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.



Thu June 25, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

In 'Soul Of An Octopus,' An Invertebrate Steals Our Hearts

Dieter Hawlan iStockphoto

Once a month, The New York Times Book Review includes animals as a category in its best-selling books list. This past Sunday, an invertebrate cracked the top group.

Coming in 10th — after books about birds, dogs, wolves, sheep and elephants — was Sy Montgomery's The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration in the Wonder of Consciousness.

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Fri June 19, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Justice Scalia And The Age Of Humanity

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaking in Atlanta.
Dave Tulis AP

Earlier this month, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia delivered a commencement address to the graduating class of the Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Md.

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Thu June 11, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

For Adults, Coloring Invites Creativity And Brings Comfort

Originally published on Thu June 11, 2015 3:01 pm


In 1982, anthropologist Adrienne Zihlman, now professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz, published The Human Evolution Coloring Book.

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Fri June 5, 2015
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Declaring The Discovery Of A New Species Can Get Tricky

The jaw fragment and teeth of Australopithecus deyiremeda, found in the Afar region of Ethiopia.
Yohannnes Haile-Selassie AP

May was an exciting month for new discoveries that add to our knowledge of human evolution during the period around 3 million years ago. This is before the origin of the genus Homo, 2.8 million years ago, and during the time when Australopithecus afarensis (the famous "Lucy") lived in East Africa.

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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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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


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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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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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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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


"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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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


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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