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.

Science + Technology
2:50 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

Putting Spiders On Treadmills In Virtual-Reality Worlds


The methodology described in a recent study, a peer-reviewed paper on animal behavior — in which biologists Tina Peckmezian and Phillip W. Taylor of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, worked with 56 female jumping spiders — is fascinating.

Here's what the biologists did:

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11:08 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Does Being Vegan Really Help Animals?

Mark Hammon iStockphoto

More people are moving toward a plant-based diet, owing in part to evidence about human health and environmental sustainability, and in part to the emerging scientific consensus on the breadth and depth of animal consciousness and sentience.

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Science + Technology
8:24 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Fossil Provides Evidence Of Early Human Migration To Europe

Dr. Omry Barzilai of the Israel Antiquities Authority holds an ancient skull found inside a cave near the northern Israeli city of Nahariya.
Dan Balilty AP

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 10:38 am

Some 55,000 years ago, a person — whether female or male, we don't know — lived in Manot Cave in the western Galilee area of what is now Israel. Judging from the partial skull recovered from the cave, and described in Nature last week by Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University and his co-authors, the person was anatomically modern and closely related to the first modern humans who went on to colonize Europe.

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Science + Technology
11:25 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Mind Your Moods, Cat Owners


Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 1:18 pm

Babies "social reference" by checking out their parents' facial expressions and voice tones when they encounter a new or strange object or event in their environment — then base their own reactions on mom's or dad's. They look to their parents as they wonder: Is it OK to stay calm, or is it time to worry?

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4:36 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Why Are We So Scared Of Ebola?

Cynthia Goldsmith/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 10:02 am

The question of why the Ebola virus seems to so badly frighten so many people seems, at first, to have an obvious answer.

Ebola, after all, is an incurable hemorrhagic virus with a mortality rate that soars in some outbreaks to 90 percent of those infected. Symptoms in sufferers with advanced disease go beyond high fever and gastrointestinal misery to bleeding from the mouth, nose, ears and eyes.

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Science + Technology
12:16 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Seeking A Saner Food System, Three Times A Day

Not all cows get to spend their days with soft green grass under hoof. For many, the picture isn't so pretty, according to the book Farmageddon.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:40 pm

For Philip Lymbery, head of the U.K.-based Compassion in World Farming and his co-author Isabel Oakeshott, a visit to California's Central Valley amounted to an encounter with suffering.

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