Barbara J. King

Barbara J. King is a contributor to the NPR blog 13.7: Cosmos & Culture. She is a Chancellor Professor of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary. With a long-standing research interest in primate behavior and human evolution, King has studied baboon foraging in Kenya and gorilla and bonobo communication at captive facilities in the United States.

Recently, she has taken up writing about animal emotion and cognition more broadly, including in bison, farm animals, elephants and domestic pets, as well as primates.

King's most recent book is How Animals Grieve (University of Chicago Press, 2013). Her article "When Animals Mourn" in the July 2013 Scientific American has been chosen for inclusion in the 2014 anthology The Best American Science and Nature Writing. King reviews non-fiction for the Times Literary Supplement (London) and is at work on a new book about the choices we make in eating other animals. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her work in 2002.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:23 am
Thu November 27, 2014

On This Thanksgiving, Celebrating The Wild Turkey

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Originally published on Thu November 27, 2014 8:29 am

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
5:41 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Can't Sleep? Maybe Thinking About Evolution Will Help

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Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 5:27 am

If you're reading this after a night of inadequate sleep, or disrupted sleep, you have company. The National Sleep Foundation reports that over half the people in their survey experienced at least one symptom of insomnia "at least a few nights per week" over a year's period.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
5:35 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Attempting Sex, An Octopus Gets A Surprise

Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 5:34 pm

Male seeks female — and makes a direct advance towards mating. That's one version of the drive to reproduce in the animal kingdom.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
5:28 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

A Dark Side Of The Focus On Gay Marriage

Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 1:11 pm

Gay marriage should be legal in this country. Inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender expressions, people deserve the right to celebrate their love publicly — and to gain the legal and financial securities that marriage may bring.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
5:25 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Animal Behavior: Two Dogs And An Ice Cream

YouTube

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 1:56 pm

Anyone who's lived or bonded with dogs knows that they express their personalities in distinct ways. Once in a while, a video clip comes along that highlights this fact for us in an amusing way. Have a look at this video — it's less than a minute — published earlier this year and sent to me last week by a friend:

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
9:42 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Behind The Scenes: Ethics Of Wolf Wars And Turtle Travels

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 6:21 am

Once upon a time, documentary film maker Chris Palmer rented a bunch of wolves from a game farm to aid the making of an IMAX film called Wolves. That decision, Palmer told NPR back in August, was better for the species than the intrusive process of habituating wild wolves would have been; the use of non-wild wolves was disclosed in the movie's credits.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
6:34 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Ebola, Outrage And The Killing Of A Dog

Due to fears of Ebola, Excalibur, the pet of a nurse assistant infected with the virus in Madrid, was euthanized as a precautionary measure.
AP

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 8:48 am

Even as the Ebola crisis in West Africa exceeds 8,000 cases and 3,800 deaths — and as Thomas Eric Duncan's family, friends and neighbors mourn his death in Dallas from Ebola — global outrage has erupted over the decision by health officials in Spain to put down a dog whose owner is hospitalized for Ebola.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:43 am
Thu October 9, 2014

When Dogs, Cats And Rats Come To The Rescue

Pete Coppolillo Working Dogs For Conservation

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 2:50 pm

Heroic acts carried out by a wide variety of animals — elk and elephants, horses and goats, dogs and cats — are on offer in Jennifer Holland's just-published book, Unlikely Heroes: 37 Inspiring Stories of Courage and Heart from the Animal Kingdom.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
6:17 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Can Psychedelics Expand Our Consciousness?

Andrew Ostrovsky iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 11:57 am

"One of the great responsibilities we have as a society is to educate ourselves, along with the next generation, about which substances are worth ingesting and for what purpose and which are not. ... If I knew that either of my daughters would eventually develop a fondness for methamphetamine or heroin, I might never sleep again. But if they don't try a psychedelic like psilocybin or LSD at least once in their adult lives, I will wonder whether they had missed one of the most important rites of passage a human being can experience."

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
4:31 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

A View Of The Arctic

Courtesy of Peter Cox

Originally published on Thu September 25, 2014 1:00 pm

"Come see!"

That's the vocal code in our house, when one of us wants to summon another to show off a small treasure: the flash of a red fox streaking our backyard; a pink-inflamed cloud as sunset approaches; a snake, sinuous and fine, curving black against the green of high-summer grass.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
1:22 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Looking Beyond Notions Of Erotica In Prehistoric Art

This carved ivory figurine of a woman, found in a cave in southern Germany in 2008, is estimated to be at least 35,000 years old.
Daniel Maurer AP

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 2:10 pm

In the realm of prehistoric art, there's a type of small figurine made of stone, bone or ivory that is famous. It features exaggeratedly large breasts, hips and buttocks.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:29 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Still Now, Should Lab Monkeys Be Deprived Of Their Mothers?

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Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 2:00 pm

On Monday, the animal advocacy organization PETA released material in support of its campaign to shut down a series of experiments on infant rhesus monkeys carried out at the Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, part of the National Institutes of Health.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
5:54 am
Thu September 4, 2014

The Koan Of The Cat And The Frog

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 8:28 am

Any of us connected with the school calendar — teachers and academic staff, students and their parents — are right now plunging into new beginnings.

September brings a fresh season, also, in the publishing world, in theater and dance and music, and in some sports.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:56 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Atheists Feel Awe, Too

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Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 1:54 pm

In Elizabeth Gilbert's brilliant novel The Signature of All Things, Alma Whittaker, the central character who was born in Philadelphia in 1800, is destined for a highly unconventional life as a woman in science.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
6:23 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Grappling With Trigger Warnings And Trauma On Campus

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Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 9:33 am

On Tuesday, I posted syllabi for the two undergraduate anthropology classes I will teach this fall: Evolutionary Perspectives on Gender and Primate Behavior. As the academic year at my college nears its start, I can't help but reflect on the extra layers of complexity involved in syllabus construction nowadays compared to when I first started out as a teacher in the 1980s.

A central question I grappled with earlier this week as I wrote and revised my syllabi was whether I should include trigger warnings.

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