Essential Reads

Why You Were Born to Gossip

According to one theory, everything we say takes the form of gossip.

Is Sadomasochism a Uniquely Human Form of Sexuality?

Kinky sex is common in animals, but do they ever find pleasure in pain?

Are Humans Unique?

Are there criteria that distinguish humans from other species?

Can Dogs Recognize Emotions Just by Looking at a Human Face?

Dogs understand that smile or scowl on your face.

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

Why Are Some Litter Pups Uniform in Appearance While Others Are Mismatched?

Normally a litter of purebred puppies will appear to be quite similar, however quirks in the way the canine reproductive system works, and in dog behavior, may lead to puppies in the same litter having different fathers.

The “Cute Dog Effect” On Sex, Money, and Justice

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 29, 2011 in Animals and Us
Cute dogs make men sexier and boost the income of beggars. But do they also unfairly tip the scales of justice?

How True Is Planet of the Apes? Human Resilience and Primate Studies

By Michael Ungar Ph.D. on August 28, 2011 in Nurturing Resilience
Planet of the Apes may look like simple entertainment, but Caesar’s behavior is a good example of what we are learning from primate studies about the consequences of early abuse or having a parent die. We can protect children from the consequences.

Why We Miss Freeway Exits

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on August 25, 2011 in The Dolphin Divide
The role of routine keeps us on track: How is it that we can sing like a lark in the shower, but bungle badly on karaoke night? Or take the same route to work for years, yet still miss our freeway exit? Disengage the auto-pilot of routine, and what follows is typically a bit untidy.

Readjusting Kids' Sleep Schedule For School

By Dennis Rosen M.D. on August 24, 2011 in Sleeping Angels
School's just around the corner, and millions of parents are already starting to worry about getting their kids back on schedule so that somehow, some way, they will be able to wake them up and get them out the door so that they can make it to school on time.

Why Don't Colds Make Us More Attractive?

By Ben Y Hayden Ph.D. on August 24, 2011 in The Decision Tree
An infection that affects sex drive (in rats)

Does Your Pet Determine Who You Will Marry?

By Donna Barstow on August 21, 2011 in Ink Blots Cartoons
Compatibility begins in the kennel. Does your choice of pet also determine who you will choose as a mate? And is this a cat cartoon, or a dog cartoon?

Learning from a Five-Otter Day

By Pat Shipman Ph.D. on August 19, 2011 in The Animal Connection
How deeply connected are we to the wild animals with which we share space?

Chimpanzees In the Crossfire: Are They Cleverer Than Us?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 19, 2011 in Animal Emotions
We shouldn't be asking who's cleverer than whom. Rather, we should ask what individuals of different species need to do to be card-carrying members of their species. This information will help us learn more about who we are and who "they" are and help us protect them in captivity and in the wild.

Baboons: Studs and Duds Are Equally Stressed

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 19, 2011 in Animal Emotions
There's a cost to being a high-ranking male baboon but they have higher reproductive success than lower ranking guys so it must be worth the hassle. But what about humans?

Bear Kills Son and Herself On a Chinese Bear Farm

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 18, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Many animals experience rich and deep emotions ranging from happiness and joy to grief and intense suffering. They do not like to be tortured and on occasion will do what they need to do to end their own and other's suffering.

Scent-matching – how the nose knows

Dogs are notorious for their fixation with each other’s rear ends, but this is probably an evolved trait that has stood them well in the past.

Animal and Humans: Meaningful Meetings of Common Minds

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 15, 2011 in Animal Emotions
International meetings and growing general interest show that animals matter. A recent gathering concerned with social justice and the treatment and conservation of great apes, hosted by the Arcus Foundation, made it abundantly clear that we all must be concerned with how these and other amazing beings are treated and do something now to improve their (and our) lives.

Will Getting a Pet Make You Healthier?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 14, 2011 in Animals and Us
Are pet owners happier and healthier? What the science says....

Sometimes the Best Thing to say is Shut Up!

By Donna Barstow on August 13, 2011 in Ink Blots Cartoons
It's important to figure out who's there to be a real friend, helpful colleague, or equal family member, and who just wants to hear himself talk. A cartoon about poor conversation skills.

Disclose Yourself

How self disclosure cultivates attraction

Can Dogs See Better than Humans When It Is Dark?

Dogs can see better in dim light than human beings but only because their perceptual system is willing to sacrifice some of their visual acuity for details.

Boobies In the News (Birds That Is)

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 08, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Abused baby boobies grow up to be abusers themselves. This is the first evidence from a wild animal that, as in humans, abuse can be socially transmitted to future generations.

Why Dolphins Wear Sponges, Evolution At Work, and a Seriously Misinformed Curmudgeon

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 08, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Spotted dolphins in Shark Bay, Western, Australia, wear sponges to protect their beak so they can hunt nutritious fish among rocks and broken coral, urban animals are strongly influenced by our presence, and some new movies show just how "animal" we are. It's not merely anthropomorphic sentimentality to see us in "them" (other animals), it's solid science.

Pain? What Pain?

By Sam Sommers on August 07, 2011 in Science Of Small Talk
Even the experience of physical pain depends on context. I went for a morning run today and it was clear from the start that it was going to be a struggle. Almost immediately, that pesky ache in my left foot announced its off-and-on presence with authority, and I knew it would be a battle of mind over matter to get through my usual distance...

What's With the Windup?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on August 05, 2011 in The Dolphin Divide
PITCHING MOUND DANCES, SWIMMING IN CIRCLES, AND LOVING OUR ROUTINES: Ever noticed the strange things some Major League pitchers do in the moments just before hurtling a fastball toward home plate? The pitching mound dance, and displays like them, may seem silly. But the truth is, we all perform similar behavioral ceremonies.

Silences

By Judith Eve Lipton M.D. on August 05, 2011 in Pura Vida
"Almost no mothers, as almost no part time, part self persons have created enduring literature." In the 20th Century, college literature courses deemed female authors worthy of note, one female for every 12 male authors! in order to write, it helps to have a "wholly surrendered and dedicated life; time as needed, and totality of self".