couldn't stay away
now that it's so easy, while i'm configuring my machine, i can't stay away.
anyway, i read jake's comment on suicide notes and what i can say for now (until i know more) is that while i don't know of old lions dragging themselves off to die when they become a burden, some lions and other species kill their elderly, usually in a fight to the death that's a rite of passage into manhood for the young and a way to eliminate the old who might be a burden on the pack. and at least one human culture sends their elderly off to the riverbank with no food to wait to die when a child is born because it's how they keep their society from getting too big to sustain.
more as i find it.
ps: on a related note, nico, you asked me the other day if it's considered a "condition" (and if so, what it's called) that human beings don't kill their young like so many other animal species- i did some reading, but i think you'd be better off with links than with my poor attemps to synopsise. i suggest reading the 2 in the order they're in below...
http://www.rightgrrl.com/carolyn/pinker.html i don't know if there's a word for us generally not killing our young, but "neonaticide" is when we do, which provides a start-point if you wanna do homework beyond this ny times article.
http://slate.msn.com/id/2065909/ this post, combined with the info from the previous article about a child's value to the survival of the species increasing as it continues to survive, thus making adults more interested in caring for it, made me remember learning back in the day, that one of the tricks of the survival of our particular species is an innate ability in most newborns (and equally innate response in most adults) to make people love them in their helplessness and want to take care of them, which is necessary because of the excessively long time it takes for humans to grow to full maturity and capability of self-subsistence. most other mammals get "old enough to take care of themselves" much faster than we do, so our young literally have to be adorable to make it to adulthood and procreate (which is apparently the point of everything).
more if i find it...walk good.