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Many animals do 'brave' things to protect their children or family, and some male spiders sacrifice themselves so that they can impregnate the females.

However, humans commit suicide without necessarily any intention to help their kin. Why?

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    $\begingroup$ My biggest issue with this question is that the 'brave' spider is most likely utterly unaware of the impeding consequence of his actions and hence is not brave, but following instinct. Further, many animals do brave things to protect their children and family - certainly true, but don't humans as well? And linking suicide to helping kin is a bit far stretched. Suicide is about depression, inability to cope with psychological trauma, entrapment in a world of drug abuse and so forth. $\endgroup$ – AliceD May 27 '15 at 2:51
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    $\begingroup$ I agree. I was simply raising it as example to illustrate why self-endangerment is not necessarily suicide. $\endgroup$ – Ne Mo May 27 '15 at 10:27
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    $\begingroup$ @NeMo when you cross-post, you should include a link to the previous version. You should also try to tailor questions more to the audiences of the sites or what you learned from your previous posting instead of just copying your question verbatim. $\endgroup$ – Artem Kaznatcheev May 27 '15 at 17:00
  • $\begingroup$ You seem to be confusing two separate phenomenon. The first is altruism and the second is suicide. Both of these behaviours appear in animals other than humans. What connection are you trying to imply or asking about? $\endgroup$ – Seanny123 Oct 15 '16 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ None. I was asking about suicide in animals. As I said already, I was just using that as an example to illustrate why self-endangerment is not necessarily suicide. $\endgroup$ – Ne Mo Oct 15 '16 at 16:38
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Such behavior does exist in the wider animal world, not just in humans.

See the Wikipedia page on Animal Suicide, particularly the section titled "Suicidal behavior".
(if you have done any preliminary research on this, be aware that your question doesn't reflect it).

There are a number of linked studies in that section, some of which may give you good or relevant information.

What it comes down to is twofold:

  1. We can't reasonably say that animals are pursuing suicidal behavior for similar reasons that humans do, as we don't have a good enough view into the cognitions of other animals, and
  2. We still don't fully understand the etiology of suicide (much less depression!) in humans, either, which confounds the entire issue.
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    $\begingroup$ The very next sentence of that publication is "Nevertheless, sparse evidence supports some resemblance between the self-endangering behavior observed in the animal kingdom, particularly in animals held in captivity or put under pressure by environmental challenges, and suicidal behavior among humans." An absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, especially in scientific publications, which by necessity only expose the most bare, reproducible facts or possibilities. To say that something hasn't been observed is not to say it doesn't exist. $\endgroup$ – BenCole May 26 '15 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ I'll add a link to another Preti paper, wherein he says exactly that: "Suicide is a rare occurrence in humans, no surprise then if evidence of suicidal animals in both wild and domestic situations is hard to find: lack of evidence cannot be taken as evidence of lack of suicidal behavior in animals." $\endgroup$ – BenCole May 26 '15 at 19:37
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    $\begingroup$ @NeMo it is your job to demonstrate your initial research in the question, by for instance referencing the paper you linked. Especially when your question is based on a premise like "no animals other than humans commit suicide without the intention to help their kin". $\endgroup$ – Artem Kaznatcheev May 27 '15 at 16:58

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