Essential Reads

Are Dogs Self-Aware?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on May 24, 2017 in The Human Beast
The standard test of self-awareness is being able to recognize ourselves in a mirror. Although chimpanzees pass this test with flying colors, dogs flunk.
Wikimedia Commons (John O'Neill)

Survival of the Scaredest

Why are we more afraid of insects than guns? Our emotions and perceptions are evolutionary products, and we can blame genetics for our infested minds.

When Do Friends Matter Most?

By Lydia Denworth on May 18, 2017 in Brain Waves
Having friends is strongly associated with health and longevity, but scientists are only starting to ask when the effects of social relationships emerge and how long they last.

The "Furry Test Tubes" of Obesity Research

Mice are the most common animals now used in obesity research.They have many advantages for scientists who work with them but are far from perfect as a model for human beings.

More Posts on Animal Behavior

Do Dogs or Cats Make You Look More Attractive?

New data looks at how having a dog or a cat in a photo affects how appealing and attractive the person in the photo appears.

Empathy Burnout and Compassion Fatigue Among Animal Rescuers

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 23, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A very valuable essay by Kasia Galazka called "How Animal Rescuers Are Burning Out Their Empathy" is a must read for people working with animals in need and those who don't.

Should Animals Sue Scientists for Libel?

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on January 22, 2017 in Bear in Mind
Despite a vast amount of data showing otherwise, scientists persist in attributing demonic deeds to non-human animals.

Dog Training's Dirty Little Secret: Anyone Can Legally Do It

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 19, 2017 in Animal Emotions
"In the United States anyone can work as a dog trainer, regardless of the person’s qualifications." The Academy of Dog Trainers has called for transparency and regulation.

Killing Healthy Animals in Zoos: "Zoothanasia" is a Reality

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 18, 2017 in Animal Emotions
The poster corpse for killing healthy zoo animals is Marius, a young giraffe slaughtered at the Copenhagen Zoo. A recent essay on this topic in The New Yorker is an excellent read.

Dogs, Mirrors, and Purple Fuzz: Did Honey Know That's Honey?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 16, 2017 in Animal Emotions
We must be very careful when claiming some animals don't have a sense of self. The standard way to study self-recognition in animals, the mirror test, is too narrow an approach.

Dining on Leftovers: Do Women Lose by Not Eating Afterbirth?

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on January 16, 2017 in How We Do It
Unlike all other primates and most other mammals, human mothers do not usually devour the placenta after birth. Are they missing out on important benefits because of this?

Learning From Orca Menopause

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on January 15, 2017 in Bear in Mind
How neuropsychology provides insights into the true nature of Killer Whale morals and culture.

Anthrozoology: Embracing Co-existence in the Anthropocene

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 13, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A book by Michael Tobias and Jane Morrison stresses the need for universal coherence. While it may make readers uneasy, we must face what we're doing in the rage of inhumanity.

A Dog That Is Afraid of Loud Noises Is Afraid of Everything

Research indicates that dogs that are easily frightened by loud noises are much more apt to be fearful in many situations, show separation anxiety, and even aggressive behaviors.

Rituals and Practices Surrounding Animal Death

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 12, 2017 in Animal Emotions
An interview with Margo DeMello, editor of the recent book Mourning Animals, highlights various rituals that occur when an animal dies and notes that very few animals are grieved.

A Dog Named Gucci: "Justice Is a Dog's Best Friend"

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 11, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A Dog Named Gucci is a film that inspires hope. It's about dogs who were severely abused, the amazing humans who worked tirelessly to change laws about abuse, and their successes.

Dog Smarts: If We Were Smarter We'd Understand Them Better

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 11, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Studies of dog behavior, dog-human interactions, and dog intelligence are burgeoning. Despite attempts to talk about "the dog," significant variability is the name of the game.

Respecting Nonhuman Animals: A Thought Experiment

By Michael Tye, Ph.D. on January 07, 2017 in Genuinely Conscious
Ought we treat nonhuman animals with as much respect as we treat one another? Maybe not

Loveys, Stuffed Animals, and Pets

Ever wondered about the significance of a child's stuffed animal or blanket? And the qualities that make up this relationship? Ever had one yourself?

The World According to Intelligent and Emotional Chickens

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 03, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A new review article by Dr. Lori Marino called "Thinking chickens" clearly shows these birds are as cognitively, emotionally, and socially complex as many mammals, including dogs.

"If Dogs Truly Were Human They Would Be Jerks"

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 03, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Myths about dogs often become interpreted as truths. They're not. So-called truths, that counter facts, continue to misinform and mislead naive readers. Surely we can do better.

Training Dogs: Food is Fine and Your Dog Will Still Love You

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 31, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Using food to train dogs doesn't mean your dog is using you and doesn't really love you, so it's time to get over it. The dichotomy of food versus true love is ridiculous.

Is It a Marriage If...?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on December 30, 2016 in The Dolphin Divide
Does human matrimony reflect our animal nature?

Doctor Dolittle: Animal Minds, Animal Rights, and Much More

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 29, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Hugh Lofting's book is a gold mine of information on human-animal relationships, animal cognition and emotions, and predictor of genetic engineering, animal jurors, and much more.

Bonking Without Bones: An Evolutionary Enigma

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on December 27, 2016 in How We Do It
New studies clarify the evolution of a "penis bone" in most primates—except humans.

Well-Endowed Males Lead to Big-Brained Female Fishes

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 25, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Sexual behavior may play a role in brain evolution.

Three Reasons Why Pets Are More Pampered Today

By Kit Yarrow Ph.D. on December 23, 2016 in The Why Behind the Buy
We spend twice as much money on our pets than we did a decade ago. Here's why.

Dogs, Dominance, Breeding, and Legislation: A Mixed Bag

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 22, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Dogs display dominance, as do other animals, but we should not dominate dogs when working with them. Dogs are receiving more legal protection but much more needs to be done.

Dog Ownership, Stress, and Finding Romance

Do dog lovers make better romantic partners?

Veterans For Wildlife: Helping Wildlife, Empowering Veterans

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 20, 2016 in Animal Emotions
This African organization aims to stop wildlife crime and empower veterans. Their work is highly relevant to conservation psychology, anthrozoology, and animal-assisted therapy.

How Much Wolf Is in Your Dog's Behavior?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on December 19, 2016 in Canine Corner
Data shows that older dog breeds, that is those that evolved earlier from wolves, show less affection and attachment to human beings.

Inmates, Animals, and Art: Creative Expressions of Hope

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 17, 2016 in Animal Emotions
In my Roots & Shoots class at the Boulder County Jail students do amazing artwork that are expressions of trust, hope, and their connections to animals and other nature.

My Basket of Hope I: BeaRtrice, Oscar, and Asian Moon Bears

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 15, 2016 in Animal Emotions
We are living in an epoch I call "the rage of inhumanity. Thinking about the plight and recovery of bile bears in China adds to my "basket of hope" for future generations.

Mourning a Canine Companion

By Mark Derr on December 14, 2016 in Dog's Best Friend
William Harris memorializes his dead friend.