Essential Reads

Empathic Rats Save Drowning Pals Rather than Eat Chocolate

Research again shows rats display empathy so why do we torture them in labs?

Do Dogs Have Empathy for Human Stress and Discomfort?

Both dogs and people produce stress hormones when they hear a baby cry.

Makings of a Child

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) expand the basis of a baby.

Captive Killer Whales Die Much Younger than Wild Orcas

A new study shows captive killer whales don't live as long as wild relatives

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

Welcome to People Will Talk

By John Whitfield Ph.D. on January 13, 2012 in People Will Talk
A new blog looking at the science of reputation.

"Are You with the Right Mate?" The Media's Misuse of Chimpanzees

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 10, 2012 in Animal Emotions
The misrepresentation of animals influences how they are perceived and these misperceptions are known to be harmful to the conservation status of these endangered beings.

Your Worst Animal Nightmare

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on January 10, 2012 in Animals and Us
Fear of snakes is the most common animal phobia. As I learned on a recent vacation in south Florida, several new studies show that giant snakes not only kill people, but they may be headed your way...

Drowning Rats and Human Depression: Positive Psychology for Whom?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 05, 2012 in Animal Emotions
Does exposing rats to aggressive encounters and making them swim until they give up hope and drown really have anything to do with human depression? Not really, yet horrific experiments continue under the guise of positive psychology. Nothing is in it for the animals except enduring pain and suffering.

Do Dogs Love People More Than They Love Other Dogs?

When dogs become stressed they draw more comfort from the presence of their human caretaker than from another familiar dog.

Chimpanzees: I Know What You Don't

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 03, 2012 in Animal Emotions
During the past few years we've learned amazing facts about the astonishing cognitive, emotional, and moral lives of other animals. And 2012 is starting off with a bang as we learn that chimpanzees know what others don't know and tell them about the presence of dangerous snakes. These field data suggest that chimpanzees have a theory of mind.

Lying to Yourself in Your Love Life

By Frances Cohen Praver Ph.D. on January 01, 2012 in Love Doc
"She told me it's over just before the New Year. And I have no idea why." Bruce tried to maintain his cool.

Dead Cow Walking: The Case Against Born-Again Carnivorism

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 28, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals raised for food are sentient beings who have rich emotional lives. No matter how "humanely" they're raised, their lives can be cashed out simply as "dead cow/pig/chicken walking." Whom we choose to eat is a matter of life and death. Animals shouldn't be produced merely to become unneeded meals.

What Exactly is "Dead"?

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on December 28, 2011 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
What exactly does it mean to be dead? And do people view human and animal death as fundamentally different?

What Role Does Empathy Play in Intelligence?

By Pat Shipman Ph.D. on December 28, 2011 in The Animal Connection
"No intelligent life here, Captain"—Part II: How did the domestication of dogs ensure our survival?

Heartless Hunting: Maiming Then Killing Deer With No Remorse

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 26, 2011 in Animal Emotions
The writer of a failed attempt at a poetic essay claims "I hate to kill" but nonetheless does it thoroughly irresponsibly. Clearly a poor shooter, he portrays everything that is bad about hunting, and other hunters should be angered by his heartless, dismissive, and pompous attitude with no concern for the deer he first maimed then later killed.

Hello, Kim Jong Un

By Laura Betzig Ph.D. on December 26, 2011 in The Political Animal
Like his father and grandfather, Kim Jong Un is becoming "a great person born of heaven." There have been other divine kings. Some of them were worshipped in Bethlehem. Others were worshipped in Rome.

Primate Social Behavior: Nature "Versus" Nurture Once Again?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 25, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Genes seem to play a large role in the social behavior of many nonhuman primates but not for other other species including coyotes and wolves. Much more research is needed to see just how far these new findings apply as they surely will inform future studies of animal behavior and conservation projects. Is it nature and nurture or nature or nurture? Time will tell.

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.