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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11:24am

Thu December 18, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Evidence That Chimpanzee Moms Can Be Sneaky, Too

iStockphoto

Because I teach biological anthropology, I'm reading a lot of student work this week that focuses on the African apes, chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas. During this end-of-semester grading marathon, I've got a festive balance going: grade a handful of papers; grab a Christmas cookie; grade a handful more; wrap a present or two.

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8:04am

Thu December 11, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

In Transgender Teen's Fight, Echoes Of Others

iStockphoto

What happens in a small, semi-rural community in a southern state when an "out" transgender student decides to speak up for his civil rights?

Here in Gloucester County, Virginia, where I live — not far from the Historic Triangle of Yorktown-Williamsburg-Jamestown — the answer is that all hell breaks loose.

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10:13am

Thu December 4, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Would You Run 3,080 Miles For Science?

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 1:37 pm

Endurance runner and Purdue University anthropology professor Bryce Carlson is preparing to run 3,080 miles in 140 days.
Courtesy of Bryce Carlson

Scrolling through my Twitter feed this weekend, I saw a tip to follow biological anthropologist Bryce Carlson at Purdue University. I did — and wow! A fascinating new window on the science of extreme human endurance opened up.

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9:29am

Thu November 27, 2014

6:27am

Thu November 20, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Can't Sleep? Maybe Thinking About Evolution Will Help

iStockphoto

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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1:32pm

Sun November 16, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Attempting Sex, An Octopus Gets A Surprise

Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 6:34 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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2:11pm

Thu November 6, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

A Dark Side Of The Focus On Gay Marriage

Jeff Roberson AP

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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5:07am

Thu October 30, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Animal Behavior: Two Dogs And An Ice Cream

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 2:56 pm

YouTube

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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7:21am

Thu October 23, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Behind The Scenes: Ethics Of Wolf Wars And Turtle Travels

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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3:54pm

Thu October 9, 2014
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Ebola, Outrage And The Killing Of A Dog

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 9:48 am

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

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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