Barbara J. King

Friday Animal Blog

Coyote vs. Cat, Cat vs. Bird

July 30, 2010

In the last few weeks in Gloucester County, Virginia-- where I live, across the river from the famous Yorktown Battlefield—-friends and acquaintances report that they’re losing pets and cared-for feral cats to coyote attacks. I trust these sources, and the reports are coming from various parts of our semi-rural county, so (more…)

Pat Shipman’s Animal Connection

July 23, 2010

I love that rush of wow! that comes with discovering an exciting journal article about animals, and animal-human bonding.

This week, in reading Pennsylvania State University anthropologist Pat Shipman’s latest work, I got just such a rush. In the August issue of Current Anthropology, Shipman argues that, in addition to the making (more…)

Celebrating Jane Goodall

July 16, 2010

This week, the Daily Press, one of the larger papers in my area of southeastern Virginia, published an op-ed I wrote. Here it is, doubling as this week's blog:

Wednesday, July 14, marked the 50th anniversary of Jane Goodall's stepping onto the shores of Lake Tanganyika at Gombe in Tanzania, East Africa, to observe wild (more…)

On Owl Monkeys: Wide-eyed and Gently Bonded at DuMond Conservancy

July 9, 2010

For the primate enthusiast, it’s easy enough to fixate on the alpha species: the baboons, chimpanzees, gorillas and bonobos favored by many primatologists and film crews. Relentlessly self-oriented, Homo sapiens enjoys a close look in the mirror—evolutionary or otherwise—so it’s no accident that these popular monkeys and apes are among (more…)

Walking our national parks

July 2, 2010

One can never walk the same national-park trail twice.

I’ve adapted this line from Heraclitus, who, around 500 B.C., uttered the to-be-famous “You cannot step into the same river twice.” That sentiment is even more elegant when applied to walking the diverse and wondrous trails of the American national park system.

Despite my (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.