Essential Reads

Does Emotional Attachment to an Owner Change in Older Dogs?

Research shows that older dogs appear to be less emotionally secure.

Judge Recognizes Two Chimpanzees as Legal Persons: A First

Two chimpanzees, Hercules and Leo, are determined to be persons in NY court

Ivan Denisovich vs Ants

Both More or Less Social

5 Reasons That Life Is Hard

Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

Mathematical Pigeons Are Amazing But Not So Surprising

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 25, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Pigeons can learn abstract rules about numbers and these new and exciting data support what's long been known about the numerical competency or "counting ability" of other captive and wild birds. Clearly, calling someone a birdbrain is a compliment. Bird brains are very active and their cognitive abilities rather remarkable and highly evolved.

Animal Euthanasia and Capital Punishment: Some Uncomfortable Comparisons

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on December 24, 2011 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
Almost 98% of lethal injection executions in the U.S. take place in states that have banned the use of the same drug combination for euthanizing animals.

Animals In Our Brain: Mickey Mouse, Teddy Bears, and "Cuteness"

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 22, 2011 in Animal Emotions
A recent study showed that a specific part of the human brain is hard-wired to detect animals regardless of whether they're cute, ugly, or dangerous. It made me think of two old studies of the features that are associated with "cuteness", with Mickey Mouse and teddy bears as the stars.

Hierarchy—What’s in a Name?

By John Bradshaw Ph.D. on December 22, 2011 in Pets and Their People
Ethologists routinely measure dominance relationships and social hierarchies in groups of animals, but does this tell us anything about what motivates the animals themselves?

The Magic Spell of a Pretty Face

By Sam Sommers on December 22, 2011 in Science Of Small Talk
Attractive people grab our attention. Even babies spend more time gazing at attractive faces, suggesting to some that hardwiring in our brains automatically diverts attention to the good-looking others around us, much in the way moths are helplessly drawn to light...

A Scientific Mystery: Do Wild Baboons Kidnap Puppies for Pets?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on December 21, 2011 in Animals and Us
This YouTube clip claims that wild baboons kidnap puppies and raise them as pets. It's a sceintific mystery that I can't get out of my head.

Five More Minutes in the Bathtub?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on December 20, 2011 in The Dolphin Divide
What delaying now might mean in 15 years. Establishing behavioral boundaries today may have big payoffs later -- including passing grades in college paper stapling.

No Intelligent Life Here, Captain - Part 1

By Pat Shipman Ph.D. on December 20, 2011 in The Animal Connection
Why is there only one human species alive in the world today, when once there were several? Why did we survive?

Rewilding Our Hearts: Maintaining Hope and Faith in Trying Times

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 19, 2011 in Animal Emotions
In troubled times it's difficult to remain hopeful and positive. Here I offer some practical guidelines for a new positive and personal social movement that is based on rewilding our hearts. Not only will nonhuman animals and their homes benefit, but so will we as we make a major paradigm shift in how we interact with (M)other nature.

When Friendships Get Too Complicated

By Irene S Levine Ph.D. on December 19, 2011 in The Friendship Doctor
I'm finding myself in a complicated living situation with a close friend and I'm feeling a little too close to some of these issues to think clearly enough to process it objectively--and could use some perspective.

Cell Phone Sniffing Dogs: A New Weapon Against High Tech Crime

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on December 18, 2011 in Canine Corner
Dogs can be taught to detect the cell phones and their components which criminals in prison use to continue to coordinate illegal activities and even to plan escapes.

Recovering From “Cry It Out” Parenting as an Adult

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on December 18, 2011 in Moral Landscapes
Did your parents undercare for you? Did you live in a hostile family environment for emotional expression? I did. My physical, mental and social health were affected and here are some things I did to heal myself.

Understanding Behavioral Investment Theory

By Gregg Henriques on December 17, 2011 in Theory of Knowledge
Behavioral Investment Theory is the joint point between Life and Mind and posits that the nervous system evolved to compute animal action on an investment value system.

Animals and "Personhood"

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on December 17, 2011 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
The concept of "personhood" affirms that someone has inherent worth and dignity. Since animals meet the basic conditions of "personhood" shouldn't we apply the concept to animals, too?

Chimpanzees Win a Small Victory

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 16, 2011 in Animal Emotions
More protection from invasive research has finally been granted to chimpanzees but there's lots more work to do. The current guidelines do not constitute a ban and there is still a lot of wiggle room that means that chimpanzees can still be used in horrific research that causes enduring pain, suffering, and death.

Murder in the Elevator

In reality, the probability of being the victim of a deadly attack in an elevator is virtually zero. Yet the way people act toward others when they ride together in an elevator suggests that they have serious concerns about their safety. Much of our elevator behavior is not the result of rational thinking.

Whales on the Edge of Non-existence

Whales are magnificent creatures who inspire us with their mass and power, whose continued existence lifts our spirits, and who remind us, in ways that few other living animals can, of our own fragile impermanence.

Killing Bears In New Jersey Soprano Style

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 14, 2011 in Animal Emotions
New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection now sanctions bear slaughter. This blood-thirsty massacre is unjustified. We must make every effort to coexist with the animals who visit our homes. We moved into their living rooms when we "redecorated nature" and they shouldn't pay with their lives for our intrusive and abusive ways.

Why Evolutionary Psychology Is Unlikely to Be Wrong

Are evolutionary psychology's core assumptions radical and extraordinary? Many people still think so. From a biological perspective, however, it would actually be far more extraordinary if these assumptions were wrong than if they were right.

Those Lying Apes

Young Dandy was excitedly courting a female by, in the usual way, showing her his inspired erection, when suddenly an older and higher-ranking male appeared on the scene. For Dandy, that meant big trouble.

Pandering Pandas: Sweetie and Sunshine on Loan in Edinburgh

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 12, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Two giant pandas have been rented to the Edinburgh Zoo for money and to make babies. Why do we continue to move and loan animals when it clearly has no benefits other than to make money that does not go back into species conservation or preservation in the wild?

The Animal Research Paradox

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on December 12, 2011 in Animals and Us
The animal research paradox —we need animal research to determine if it is ethical to conduct animal research.

Who's Afraid of Their Inner Wolf?

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on December 12, 2011 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
One of the ways in which we humans manage our anxiety about death is by denying our animal nature. Could this be one reason we treat other animals like trash?

The Most Popular Dog Names in the English Speaking World

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on December 12, 2011 in Canine Corner
Fido, Rover, Spot, Lassie and Snoopy are nowhere to be found in the top 50 lists of the most popular dog names in the U.S., UK, Canada and Australia.

Take the Whoikilledtoday Challenge!

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on December 08, 2011 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
To find out about the animals in your daily life, take the whatikilledtoday challenge: for one day or, better, for one week or one month, imagine and record all the animals that you killed or in whose death you have participated, even incidentally.

Empathic Rats and Ravishing Ravens

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 08, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Rats and ravens caution us about proudly tooting our "aren't we special" horn. A new study shows rats display empathy-driven behavior to help other rats in distress while another has demonstrated that ravens use body language and gestures to communicate with other ravens. Best to keep an open mind about the amazing cognitive and emotional capacities of other animals.

Rats Might Be Empathic and Will Help Other Rats in Need

By Christian Keysers Ph.D. on December 08, 2011 in The Empathic Brain
We thought only humans are compassionate. New research shows that rats are empathic and will help other rats in need.