Barbara J. King

Friday Animal Blog

Animals and the Earthquake

August 26, 2011

Last week, I wrote about the fast-approaching event in our family: taking our daughter to college for the first time. That happened on Monday and Tuesday, and it was even more seismic than I’d anticipated -- literally.

Arrival at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, went extremely well on (more…)

On Chimpanzee Daughters Leaving Home- and a Human Daughter Too

August 19, 2011

For the third week running, chimpanzees are on my mind, as are the ways we humans construct similarities and differences between us and great apes. I’ve been thinking about how, for 20 years now, I’ve assigned in my Introduction to Biological Anthropology class Jane Goodall’s Through a Window-- and (more…)

The Rise of Primatology: The Hollywood Consult!

August 12, 2011

Last week’s discussion in this space, “Are We Over-Connected to Chimpanzees,” worked just as I’d hoped. It brought in cogent comments about whether, and how, we humans tend towards inappropriate emotional connections with our closest living relatives, out of some misplaced sense of romanticism. The (more…)

Are We “Over-Connected” to Chimpanzees?

August 5, 2011

For almost two months now, a comment made by the science writer Jon Cohen has been rattling around in my brain. Interviewed for an article about the film Rise of the Planet of the Apes- opening today- by USA Today's Dan Vergano, Cohen made a provocative observation.

Noting that the movie’ (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.