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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3:24pm

Thu May 28, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Viewing Octopus Choreography In Captivity

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 5:18 pm

Mattia D'Antonio iStockphoto

The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness, crafted in 2012 by a group of international scientists, states that octopuses — the only invertebrate animals mentioned — are conscious animals capable of intentional behavior.

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8:15am

Thu May 21, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Is The War On Fat Harming Our Children?

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 1:22 am

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America's ongoing war on fat, which aims to save this country — and especially its young people — from a costly and damaging epidemic of obesity, turns out to be dangerous all on its own: It exacts a severe psychological and physical toll on the very individuals it purports to help, according to an upcoming book.

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7:55am

Thu May 14, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

The Role Of Science In A Push For Animal Liberation

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 1:58 pm

An orca swims with its baby at the Marineland animal exhibition park in Antibes, France, in 2013.
Lionel Cironneau AP

Last Friday in the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer asked which contemporary practices will be deemed "abominable" in the future, in the way that we today think of human enslavement.

He then offered his own opinion:

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8:28am

Thu May 7, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

France's 'New' Prehistoric Cave Art: The Real Thing?

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 12:02 pm

Drawings of animal figures in the life-size replica of Chauvet Cave in southern France.
Claude Paris AP

Starting around 35,000 years ago, our ancestors painted — with accurate lines and glorious colors — images of lions, bison, mammoth, rhinoceroses, horses and even an owl on the walls of what is now called Chauvet Cave in south-central France.

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11:25am

Thu April 16, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Is It Sexist To Say That Women Are Superior To Men?

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 11:50 am

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"Women are not equal to men; they are superior in many ways, and in most ways that will count in the future. It is not just a matter of culture or upbringing. It is a matter of chromosomes, genes, hormones, and nerve circuits. It is not mainly because of how experience shapes women, but because of intrinsic differences in the body and the brain."

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9:09am

Sun April 12, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Ready To Try Some Free-Range Parenting?

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 10:24 am

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In a radio interview with WBUR's Tom Ashbrook on March 26 , dinosaur paleontologist Scott Sampson, who's also the author of How to Raise a Wild Child, said that the average child in the U.S. today spends between 4 and 7 minutes outdoors daily — a 90 percent drop from the time spent outside by their parents.

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11:34am

Thu April 2, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Male Dolphins Form Complex Alliances When Aiming To Control Females

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 5:12 pm

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"Outside of humans, the most complex alliances known are found in a population of bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops cf. aduncus, in Shark Bay, Western Australia."

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11:22am

Sun March 29, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

This Gibbon Knows Life's A Balancing Act

At the Monkeyland Sanctuary in South Africa, an 8-year-old white-handed gibbon walks the tightrope of a suspension bridge with admirable nerve and skill:

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8:50am

Thu March 26, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

What Drove Neanderthals To Extinction? Maybe Us.

Stevica Mrdja iStockphoto

Imagine that in a discussion with friends, the talk turns to invasive species and the cascading changes they cause in the ecosystems they colonize.

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4:48pm

Thu March 19, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

We May Have Snakes To Thank For Our Acute Vision

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 8:46 am

Next time you run into an African bush viper like this one, be thankful for your forward-facing eyes.
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In a new paper published in the journal Primates, author William C. McGrew, a former professor of evolutionary primatology at the University of Cambridge, reports a high rate of venomous snake encounters by his team of primatologists seeking to observe unhabituated wild chimpanzees in Mount Assirik, Senegal, West Africa.

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