Are we the only animals that cry?

Thursday 22nd October 2009
Submitted by Yan Wong
Anon

We often talk about the cry of animals, like wolves or eagles, but I assume you mean shedding tears.

Lots of animals do this to clear debris from their eyes. But surprisingly, there’s no good evidence that any of them do this as a sign of unhappiness (our close relatives, chimps and gorillas, use vocal noises).

Even elephant ‘tears’, sometimes produced under stress, are quite different from ours: for example, they are not produced from a tear gland.

Can mirages occur in cold places?
previous qanda Article
Why are moths attracted to lights?
next qanda Article
Q&A Tabs

No. At least, not in the popular sense that creative people are more ‘right-brained’ than logical or analytical people are: a study that scanned the brains of over 1,000 people found...

Phlegm is the mucous secretion of the respiratory passages. The cilia cells that line these passages are continually driving the phlegm upward to the throat, where it triggers the swallow reflex...

Because of the orientation and tilt of their orbits, the eight major planets of the Solar System can never come into perfect alignment. The last time they appeared even in the same part of the...

Trees release oxygen when they use energy from sunlight to make glucose from carbon dioxide and water. Like all plants, trees also use oxygen when they split glucose back down to release energy to...

Mirrors don’t reverse left and right either – that’s just our interpretation of what happens. Your reflection in the mirror is actually reversed front to back – if you have...

All female mammals have a clitoris, the sole purpose of which is to react to sexual stimulation, and presumably this stimulation has evolved to be pleasurable for most species. But establishing...

To create a sound, we have to set matter - whether it's a gas like air, a liquid or even a solid material - in regular motion, creating a wave of specific frequencies, which we hear as a sound of...

Mirrors don’t reverse left and right either – that’s just our interpretation of what happens. Your reflection in the mirror is actually reversed front to back – if you have...

Discovered by an American student named Gary Flandro in the mid-1960s, the slingshot manoeuvre usually involves spacecraft briefly 'coat-tailing' a planet orbiting the Sun, extracting some of the...

The ice disappears because the wind blows away water molecules that have evaporated or 'sublimed' from the ice, so the ice slowly shrinks in size. The molecules that escape are those with the...

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here