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

Are Autistic and Psychic People Similar?

By Anneli Rufus on May 10, 2011 in Stuck
Professional psychic Nancy du Tertre realized, after meeting bestselling autistic author Temple Grandin, that autistics and psychics have a lot in common. I interviewed du Tertre about her new book Psychic Intuition.

79 Commandos and One Dog Teamed Up to Kill Osama Bin Laden

There was a canine soldier on the SEAL team that assaulted Osama bin Laden's compound.

Your Biting Dog Can Land You in Jail -- for Life!

You may be charged with first or second degree murder if your dog bites someone and they die.

Animals in the news: Self-aware chimpanzees, doomed wolves, and retired race horses

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 05, 2011 in Animal Emotions
We continue to learn fascinating facts about the cognitive and emotional capacities of other animals and continue to mistreat them with little or no concern for their well-being. It's time for a widespread social movement, a revolution of sorts. It ain't rocket science. Other animals truly depend on our goodwill and we can all do something to help them along.

Discrimination Against Childfree Adults

Childfree adults are speaking out more and more these days about discrimination, and while this murmur growing to a small uproar is actually a surprise to many who didn't realize the discrimination existed, consider the following real life examples

Do We Treat Dogs The Same Way As Children In Our Modern Families?

A new survey shows that dogs are being treated more like children, psychologically and behaviorally, in our modern families.

Walking In Another Person's Boots: Backyard Chickens 2

Chickens used to be a pervasive part of people's lives - and that's reflected in our language. Now that I know them, my view of language and literature has changed too.

Great Tits Can Be a Serious Topic

If you think Big Important Ideas can and should be entertaining, you should check out Rob Kurzban’s blog for Evolutionary Psychology. He wins the Oscar for the category: Most Engaging Titles in a Serious Documentary

Does Your State Have an Official State Dog?

A number of US states have designated an official or state dog. Some of the choices are interesting and surprising. However many states do not yet have an official canine.

Children Who are Cruel to Animals: When to Worry

Animal cruelty in children is one of the best predictors of later violence and criminality. However, most young children do mean things to an animal at some point. So how do you know if it's a red flag or a normal part of development?

Where Does Your Dog Rank? The New List Ranking Breeds by Popularity Is Now Available

The list of dog breeds by popularity is now available and Labrador retrievers rank first again. How popular is your dog breed? Here is a complete ranking.

7 Surprising Facts About Animals (And Us)

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on April 25, 2011 in Creating in Flow
Think of morality as an organ, like a nose. Its function, then, is to "negotiate the inherent conflict between self and others." And, of course, understood in that way, animals certainly do have moral lives. Here are a few fascinating facts to ponder...

Wolves, political stupidity, and fear-mongering: Wolves are a clear and present danger

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 21, 2011 in Animal Emotions
"They're killers, they do it for sport, and then they leave their victim still alive for a lingering death." So claims Idaho state representative Lenore Barrett, who conveniently ignores the fact that there hasn't been an attack on a human since wolves were reintroduced in 1995.

Dog Killed by Wildlife Services: The Horrific War On Wildlife Knows No Bounds or Decency

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 20, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Government workers continue to ruthlessly kill wildlife and domesticated animals, showing no regard for the safety of people, including children, and their companion animals. Bella, a dog who died because Wildlife Services blatantly ignored EPA directives, would still be alive if they showed any common sense and decency.

How Good Is Your Dog's Sense of Taste?

Humans are much more sensitive to taste than dogs, particularly for things like salt. However, dogs taste buds are specially tuned for certain things, including meaty tastes, and show a special sensitivity for water.


Cats the world over perform the “tail-up” signal, in which they raise their tails to the vertical when approaching other animals, and especially humans. For years this has been called a “greeting” signal – because it usually happens at the beginning of an interaction. But is this label any more than a convenient anthropomorphism?

What's Your Crucial Step Toward Love?

By Ken Page L.C.S.W. on April 17, 2011 in Finding Love
We're taught that the search for love is a numbers game, with odds stacked in favor of the most attractive. Well, we've been taught wrong! When we approach dating as an intimacy journey rather than a numbers game, our whole experience changes for the better. What are your own intimacy lessons? Your answer to one question can reveal them:

Tilly's Willy: In the Name of Science?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 16, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Did you know that humans help Tilly, a killer whale, produce semen so that they can make more whales who will spend their lives bored and wallowing away in horrific conditions of captivity? Free willy.

Backyard Chickens Part I: Babyness

I wanted the chickens for the eggs, and to feel closer to nature. It made relative economic sense and fit into my longstanding garden, fishponds, and love of the old fashioned. I didn't expect them to be so darn CUTE.

The Human Nature of Teaching I: Ways of Teaching That We Share With Other Animals

By Peter Gray on April 14, 2011 in Freedom to Learn
Teaching is natural in at least some other animals as well as in humans. Almost all such cases of teaching involve relatively simple ways by which the teacher helps the learner practice some skill or acquire some information that the learner is highly motivated to practice or acquire. Teaching, then, is altruistic; it serves the learner at some cost to the teacher..

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" shows that real primates no

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 13, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Real animals don't need to be used in movies any longer. A forthcoming film called "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" shows how technology can represent animals as real as can be. There is no reason to exploit animals to show how fascinating they are. This movie opens nationwide on August 5, 2011.

Men, Women, and the Software of Sexual Desire

If a computer engineer was designing a pair of robots that emulated the sexual behavior of Homo sapiens, the male brain would require an OR gate and the female brain an AND gate.

Fail, Fall, Forget

By Ellen Langer on April 12, 2011 in Counterclockwise
At what age do we give up the right to fail, fall, or forget? Last night Peso, our rescue dog, attacked the food we had put out in the living room for guests. He's typically well-behaved and gentle, but last night, he behaved like an animal. We quickly scolded him and decided he needed to go to canine university.

Age before beauty: Older elephant matriarchs know what's best

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 11, 2011 in Animal Emotions
Older females are better judges of danger than younger females. They more accurately assess the roars of lions than others in their herd. With age comes wisdom.