Barbara J. King

Friday Animal Blog

Tortoise On my Mind

August 27, 2010

Last Friday, while meeting with friends Nuala, David, and Jim—all creative types and all passionate about animal welfare and conservation—I asked to read aloud a piece I'm working on for my new book. The essay was about tortoises and turtles, and how I’m beginning to rethink some of my assumptions about (more…)

The Use of Animals for Atonement in Judaism

August 20, 2010

It is my pleasure to introduce a guest blogger this week. I am grateful to anthropologist Dr. Dafna Shir-Vertesh at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University for writing this piece for the Friday Animal Blog. Dr. Shir-Vertesh’s work on animals is of extreme interest to me. The rest of this entry is in her words; (more…)

Readers’ Poll: Surprising Animals?

August 13, 2010

This week, I’d like to pose a question to readers: Have you observed animals (of any species) acting in ways that surprised or moved you? Ways that indicated a remarkable depth of intelligence or feeling?

I’d like to restrict this poll to only actions or events that you yourself have observed, rather (more…)

Chimpanzee Pant Grunts

August 6, 2010

A new study published online at Animal Behaviour by primatologists Marion Laporte and Klaus Zuberbuhler at the University of St. Andrews shows us how much we still can learn about chimpanzee behavior, even in this 50th-anniversary year of Jane Goodall’s research. Focusing on communication, Laporte and Zuberbuhler studied the pant-grunt, a vocalization that (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.