Barbara J. King

Friday Animal Blog

Chimpanzees—and Dogs and Cats—Respond to Death

April 30, 2010

The internet lit up this week with fascinating discussion of responses by animals to death. Writing in the journal Current Biology, two groups of scientists reported complex responses to death in our closest living relatives, chimpanzees.

In one article, Dora Biro of the University of Oxford and colleagues recounted observations at a long-term research (more…)

Horse Vacations

April 23, 2010

According to the New York Times (Week in Review section, Sunday April 18), New York City has mandated for its carriage horses—the ones that carry tourists through Central Park and environs—5 weeks of vacation per year.

Most Manhattan carriage horses, I learned, spend vacation “down time” already, shipping out to place like the Pennsylvania (more…)

The Sacred (Italian?) Face on your Plate

April 16, 2010

Fried rabbit with fennel; grilled pigeon and grilled lamb; crostini neri made with chicken livers; pork liver dishes; gnocchi laced with local beef; pasta with boar sauce; a variety of foods garnished with animal testicles. The list of described delicacies goes on and on, as it inevitably does in a book about Tuscany. This (more…)

Pigeons wearing backpacks!

April 9, 2010

Pigeons wearing backpacks! This phrase uttered by a science reporter on NPR’s program All Things Considered caught my fancy. The reporter described how scientists are studying the collective movements of birds in flight. Retrieving the relevant article from yesterday’s issue of the British journal Nature, I read ‘Hierarchical Group Dynamics (more…)

The Friday Animal Blog is on brief hiatus as I recover from oral surgery.

April 2, 2010

Earlier this week, Gray had multiple teeth extracted by our veterinarian. Gray’s an ex-feral who now inhabits our master bedroom and bathroom. Because he’s FIV positive, and has a lot of secondary infections, we need to keep him away from our other cats. Our vet felt he’d feel better, and eat (more…)

Selected Works

Why are animals so irresistible to us? Why do we live with and care so deeply about them? From the famous "art caves" of ice-age Europe, to the ancient villages where animals were first domesticated, to stories of apes, whales, dogs, and cats doing fascinating things today, King weaves together a scenario about the animal-human bond that encompasses our past, present and future.
Can scientists discover a prehistory of religion just as they have traced the evolution of technology, language, and art? What does compassion in chimpanzees, or burial patterns in our human ancestors and Neanderthals, tell us about the origins of religion? In Evolving God, named a Top Ten Religion Book for 2007 by the American Library Association, Barbara King explores these questions.
How do chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas-- the African apes -- communicate using body postures and gestures? Using her many years of experience studying these apes, Barbara King answers this question in a book that offers a new perspective on the evolution of language.