Essential Reads

The Value of Romantic Gestures

How our relationships would improve if we incorporated more romantic rituals.

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?

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

Wolves, Dingoes and (Other) Feral Dogs Cooperate, But Do They Coordinate?

Wolf packs are both breeding units and hunting co-ops. Has domestication removed the tendency that young wolves have to defer breeding until they form their own packs, or would feral dogs form breeding units if they had the opportunity or need to hunt in groups? Research on the oldest feral dog of them all, the dingo, supports the former.

Can My Dog Make Me Healthier?

Recent research shows that dogs can improve your health, reduce stress, make heart problems less likely, and perhaps keep you alive longer.

How Do You Compliment a Beautiful Person?

By Donna Barstow on July 04, 2011 in Ink Blots Cartoons
A cartoon about the beautiful birds and the bees. Beauty is in the birdseye of the beholder.

CSI Meets Dog Poop

DNA is being used to identify dog owners who don't pick up after their dogs -- however, while feces are a messy problem, apparently dog urine can be dangerous.

A National Census of Mixed Breed Dogs

Direct genetic testing of over 36,000 mixed breed dogs reveals who their parents really were.

Arm the Deer

I was recently asked by an old friend of mine whether I knew anything about the potential hazards of something I had never heard of called galaxolide. Galaxolide is a major player in the fragrance industry, one of a group of synthetic chemicals known generically as artificial musk. And it has a lot of environmental scientists worried.

The Empathizing Dilemma, or Confessions of the Eagle-Cam Addict

Like many thousands of people, this spring we found ourselves obsessively watching a pair of eagles raise their young. Responding emotionally to the trials and tribulations of eagle life, we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the empathizing dilemma.

A Tale of Two Dolphins

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on June 24, 2011 in The Dolphin Divide
CAN DOLPHINS LEARN THE ART OF CREATIVITY? When two dolphins were denied fish for performing the "tricks" that usually earned them rewards, they couldn't imagine what had gone wrong. Their human coaches were asking them to be creative. Could they rise to the occasion -- and how do we ourselves do when faced with similar, unexpected demands?

Wild animals banned in UK circuses: Animal suffering matters

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on June 24, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Despite political dirty tricks and intimidation animals gain protection and are banned from being used and abused in UK circuses. Animal sentience and suffering matter.

Can Your Dog Read Your Mind?

Dogs understand that what we are looking at influences our thinking and their ability to successfully communicate with us.

Why Do Most Vegetarians Go Back To Eating Meat?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on June 20, 2011 in Animals and Us
Morgan Childers and I decided to find out why three out of four vegetarians eventually revert back to eating animals. Here is what we found...

Are great apes "ultraviolent"?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on June 20, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Sensationalist media often misrepresents other primates as violent beings, but available data show this is not the case. Across the board, great apes and other animals are predominantly cooperative. Of course, there are very rare examples of what could be called evil violence, but we should not use nonhumans to justify our evil ways.

Emotional honeybees and brainy jellyfish: More "surprises" in animal behavior

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on June 18, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Honeybees display pessimism and jellyfish make complex decisions using a brain. The more we study fascinating animals the more we learn about their cognitive and emotional capacities.

Only Humans Have Morality, Not Animals

In his attempt to prove that beasts have morals, Dale Peterson airbrushes away all the things that make humans unique in the animal kingdom.

Dogs in the Workplace

Data suggests that having pets in the workplace leads to more positive attitudes by employees, higher productivity, and reduced absenteeism.

Animal protection and conservation in Asia: Animal emotions matter

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on June 16, 2011 in Animal Emotions
A wide variety of animals are saved by amazing people throughout Asia, working in extremely poor and dangerous areas. They, and the animals for whom they work, are ambassadors for peace and hope. We must look to them for the inspiration needed to heal a severely wounded planet. We are responsible for who lives and who dies and we must take this responsibility seriously.

Do Dogs Understand What They Are Seeing On Television?

Why is it that some dogs pay no attention to television, and even those that do seem to ignore cartoons and animated figures?

Representative Weiner: Poster Child for Id-iocity

There is no such thing as human nature. There is only animal nature and the human potential to not give into it.

Can Dogs Help Humans Heal?

Many people believe that if a dog licks a wound it heals faster, while others believe that a dog's tongue and saliva carries infections.

Extended Double Standard: The Bible as Killer App

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 06, 2011 in Ambigamy
Highlights from the evolution of exceptionalism, from natural history and religious history where we really lean into saying"You may think I'm being selfish when I say I deserve more than you do, but notice how generous I am in saying that my clanspeople deserve more than you do also."