Barbara J. King

Friday Animal Blog

The Wisdom of Wild Elephant Matriarchs

March 25, 2011

A joke in my house is that I’m a poster child for the sandwich generation. Like legions of other women, I work a full-time job, have a child still living at home (and I’d say there’s some truth to the claim that teenagers need as much parental attention and time as (more…)

The Life Force in Animals--- and in Rocks

March 18, 2011

It’s been an axiom of my thinking and my writing that humans’ relating with animals differs in some essential way from our relating with all other parts of the universe. Ancient redwood trees, high-stalked sunflowers, bones-of-the-Earth red-rock formations may all compel, for me, a gasp of admiration, a whisper of delight, an urge (more…)

How We Study Monkey and Ape Communication

March 11, 2011

This week is spring break for me. Before it began, I harbored hopes of novel-reading, co-basking in the sunroom with cats, going to movies with the family, in and amongst the midterm-grading and article-writing all of us do during “holiday weeks.” Thanks to an email I sent in late 2010, this heartwarming scenario has not (more…)

Dogs and Wolves as Persons—7000 Years Ago

March 4, 2011

Seven years ago, an editor asked me to peer-review a book manuscript on ape language. My own books have benefitted so much from peer review that I could hardly refuse to take on this task.

Happily, the book was engaging, and also significant to an understanding of (more…)

Selected Works

Nonfiction
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.