10” to get 10% off and a free trial.