Marc Bekoff is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. An internationally prominent lecturer on animal behavior, cognitive ethology and behavioral ecology, Marc has contributed immensely to these fields via original papers, books and even videos. Additionally, he was a competitive cyclist winning the Tour du Haut Var for his age group in 1986!
This is a link to his website.
Marc Bekoff's work at the Boulder County Jail (as part of Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots program)
Animals, people and environment at the county jail (pdf article from Camera paper)
Jailhouse time is well spent (pdf article from New Scientist 21 March, 2009)
Resurgence magazine publication: The Animal Manifesto (pdf)
Treat us better or leave us alone! Marc Bekoff explains
Resurgence magazine publication: Learning from Animals (pdf)
Animals are rarely violent and never to the extent we are. We can learn a lot from them - if we only open our minds and hearts to who they really are, writes Marc Bekoff.
Co-founder with Jane Goodall:
Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: Citizens for Responsible Animal Behavior Studies in 2000
Board of Directors:
The Cougar Fund, The Fauna Sanctuary
Honorary Board Member:
Scientific Expert Advisory Panel Member:
Voiceless, The Animal Protection Institute
Humane Society University
2005 The Bank One Faculty Community Service Award 2009 St. Francis of Assisi Award by the Auckland (New Zealand) SPCA
Animal Emotions - An interview with Professor Marc Bekoff
An interview with Professor Marc Bekoff on RTE Radio 1's Pat Kenny Show (September 3rd, 2008).
Marc Bekoff–Animal Sentience
Insights into animal intelligence and feeling.
Science & Animal Activism with Marc Bekoff
Marc Bekoff shares insights drawn from a lifetime studying animals.
Marc Bekoff - Animal Behavior and Emotions
Video is unavailable presently.
Insight into the Emotional Lives of Animals with Dr. Marc Bekoff
This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated.
Marc Bekoff speech at 2010 Voiceless Awards
Here, he delivers the keynote address at the 2011 Voiceless Awards, which celebrate animal proteciton in Australia. Marc reflects on the need to give animals respect and compassion.
There is a video embedded in the page.
The Emotional Lives of Animals
Skillfully blends extraordinary stories of animal joy, empathy, grief, embarrassment, anger, and love with the latest scientific research confirming the existence of emotions that common sense and experience have long implied.
Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals
We argue that animals feel empathy for each other, treat one another fairly, cooperate towards common goals, and help each other out of trouble. We argue, in short, that animals have morality.
Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships
Humans and animals live together on earth, but as we increasingly reshape ecosystems to accommodate larger populations, technology, and increased consumption, animals are greatly affected.
Listening to Cougar
Spellbinding tribute to Puma concolor honors the big cat's presence on the land and in our psyches.
A biologist explains why we should treat animals with compassion and respect.
Animals at Play: Rules of the Game
Emphasizes how animals communicate, cooperate and learn to play fair and what happens when they break the rules.
Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare Vol 1
Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare Vol 2
Remains the only reference to cover the entire scope of animal rights and welfare from a global interdisciplinary perspective, with an international team of contributors assembled by Marc Bekoff covering animal treatment issues in the United States, China, India, Kenya, Australia, and many other nations.
The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons For Expanding Our Compassion Footprint
Driven by moral imperatives and pressing environmental realities, Bekoff offers six compelling reasons for changing the way we treat animals.
The smile of a dolphin
A fascinating look at the complex emotional lives of animals presents firsthand accounts by leading animal behavior researchers that offer a compelling argument that humans are not the only creatures to experience emotion.
Minding animals: awareness, emotions, and heart
An exhilarating tour of the emotional and mental world of animals, where we meet creatures who do amazing things.
Animal passions and beastly virtues
Draws world-wide attention for its originality and its probing into what animals think about and know as well as what they feel, what physical and mental skills they use to live.
The Ten Trusts
Addresses various aspects of animal welfare, animal rights and what can be done to assist in providing a better life for the animals of the world.
Animal play: evolutionary, comparative, and ecological perspectives
Careful, quantitative studies of social, locomotor and object play behaviour are now beginning … to shed light on many other aspects of both animal and human behaviour.
Species of Mind: The Philosophy and Biology of Cognitive Ethology
A philosopher and a cognitive ethologist, approach their work from the perspective that many animals have minds and rich cognitive lives.
The cognitive animal: empirical and theoretical perspectives on animal cognition
Bekoff, Allen, Burghardt
A comprehensive overview of the interdisciplinary field of animal cognition. The contributors include cognitive ethologists, behavioral ecologists, experimental and developmental psychologists, behaviorists, philosophers, neuroscientists, computer scientists and modelers, field biologists, and others.
Suburban Howls: Tracking the Eastern Coyote in Urban Massachusetts
Way, Way, Bekoff
This book is about the experiences and findings of a biologist studying coyote ecology and behavior in urbanized eastern Massachusetts.
Angel Dogs with a Mission: Divine Messengers in Service to All Life
Anderson, Anderson, Bekoff
This fascinating book puts the spotlight on working dogs – those heroic canines who have found ways to give back more than sloppy kisses and happy snuggles.
Coyotes: Biology, Behavior and Management
a classic of the canid literature. Originally published in 1978, Coyotes: Biology, Behavior and Management pulled together much disparate research in coyote evolution, taxonomy, reproduction, communication, behavioral development, population dynamics, ethology and ecological studies.
Strolling with our kin: speaking for and respecting voiceless animals
Bekoff takes the reader on a philosophical and ethical odyssey examining how We can all live in harmony with our fellow kin. He asks us to explore our thoughts and expand our views of a world made up of many species, only one of which is human.
Nature's Life Lessons: Everyday Truths from Nature
Using everyday behaviors in Nature, this delightful and whimsical book celebrates the link between the natural world and quirky humans.
Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World
Zimmerman, Esbjorn-Hargens, Bekoff, Hochachka, Tissot, Riddell
Unites valuable insights from multiple perspectives into a comprehensive theoretical framework-one that can be put to use right now.
Selected blog post titles from Psychology Today
These are various articles by Marc posted in his Psychology Today blog. The short descriptions are provided too. Some of these articles can serve as introductions to various academic papers by Marc. You can subscribe to his blog via rss feed.
Baboons Distinguish Real Words From Nonsense Words
Non-reading baboons can learn to distinguish written real words from nonsense words. Recognizing visual word forms is a key component of literacy and these data provide the first animal model. Once again, we learn that we are not alone in demonstrating some fascinating and sophisticated cognitive skills.
Bowerbirds: Do They Have Green Thumbs?
Male bowerbirds appear to grow a garden to attract females. What they do seems to be cultivation, the result of which is increased mating success. The more we learn the more blurred is the border between "us" and "them".
The National Museum of Animals & Society
The National Museum of Animals & Society (NMAS), the first of its kind, centers on the full spectrum of human-animal studies (anthrozoology, our relationships with, and perceptions of, other animals) including the history of protecting animals and the importance of humane education in their collections, exhibitions, and programs.
Friends With Benefits
Nonhumans show us why we all need others we can count on. They help in times of need, it feels good to have close friends, and it's good for an individual's health and well-being. The more we study other animals the more we learn about their fascinating lives and about ourselves. We should be proud of our animal heritage.
Our Complex and Contradictory Relationships with Other Animal Beings
Just about every day is a mixed bag for nonhuman animals. To wit, we've recently learned that dolphins are more socially complex than previously recognized and that St. Jude Hospital plans to raise money from horrific raccoon hunts using coondogs. We need to, and easily can, change our ways.
The Superior Human? Who Do We Think We Are?
This fascinating documentary is well worth watching. While we are unique and special so too are other animals. Human exceptionalism that translates into supposed superiority and domination over "lower" species is based on bad biology and this film dismantles specious speciesism.
Humans Help Stranded Dolphins: Some Much Needed Good News
Watch humans help save stranded dolphins in Brazil. I hope this wonderful story will help to maintain or restore your faith in the goodness and decency of humans who choose to help, rather than to harm, other animals.
Trapped Wolf Used for Target Practice
Wolf torture continues and is praised by some while critics' lives are threatened. This story of a trapped wolf who was also used for target practice (teaser image) should outrage people and get them to do something to stop this reprehensible behavior.
Wicked Tuna: NGS Supports Killing These Majestic Beings
The NGS glorifies killing these majestic fish for unneeded meals. What's to be admired for causing incredible pain and suffering to these imperiled sentient beings, all in the name of entertainment and money? What did the tuna do to deserve the label "wicked"? Why are they the evil ones in this one-sided slaughter?
Dolphin Confidential: A Woman and the Dolphins She Loves
"Dolphin Confidential" is an inspirational book about a woman scientist and the "urban" L. A. dolphins she comes to love. Maddalena Bearzi shows that bonding with animals does not preclude doing solid science and serves as a role model for those who want to become scientists and feel free to display feelings for the animals they study.
Killing Other Animals For Food Does Not Make us Human
There's nothing spiritual about killing innocent animals for unneeded meals. The claims hunters, who are meat-eating zealots, put forth using flowery prose about how hunting makes us human and that those who don't hunt are "missing something" are self-serving and ignore what the hunted animals are thinking and feeling.
A Dog and a River Otter: a Most Amazing Friendship
Watch Rio, a dog, play with his wild river otter friend. The river otter comes to visit Rio everyday and they frolic wildly and obviously enjoy it immensely. This incredible video will make your day.
Bonobos Rescue Friends in Need Because Females Lead
These amazing apes travel long distances to find and help lost friends. It's suggested this is because their social groups are led by females for whom the unity of the group is very important. This is another example showing animals are far more caring, compassionate, and kind than we give them credit for.
It's Coyote Killing Time Once Again
Utah and Nova Scotia wage war on these fascinating native animals using programs that have been scientifically proven not to work. The wanton, senseless, and merciless killing of coyotes and other animals is ineffective and must be stopped. Why is it that some people enjoy killing other animals?
Trumping Wildlife: Heinous Trophy Hunting, Not Conservation
Donald Trump's sons clearly enjoy going on very expensive canned trophy hunts. These macho boys write off their heinous and sick killing spree in the name of conservation as if it's good for the animals, their habitats, and local people, as they proudly pose with corpses and body parts.
Thrill-seeking Bees, A Bathing Bear, and Chimpanzees In the News
Bees are wired for adventure and a bear takes a bath using a tool. A new movie called "Chimpanzee" will be airing soon and Disneynature will contribute 20 cents per ticket to the Jane Goodall Institute for the Disneynature Tchimpounga Nature Reserve Project with a minimum of $100,000 pledged to this program.
Elephants Mourn Loss of "Elephant Whisperer" Lawrence Anthony
Elephant grief and mourning include the loss of their human friend. Broken-hearted elephants visited the home of Lawrence Anthony, known as the elephant whisperer, to express their sorrow. They had not been seen there for a very long time. Clearly we're not the only animals who possess the cognitive and emotional capacities for suffering the loss of others.
Flies On Booze and Apes On Apps
Flies drink alcohol to ward off parasites and live longer than teetotallers, and captive orangutans use iPads to enrich their lives. They may even communicate with others over long distances using FaceTime or Skype.
Green: Environmental Devastation and the Last Hours of an Orangutan's Life
A heart-wrenching documentary about the last hours of a female orangutan's life. Some people deny the devastating and violent impacts we have globally, and few have the opportunity to see them first hand, but they are realities we must, and can, reverse now. It's very easy to avoid products that cause unspeakable harm to innocent animals and their homes.
Is Chimpanzee Research Necessary? No, Say Many Scientists
Rigorous reviews of available data on the use of chimpanzees and other animals in biomedical research show that we actually learn very little about treating human disease from these models. Wide-ranging support to remove chimpanzees from laboratories and place them safely in sanctuaries upholds these conclusions.
The Need for "Wild" Play: Let Children Be the Animals They Need to Be
A new book called "Evolutionary Playwork" shows that youngsters need to "get down and dirty" and engage in "wild" play, but they're not. According to play expert Bob Hughes, "ג€¦ if the activity is bounded by adult rules, if it is stiff, formalised and dominated by the need to score points and flatter one's ego, that is not play, it is something else." The same for adults.
Say It Isn't So: Major Atrocities Against Animals
Canadian conservation officers slaughter 145 bears and numerous dead animals discovered at Oregon State University. The teaser image is of a live raccoon caught by its rear leg and attempting to escape by weaving itself through a fence. Wildlife Services left it to die after illegally setting traps and snares. You can stop this violence.
Animals: A New Ethics (Resurgence Magazine)
In this special edition of Resurgence magazine you'll read new wide-ranging essays by animal advocates including campaigners, activists, authors, philosophers, scientists, lawyers, charity heads, poets, and artists. It's truly an up-to-date landmark publication.
Makin' Bacon: Unspeakable and Grisly Abuse On a Pig Farm
Pigs on pig farms suffer greatly despite supposed concerns for the welfare. They're shot, tossed around as if they're mere objects, forced to live without proper veterinary care, and slapped, kicked and beaten into submission with the use of pig boards, iron bars, and gate rods. This reprehensible abuse must be stopped and you can help do this at your next meal.
Wearing Pain: Canada Goose's Fur Policy Is Lame and Self-Serving
There is no reason to kill animals for clothing. In the process of becoming a coat or trim, the bones of coyotes and many other animals go snap, crackle, and pop as they're tortured unrelentingly. Canada Goose's fur policy is laden with self-serving justifications and errors all in the name of money and the unnecessary slaughter of animals for clothing.
Dogs, Homeless People, and Love: A Picture Is Worth Many Many Words
The photos to which I refer here show clearly that dogs are our best friends. They're able to love with no or very few holds barred and bring much joy and warmth to those who are down on their luck. We're so lucky to have dogs in our lives. We should embrace and celebrate their willingness to share love and learn from them.
Social Dominance Is Not a Myth: Wolves, Dogs, and Other Animals
Social dominance is a real phenomenon but has been widely misunderstood and misused. Nonhuman (and human) animals dominate one another in a number of ways, but simple and narrow explanations of what dominance is, how it's expressed, and how it influences behavior don't necessarily hold across species, within species, or across different contexts.
Nika and Her Animal Friends: A Most Inspirational Rescue
Meet Nika and her animal friends who rescued her from a life of hell. After years of abuse and neglect Nika has made a remarkable recovery in the company of some wonderful nonhuman animal "therapists" and loving human animals.
Chancer and Iyal: A Dog, His Boy, and His Dog
Chancer, a golden retriever, takes care of a youngster with severe cognitive disabilities. Chancer is one of many dogs who give hope to those who need it. The reciprocal bond, the life line, formed between humans and their canine companions is awe-inspiring and win-win for all. Bless all the dog beings and human beings who work in these wonderful programs.
Chimpanzee Abuse: Extreme Cruelty Caught on Tape
If you doubted that chimpanzees are horrifically abused in laboratories, watch this short video. To quote the head of the center, Thomas Rowell: "There were five minutes or less of video where you said to yourself, you know, I wish so and so hadn't said this … Or I wish they'd have been more careful here." Imagine what the chimpanzees were feeling.
Chimpanzees Should Not Be Treated as Books in a Library
Chimpanzees are sentient beings who should not be stockpiled and kept in tiny cells as if they're mere objects because they may have to be used in horrific research in the future. They are making small gains in the on-going, and often deceptive battle, to keep them locked up, but they need all the help we can offer.
Hunters Upset When Dogs Are Trapped, but Still Want to Hunt
Trapping animals causes intense and enduring pain, suffering, and death. Hunters who are opposed to trapping, as many are, also want to be able to kill other animals but get very upset when their dog(s) is harmed, as they should. Why don't the pain, suffering, and death of other animals matter?
Close Encounters of the Gorilla Kind
A video well-worth watching to see friendly and inquisitive gorillas pet and groom a human. The portrayal of animals as being mean and violent is simply wrong. It's a misrepresentation of who they really are. Sit back and enjoy this amazing encounter between a human ape and one of our close relatives.
"What Were Wars?" Don't Blame Other Animals For Human Violence
Human war is a choice and non-human animals should not be blamed for our violent leanings. Scientific data show clearly that other animals are predominantly peaceful beings and we must factor this into our attempts to justify war-mongering, but more importantly to stop it. We need to develop a science of peace and build a culture of empathy.
"The Grey" Has It All Wrong About Wolves
Media, this time "The Grey", once again misrepresents and vilifies animals. In this movie wolves are the victims of sensationalism and long-dead myths that can hurt efforts to protect and conserve these endangered animals. Actors also ate two wolves who were brought to the set to get them in the mood for the wild. No joke.
Empathic Rodents Get a Wee Bit More Protection Sort Of
New guidelines recommend larger cages for families of mice and rats who are used in invasive research. But the recommended sizes are ridiculously small and are not hard-and-fast rules. Yet researchers are in a tizzy about the added costs to their work. Mice and rats are highly sentient and emotional beings who display empathy. They deserve far more protection.
A Snowboarding Crow Playing and Having Fun
Watch a "snowboarding crow" obviously having fun. Many animals love to play and when they can't find a friend with whom to romp they entertain themselves. We can learn a lot about ourselves by watching other animals play.
Whales and Dolphins at Play: A Great Lift That'll Make Your Day
Watch wild humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins play with one another and smile, smile, smile. This is a great example of cooperation between two amazing species.
They Kill Sheep, Don't They? My Deep Apologies
A video showing a soldier ruthlessly beating a sheep, most likely to death, has surfaced. My deep regrets and apologies for posting it - I admit I sobbed when I saw it - but something has to be done about this horrific event. It is an insult to all human beings, especially those who honorably serve our country.
"Are You with the Right Mate?" The Media's Misuse of Chimpanzees
The misrepresentation of animals influences how they are perceived and these misperceptions are known to be harmful to the conservation status of these endangered beings.
Drowning Rats and Human Depression: Positive Psychology for Whom?
Does exposing rats to aggressive encounters and making them swim until they give up hope and drown really have anything to do with human depression? Not really, yet horrific experiments continue under the guise of positive psychology.
Chimpanzees: I Know What You Don't
During the past few years we've learned amazing facts about the astonishing cognitive, emotional, and moral lives of other animals. And 2012 is starting off with a bang as we learn that chimpanzees know what others don't know and tell them about the presence of dangerous snakes. These field data suggest that chimpanzees have a theory of mind.
Dead Cow Walking: The Case Against Born-Again Carnivorism
Cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals raised for food are sentient beings who have rich emotional lives. No matter how "humanely" they're raised, their lives can be cashed out simply as "dead cow/pig/chicken walking." Whom we choose to eat is a matter of life and death.
Heartless Hunting: Maiming Then Killing Deer With No Remorse
The writer of a failed attempt at a poetic essay claims "I hate to kill" but nonetheless does it thoroughly irresponsibly.
Primate Social Behavior: Nature "Versus" Nurture Once Again?
Genes seem to play a large role in the social behavior of many nonhuman primates but not for other other species including coyotes and wolves. Much more research is needed to see just how far these new findings apply as they surely will inform future studies of animal behavior and conservation projects. Is it nature and nurture or nature or nurture?
Mathematical Pigeons Are Amazing But Not So Surprising
Pigeons can learn abstract rules about numbers and these new and exciting data support what's long been known about the numerical competency or "counting ability" of other captive and wild birds. Clearly, calling someone a birdbrain is a compliment. Bird brains are very active and their cognitive abilities rather remarkable and highly evolved.
Rewilding Our Hearts: Maintaining Hope and Faith in Trying Times
In troubled times it's difficult to remain hopeful and positive. Here I offer some practical guidelines for a new positive and personal social movement that is based on rewilding our hearts. Not only will nonhuman animals and their homes benefit, but so will we as we make a major paradigm shift
Empathic Rats and Ravishing Ravens
Rats and ravens caution us about proudly tooting our "aren't we special" horn. A new study shows rats display empathy-driven behavior to help other rats in distress while another has demonstrated that ravens use body language and gestures to communicate with other ravens.
Tool Use by a Dingo and a Dog
Read about and watch Stirling, a young male dingo, use a tool, and also about Grendel, a dog, make and use a back scratcher from a bone. As time goes on more and more animals are observed making and using tools.
Chimpanzees in Research: Lies, Lies, and More Lies
Researchers who abuse chimpanzees act as if moratoriums and agreements don't matter, as if they're above it all. They're not and each of us can easily do something now to stop the continued abuse of chimpanzees in invasive research.
Grief, Mourning, and Broken Hearted Animals
There's no doubt many animals grieve the loss of family and friends. Mounting evidence clearly shows we're not the only animals who possess the cognitive and emotional capacities for suffering the loss of others.
Minding Animals as Persons: Beatrice, My Mother, and Jethro, My Dog
My mother Beatrice and my dog Jethro shared many traits that warrant calling a being a person. When my mother suffered serious physical and psychological decline she was still considered a person as she well should have been. Yet Jethro and other animals do not warrant that status. Nothing is lost by viewing nonhuman animals as persons.
"What In the World Do My Essays Have To Do With Psychology?"
Knowing about nonhuman animals has everything to do with human psychology. What we think, know, feel, and believe about animals should strongly influence how we interact with them but often it doesn't. Animals are merely property in the eyes of the law and enjoy little to no legal standing. This, in and of itself, tells us lots about human psychology.
Circuses: Wild Animals Do Not Belong in the Cruelest Show on Earth
Circuses do nothing for the animals themselves or for other members of their species despite claims to the contrary. Circuses make no contributions to conservation. They serve no purpose other than "entertainment" if you dare to call watching abused and terrorized animals performing stupid and unnatural tricks "entertainment".
What Makes Us Uniquely Human?
Are we the only animals who mentally time travel and have a theory of mind? Some people think so but there are data that suggest we're not. Are we exceptional in some ways? Yes we are but so are other animals.
Rampant Wolf Killing Makes Some People Happy
In just 2 weeks 44 wolves have been killed, or as some say "bagged," in Montana. Some people actually find the deplorable slaughter of these magnificent animals makes them happy and to be encouraging. How in the world did such shameful and sick attitudes toward sentient beings ever evolve? Would they kill their dog? I'm afraid to ask.
Whales in Captivity: Are They Legally Slaves?
Does keeping whales (and perhaps other animals) in captivity violate the 13th Amendment ban on slavery? A pending lawsuit can change how we perceive and use other animals. It surely will lead to much needed discussion about the ways in which humans wantonly and routinely use and abuse animals in entertainment and in other venues.
Fish Don't Like Being Hooked
Fish are sentient beings who don't like being hooked either in their mouth by a human or by other fish whom they punish when they steal their food.
Is Eating Dogs Different from Eating Cows and Pigs?
A cancelled dog-eating festival in China has raised strong world-wide protest as it should. And so should the horrific conditions in which factory farmed animals are forced to live before they go to slaughter and as they're being killed. We must face our choices in food head-on and be consistent about who winds up in our mouth.
Bloodbath in Ohio: Numerous Exotic Animals Killed After Being Freed
Numerous exotic animals were killed in Ohio after they were released from a private reserve. No humans were attacked. It's too late to bring these animals back and give them the life they deserved. But regulations and laws about keeping unprotected exotic animals must be implemented and vigorously enforced.
9/11 Dogs: The Devoted Dozen Who Still Bless Our Lives
Twelve rescue dogs who worked tirelessly and selflessly during the chaos of 9/11 still survive. Say hello, read about them and see wonderful portraits in a collection called "Retrieved", and send your very best wishes to these amazing dog beings.
Moon bears, wasps, and sexy seals: Animals aren't dumb
Doctors call for the closure of cruel bear farms across Asia, wasps recognize individual faces, and female sea lions appear to be more in control of sex than previously thought. Animals are not dumb. They're sentient, smart, and emotional, and can reason about the effects of their behavior. This is a photo of Jonah, a moon bear on his way to freedom.
Chimpanzees In the Crossfire: Are They Cleverer Than Us?
We shouldn't be asking who's cleverer than whom. Rather, we should ask what individuals of different species need to do to be card-carrying members of their species. This information will help us learn more about who we are and who "they" are and help us protect them in captivity and in the wild.
Animal and Humans: Meaningful Meetings of Common Minds
International meetings and growing general interest show that animals matter. A recent gathering concerned with social justice and the treatment and conservation of great apes, hosted by the Arcus Foundation, made it abundantly clear that we all must be concerned with how these and other amazing beings are treated and do something now to improve their (and our) lives.
Boobies In the News (Birds That Is)
Abused baby boobies grow up to be abusers themselves. This is the first evidence from a wild animal that, as in humans, abuse can be socially transmitted to future generations.
Animal Minds and the Foible of Human Exceptionalism
Human exceptionalism, the belief that human beings have special status based on our unique capacities, is misleading and has serious social, political, and environmental consequences for how we treat other animals and their homes. We need to be more humble and act with greater compassion and empathy for other beings.
Slaughtering Sentience: Rampant killing of wildlife by our government continues
Wildlife Services, a branch of the United States Department of Agriculture, ruthlessly kills millions of animals. In 2010 they slaughtered more than five million animals and spent more than $126 million to do so with no concern for the well-being of their victims. The amount of pain, suffering, and death for which they're responsible is reprehensible.
Are great apes "ultraviolent"?
Sensationalist media often misrepresents other primates as violent beings, but available data show this is not the case. Across the board, great apes and other animals are predominantly cooperative. Of course, there are very rare examples of what could be called evil violence, but we should not use nonhumans to justify our evil ways.
Emotional honeybees and brainy jellyfish: More "surprises" in animal behavior
Honeybees display pessimism and jellyfish make complex decisions using a brain. The more we study fascinating animals the more we learn about their cognitive and emotional capacities.
Animals in the news: Self-aware chimpanzees, doomed wolves, and retired race horses
We continue to learn fascinating facts about the cognitive and emotional capacities of other animals and continue to mistreat them with little or no concern for their well-being. It's time for a widespread social movement, a revolution of sorts. It ain't rocket science. Other animals truly depend on our goodwill and we can all do something to help them along.
Dog Killed by Wildlife Services: The Horrific War On Wildlife Knows No Bounds or Decency
Government workers continue to ruthlessly kill wildlife and domesticated animals, showing no regard for the safety of people, including children, and their companion animals. Bella, a dog who died because Wildlife Services blatantly ignored EPA directives, would still be alive if they showed any common sense and decency.
The human-animal bond revisited: Power is not license to do what we please because we can
Wayne Pacelle's book about our kinship with other animals is a must read. Readers will learn a lot about the other beings with whom we share Earth and also about the issues with which we must deal as we move into the 21st century. Every individual counts and each of us can easily make positive differences in the lives of animals with little effort.
The moral lives of animals: What did Herman Melville have to say about animals?
Many animals display moral intelligence in various social situations. This new and highly original book summarizes what we know and also provides numerous exciting ideas for future research and debate. It's no longer nature red in tooth and claw.
Caring about animal abuse has a lot to do with human psychology
Our relationships with other animals require psychological studies. Conservation psychology, conservation education, and humane education can help us further our understanding of how we relate to other animals and what we can and must do to improve these interactions for their well-being and ours. When animals lose, we lose.
Victims of vanity: Wearing animals is donning pain and suffering
The fur industry is guilty of untold torture and tries to hide it. There are numerous and easy ways to buy non-animal clothing alternatives and each of us can remove reprehensible cruelty from the world if we made more humane and ethical choices. There is no reason at all to wear animals.
Empathic chickens and cooperative elephants: Emotional intelligence expands its range again
Chickens feel one another's pain and elephants know when they need help and cooperate with one another to obtain a reward. When you eat chicken you're eating pain and misery and it's a matter of who's for dinner, not what's for dinner, because these amazing birds are highly sentient beings, as are elephants and numerous other animals.
Killing animals redux: Animal damage control means unrelenting slaughter and a huge waste of money
The 80th anniversary of the Animal Damage Control Act is a time for mourning. Animal genocide continues and the "problems" that prompt this wanton killing aren't solved. What a waste of $120 million. Community-based programs, such as the Marin County Strategic Plan for Protection of Livestock and Wildlife, are more humane and more effective alternatives.
Wolves in the crosshairs once again: Politicians attempt to sidestep the Endangered Species Act
Attempts to fast track delisting wolves crosses party lines and conveniently ignores science. Montana Democratic senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester have proposed another delisting bill despite a federal court ruling that said that wolves should be protected by the Endangered Species Act.
Whipping horses doesn't work and new observations of grief in chimpanzees
Research shows that whipping horses doesn't make a difference in races and new observations show that chimpanzees mourn dead infants. Once again science shows how we can improve our relationships with animals who we use for entertainment and how remarkable other animals are.
Kids & animals: What are they thankful for and what are their dreams?
Kids can tell us how we should treat other animals. We should listen to them. A new book offers a unique glimpse of what kids around the world are thankful for and what their dreams and hopes are. The book centers on the guiding principles of Jane Goodall's world-wide Roots & Shoots program.
Animal genocide government style: Our tax dollars at work
Our government wantonly and discompassionately slaughters millions of animals a year using our tax dollars. Ecosystems are also destroyed by this horrific and reprehensible killing. We need to stop this unrelenting war on wildlife and foster coexistence.
"Do fish feel pain?" redux: An interview with the author who shows of course they do
Fish feel pain and are far more intelligent than previously thought. The United States is ten years behind Europe concerning the keeping and killing of fish claims the author of "Do Fish Feel Pain?", who supports sport fishing and eats fish. This is important to note because caring about animal welfare is not a "radical" point of view as some claim.
Dog learns more than 1000 names and chimpanzees make dolls
Increasing evidence shows just how smart and creative animals can be. It's best to keep an open mind about the cognitive skills of other animals because "surprises" are regularly forthcoming.
Cruelty can't stand the spotlight: Ending animal abuse is merely a click away so let's make it a New Year's resolution
It's easy to end animal abuse with a few clicks of your mouse. Cruelty can't stand the spotlight and each of us can make a positive difference in the lives of billions of animals. Please place ending animal abuse high among your New Year's resolutions.
Kangaroos: These iconic animals are relentlessly slaughtered throughout Australia and they shouldn't be
These iconic animals deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. They're not. Kangaroos, including young joeys, are killed by the millions each year. Scientists have shown there's little evidence to support this wanton slaughter. Let's stop the slaughter and make this the century of compassion.
Dead Cow Walking
National Hamburger Day is a celebration that shouldn't happen. Eating cows causes unnecessary suffering and death and is risky because of the serious diseases they carry from their lives on factory farms. Benefits of making humane choices are supported by solid scientific research.
Jane Goodall: A brief glimpse of a most amazing woman
What an amazing and unanticipated life was awaiting Jane Goodall after she arrived at the Gombe Stream reserve 50 years ago. It frightens me to think where we would be if she hadn't made that fateful trip to East Africa in 1960.
Motherhood: Lessons from dolphins
Good mothering in dolphins is socially determined not genetic. Social factors rather than genes influence reproductive success in dolphins.
Crows and tools: Calling someone a birdbrain can be a compliment
Young crows learn to make complex tools in 'tool school' by watching adults. Being a birdbrain isn't really an insult.
Bees versus computers: Pea-brained bees win the "traveling salesman problem"
Tiny bee brains beat computers in solving the "traveling salesman problem."
Compassionate Conservation Finally Comes of Age: Killing in the name of conservation doesn't work
Compassionate conservation is no longer an oxymoron. Ethics must be firmly implanted in conservation biology, even if difficult questions move us outside of our professional and personal comfort zones. Ethical questions must be addressed, even if asking them means some projects might be put on hold temporarily or abandoned.
"Oh, I know animals suffer, but I love my steak": The self-serving resolution of the "meat paradox"
Many people continue to eat animals knowing they suffer before they wind up at the end of their fork. A new study shows that the "meat paradox" is resolved for some by denying moral status and emotions to meat animals.
Dogs know what others know: Some new and exciting findings about our best friends
Dogs show evidence of having a theory of mind in that they are able to attribute beliefs and knowledge to others.
Demonic, Warlike Animals Are the Rare Exception, Not the Rule: Wild Justice In Animals Redux
There is no evidence that animals are inherently warlike. We need to stop using animals to justify our own cruel, evil, and warlike behavior.
Compassionate squirrels and good people helping oiled and other wildlife
Squirrels and people display compassion and Zimbabwe calls off a wildlife trade deal with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Meat for sex? A blown "fact"
Male chimpanzees don't trade meat for sex as previously assumed. So, bartering for sex in humans might be a more recent phenomenon.
Animals, kids, and slaughterhouse effects on crime: Some recent findings
Kid's reasoning about animals is not universal and research shows a relationship between the presence of slaughterhouses and an increase in local crime.
Apes say "no" with a head shake, animals are lefties and righties, and getting out in nature is good. Duh!
Animals say "no" by shaking their head and show handedness. While we are different from other animals we are also rather similar. And, being "out in nature" is good for us. Duh!
Using hamsters to save ferrets: The need for compassionate conservation
Hamsters for dinner? Golden hamsters are bred solely to be used to train black-footed ferrets to kill. The harm done to hamsters violates ethical principles because it constitutes premeditated and intentional harm that could easily be avoided.
Fish do feel pain: Yes they do, science tells us
Fish do feel pain, so they do not like being hooked even if they're tossed back in the water
"Mice are lousy models for clinical studies": Animal models in biomedical research
Publication bias leads to major overstatement of efficacy. It's time to develop non-animal models that are more reliable and more ethical
Animal Abuse: The Need For a Registry
Much research has shown a close relationship between animal and human abuse.
Going to slaughter: Should animals hope to meet Temple Grandin?
The lives of slaughterhouse animals are marked by constant fear, terror, and anxiety and cannot be made humane by any acceptable definition of the word
Tool use in animals: Mammals, birds, and other animals make and use tools and do other "surprising" things
Mammals, birds, and other animals make and use tools and show many other complex patterns of behavior
Who's moral? We're not alone in the moral arena
We're not alone in the moral arena - a follow-up
Are nonhuman animals more moral than human animals? Yes they are
Humans and nonhuman animals are highly cooperative and empathic, more so than we've previously believed. And you donג€™t find mass warfare in animals as you do in humans so if you want to cast it that way, you could say animals are more moral.
Do Less Harm: Ants and a Simple New Years Resolution
Ants are amazing animals. Cutting off their legs isn't a mere "makeover." What did the ants think and feel about being mutilated?
Who we eat is moral question: Vegans have nothing to defend
Vegans don't have to apologize for, or defend, their humane and ethical choices of who to put in their mouth
Do animals have spiritual experiences? Yes they do
Available evidence says "Yes, animals can have spiritual experiences." We are not alone in the emotional, moral, or spiritual arenas.
Animal love: Hot-blooded elephants, guppy love, and love dogs
Love is a troubling, confusing, and mysterious emotion in humans but maybe less so in animals. People don't hesitate to say they love another individual - human or nonhuman - and then intentionally harm them.
Grief in animals: It's arrogant to think we're the only animals who mourn
There is no doubt that many animals experience rich and deep emotions. It's not a matter of if emotions have evolved in animals but why they have evolved as they have. We must never forget that our emotions are the gifts of our ancestors, our animal kin. We have feelings and so do other animals.
Morality in Tooth and Claw
Animals are "in." This might well be called the decade of the animal. Research on animal behavior has never been more vibrant and more revealing of the amazing cognitive, emotional, and moral capacities of a broad range of animals. It's becoming clear that animals have both emotional and moral intelligences.
Animal Emotions, Animal Sentience, Animal Welfare, and Animal Rights
Labeling an individual an animal "welfarist" or "rightist" connotes important messages about their views on animal exploitation and animal protection.
Factory Farming Without Animal Suffering Isn't Okay
Even if animals don't feel pain that's no reason to keep them on factory farms or even to eat them.
Animals Feelings and Fur: Who (Not What) We Wear is An Ethical Choice
If one doubts that animals have deep feelings consider what they endure as they become unnecessary clothing. It's easy to say that animals used for fur (and leather) don't like how they're treated.
Individual Animals Count: Speciesism Doesn't Work
Spare the chimps, boil the shrimps, shock the mice, kill the lice, eat the hogs, pith the frogs, blind the rabbits, what drives these habits? Much animal use is driven by the similarities rather than the differences between humans and other animals. Philosopher Lynne Sharpe points out that how we explore and ponder the similarities and differences among animals depends on how we define ourselves.
Conservation Psychology and Animal and Human Well-being
Our relationships with animals are frustrating, challenging, paradoxical and range all over the place. We love animals and harm them in a myriad of ways and many people wonder not only why we continue to do this but also what we can do to give animals the respect, compassion, and love they deserve. A relatively new and rapidly emerging field called conservation psychology can help us improve our relationships with other animals.
A fox, a cougar, and a funeral
Many animals have rich and deep emotional lives. A few years ago I was lucky enough to observe a funeral ritual by a female red fox. Others have also seen similar events. In 1947 a naturalist on the East Coast saw a male fox lick his mate as she lay dead, and the male also protected his mate quite vigorously.
Do Animals Know Who they Are?
Did David Graybeard, the chimpanzee who was first observed to use a tool by Jane Goodall, have any idea of who he was? Do elephants, dolphins, cats, magpies, mice, salmon, ants or bees know who they are? Was Jethro, my late companion dog, a self-conscious being? Do any of these animals have a sense of self? What do these animals make of themselves when they look in a mirror, see their reflection in water, hear their own or another's song or howl, or smell themselves and others? Is it possible that self-awareness "Wow that's me!" is a uniquely human trait?
Stalking, Hunting, Stress, and Emotion
Let's face it, "gone huntin'" and "gone fishin'" usually mean "gone killin'." But death is often a blessing, a relief from the pain and suffering of being stalked, crippled or mutilated, and dying agonizingly slowly. Some who hunt and fish truly enjoy the richness of the experience, but they don't want to make animals suffer. Perhaps if they fully realized the intense pain and suffering for which they're responsible while stalking, they'd forego the emotional rush of the experience. And, there are lots of ways to experience nature and have quality time with family and friends without intruding on, and stressing, injuring, or killing, other animals.
Animals' lives matter: Sentience and feelings count
Nonhuman animals have many of the same feelings we do and share the same neural structures that are important in processing emotions. So, why do we unrelentingly slaughter sentience? Animals experience contagious joy and the deepest of grief, they get hurt and suffer, and they take care of one another. They have a point of view on what happens to them, their families, and their friends.
Animal Emotions and Beastly Passions: We're Not the Only Emotional Beings
As a scientist who's studied animal emotions for more than 30 years, I consider myself very fortunate. I love what I do. I love learning about animals, and I love sharing what my colleagues and I discover with others. Whenever I observe or work with animals, I get to contribute to "science" and develop social relationships same time, and to me, there's no conflict between these activities. Emotions are the gifts of our ancestors. We have them and so do other animals. We must never forget that.
Anthropomorphic Double-Talk: Can Animals Be Happy But Not Unhappy? No!
Over the years Iג€™ve noticed a curious phenomena. If a scientist says that an animal is happy, no one questions it, but if a scientist says that an animal is unhappy, then charges of anthropomorphism are immediately raised. This "anthropomorphic double-talk" seems mostly aimed at letting humans feel better about themselves. It is very misleading.
Wild Justice and Moral Intelligence in Animals
Do animals have a sense of morality? Do they know right from wrong? In our forthcoming book, Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals, philosopher Jessica Pierce and I argue that the answer to both of these questions is a resounding "yes." "Ought" and "should" regarding what's right and what's wrong play important roles in the social interactions of animals, just as they do in ours.
Papers (with abstracts)
Some of these items have been found through Google Scholar.
Bekoff - Mammalian Species, 1977 - JSTOR Canis latrans Say, in James, 1823: 168.
Type locality Engineer Cantonment, about 19.2 km SE present town of Blair, Washington Co., Nebraska. Canis ochropus Eschscholtz (1829: 1). Type locality Sacramento River Valley near Sacramento, California. Lyciscus cagottis …
Mammalian dispersal and the ontogeny of individual behavioral phenotypes
Bekoff - American Naturalist, 1977 - JSTOR
Explanations of dispersal mechanisms in mammals that have stressed the importance of aggression by dominant (?) individuals as the immediate cause of the dispersal of less aggressive (more subordinate?) individuals are insufficient for explaining recent data collected on a variety of mammals. In fact, avoidance of social interaction at the time of dispersal is more characteristic of some species in which individuals emigrate. Studies that have investigated genetic correlates of dispersal in rodent populations that undergo regular cycles are few and have not provided any "causative" explanations. In various canids and rodents, behavioral interactions at the time of dispersal do not appear to provide the necessary stimuli for dispersal. These observations suggest that knowledge of the behavioral interactions that occur before dispersal may provide a key to understanding both interspecific and intraspecific differences in social organization and dispersal patterns. It is suggested that individuals who have the most difficulty interacting with littermates will not develop strong social ties with their siblings and will be the most likely individuals to disperse of their own accord. This hypothesis is testable by collecting data on the social interaction patterns of individual littermates throughout early development and during dispersal. In this way, the importance of a heretofore neglected factor in dispersal-namely, the relationship between the behavioral antecedents of dispersal and which individuals disperse at what age, and in what manner can be assessed.
Mammalian play: training for the unexpected
RC Newberry, Bekoff - Quarterly Review of Biology, 2001 - JSTOR
In this review, we present a new conceptual framework for the study of play behavior, a hitherto puzzling array of seemingly purposeless and unrelated behavioral elements that are recognizable as play throughout the mammalian lineage.Our major new functional hypothesis is that play enables animals to develop flexible kinematic and emotional responses to unexpected events in which they experience a sudden loss of control. Specifically, we propose that play functions to increase the versatility of movements used to recover from sudden shocks such as loss of balance and falling over, and to enhance the ability of animals to cope emotionally with unexpected stressful situations. To obtain this "training for the unexpected," we suggest that animals actively seek and create unexpected situations in play through self-handicapping; that is, deliberately relaxing control over their movements or actively putting themselves into disadvantageous positions and situations. Thus, play is comprised of sequences in which the players switch rapidly between well-controlled movements similar to those used in "serious" behavior and self-handicapping movements that result in temporary loss of control. We propose that this playful switching between in-control and out-of-control elements is cognitively demanding, setting phylogenetic and ontogenetic constraints on play, and is underlain by neuroendocrinological responses that produce a complex emotional state known as "having fun." Furthermore, we propose that play is often prompted by relatively novel or unpredictable stimuli, and is thus related to, although distinct from, exploration. We present 24 predictions that arise from our new theoretical framework, examining the extent to which they are supported by the existing empirical evidence and contrasting them with the predictions of four major alternative hypotheses about play. We argue that our "training for the unexpected" hypothesis can account for some previously puzzling kinematic, structural, motivational, emotional, cognitive, social, ontogenetic, and phylogenetic aspects of play. It may also account for a diversity of individual methods for coping with unexpected misfortunes.
The development of social interaction, play, and metacommunication in mammals: an ethological perspective
Bekoff - Quarterly Review of Biology, 1972 - JSTOR
Analysis of the dynamics of the ontogeny of social interaction is of critical importance in order that behavioral development may be comprehended in its own right, and the relationship between infant and adult behavior understood.In this review, general concepts of behavioral development in mammals are discussed and analyzed, and the many variables that are involved are considered. When it is impossible to control or observe the social interaction of the developing organism in its natural environment, captive subjects should be used. There is increasing evidence that results obtained with the latter are related to social organization observed in the wild. Play behavior is operationally defined on the basis of a comprehensive review of the literature and of personal observations of the social development of canids. The essential "need" for social interaction during infant life is discussed, as is the phenomenon of behavioral neoteny. The concept of metacommunication, and its relationship to social development are analyzed, and the role of ritualization in the evolution of metacommunicative signals is considered.
Social play and play-soliciting by infant canids
Bekoff - American Zoologist, 1974 - Soc Integ Comp Biol Abstract
The development of social interaction was studied in infant coyotes, beagles, and wolves. In this paper, social play behavior is discussed. Social play may be characterized in a number of ways: (i) actions from various contexts are incorporated into labile (unpredictable) temporal sequences; (ii) the play bout is typically preceded by a metacommunicative signal which indicates what follows is play; these signals are also observed during the bout; (iii) certain actions may be repeated and performed in an exaggerated manner; (iv) the activity appears pleasurable to the players. By comparing these three species, some insight into the dynamics of social play may be gained. Coyotes were the least successful in soliciting play. When they did play, 90% of all bouts had been previously solicited. Coyotes also tended to use the most successful signals most frequently. This trend was not observed in the beagles or the wolves. By taking into account the fact that infant coyotes are significantly more aggressive than either infant wolves or beagles, the differential ontogeny of social play can be explained. Some of the functions of social play in canids are discussed, and it is concluded that social play is a valid class of social behavior and lends itself nicely to quantitative study.
Play signals as punctuation: The structure of social play in canids
Bekoff - Behaviour, 132, 1995 - ingentaconnect.com
Actions called play signals have evolved in many species in which social play has been observed. Despite there being only few empirical demonstrations, it generally is accepted that play signals are important in the initiation ("I want to play") and maintenance ("I still want to play") of ongoing social play. In this study I consider whether a specific and highly stereotyped signal, the bow, is used to maintain social play in adult and infant domestic dogs, infant wolves, and infant coyotes.To answer this question the temporal placement of bows relative to actions that are also used in other contexts (dominance or predatory encounters) such as biting accompanied by rapid side-to-side shaking of the head was analyzed to determine if bows performed during ongoing social play are used to communicate the message "I want to play despite what I am going to do or just did - I still want to play". The non-random occurrence of bows supports the hypothesis that bows are used to maintain social play in these canids when actions borrowed from other contexts, especially biting accompanied by rapid side-to-side shaking of the head, are likely to be misinterpreted. (see html)
Life history patterns and the comparative social ecology of carnivores
Bekoff, Daniels, Gittleman - Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 1984 - JSTOR
The mammalian order Carnivora is characterized by a great range of behavioral, ecological, and morphological adaptations, as well as substantial intraspecific variability (ie behavioral scaling; see 324).
Social ecology and behavior of coyotes
Bekoff, Wells - Adv. Stud. Behav., 1986 - rockies.ca
Coyotes, Canis latrans, are medium-sized members of the order Carnivora (weight: about 8-20 kg; length: approximately 1-1.4 m) that range from as far south as Costa Rica and Panama (Vaughan, 1983), throughout the continental United States and Canada, to northern Alaska (Young and Jackson, 1951; Gier, 1968; Bekoff, 1977a, 1978a, 1982). Within, and perhaps outside of, these gener- al boundaries the range of coyotes appears to be expanding due primarily to their high reproductive potential, great dispersal ability, and opportunistic food habits (Vaughan, 1983). Coyote expansion has also been facilitated by the elimination of large competitors such as gray wolves (Canis lupus), with whom they usually compete unsuccessfully (Gier, 1975; Carbyn, 1982) and avoid (Fuller and Keith, 1981). Furthermore, coyotes show a marked ability to compensate for increased human exploitation (Knowlton, 1972; Sterling et al., 1983). They are able to exist and reproduce successfully in extremely diverse habitats ranging from sea level to 2000-3000 m, including deserts, open grasslands, broken and dense forests, and large cities such as Los Angeles, California (Howell, 1982; Wirtz et al., 1982). As Gier (1975) stressed, neither altitude, latitude, nor vegetation restricts their survival.
Intentional communication and social play: how and why animals negotiate and agree to play
Bekoff, Allen - Animal play: Evolutionary, comparative, and ג€¦, 1998 - books.google.com
To return to our immediate subject: the lower animals, like man, manifestly feel pleasure and pain, happiness and misery. Happiness is never better exhibited than by young animals, such as puppies, kittens, lambs, &c., when playing together, like our own children. Even insects play together, as has been described by that excellent observer, P. Huber, who saw ants chasing and pretending to bite each other, like so many puppies. (Charles Darwin 1871/1936, p.448)\\\\ Pierre Huber (1810, p. 148), in his book about the behavior of ants, claims that if one were not accustomed to treating insects as machines one would have trouble explaining the social behavior of ants and bees without attributing emotions to them. (see html)
Simulation analyses of space use: home range estimates, variability, and sample size
Bekoff, Mech - Behavior Research Methods, 1984 - Springer
Simulations of space use by animals were run to determine the relationship among home range area estimates, variability, and sample size (number of locations). As sample size increased, home range size increased asymptotically, whereas variability decreased among mean home range area estimates generated by multiple simulations for the same sample size. Our results suggest that field workers should ascertain between 100 and 200 locations in order to estimate reliably home range area. In some cases, this suggested guideline is higher than values found in the few published studies in which the relationship between home range area and number of locations is addressed. Sampling differences for small species occupying relatively small home ranges indicate that fewer locations may be sufficient to allow for a reliable estimate of home range. Intraspecific variability in social status (group member, loner, resident, transient), age, sex, reproductive condition, and food resources also have to be considered, as do season, habitat, and differences in sampling and analytical methods. Comparative data still are needed.
Vigilance, flock size, and flock geometry: information gathering by western evening grosbeaks (Aves, Fringillidae)
Bekoff - Ethology, 1995 - Wiley
Online Library Vigilance (scanning) and other behavior patterns were studied in free-ranging Evening Grosbeaks (Coccothraustes vespertinus) at feeders to assess how flock size and flock geometry influenced the behavior of individual birds. The present results indicate that the way in which individual grosbeaks are positioned with respect to one another effects many aspects of their behavior, especially when a flock contains four or more birds. Birds in a linear array who have difficulty seeing one another, when compared to individuals organized in a circle who can easily see one another, are (1) more vigilant, (2) change their head and body positions more often, (3) react to changes in group size more slowly, (4) show less coordination in head movements, and (5) show more variability in all measures. These differences in behavior can be explained from a cognitive ethological perspective that favors intentional or representational explanations. Specifically, the data suggest that individual grosbeaks, when scanning and moving about, are visually monitoring the flock in which they are feeding and gathering information about a number of variables including flock size, what others are doing, where others are, which individuals are present, phenotypic features of flock members, food resources, or the location of potential predators. Individuals likely use visual records of the behavior and perhaps the phenotypic features of others, and this information influences various aspects of their behavior. (see html)
Social communication in canids: Evidence for the evolution of a stereotyped mammalian display
Bekoff - Science, 1977 - sciencemag.org
The variability in the duration and form of the canid play bow was studied in infant coyotes, wolves, wolf-dog hybrids, beagles, and adult free-ranging dogs. Both duration and form showed marked stereotypy. It appears that the role of this context-specific social signal in the communication of play intention has been fostered by selection for "morphological" stereotypy.
Social play behaviour. Cooperation, fairness, trust, and the evolution of morality
Bekoff - Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2001 - ingentaconnect.com
Here I briefly discuss some comparative data on social play behaviour in hope of broadening the array of species in which researchers attempt to study animal morality. I am specifically concerned with the notion of ג€˜behaving fairly'. In the term ג€˜behaving fairlyג€™ I use as a working guide the notion that animals often have social expectations when they engage in various sorts of social encounters the violation of which constitutes being treated unfairly because of a lapse in social etiquette. I will cash this out below in my discussion of social play behaviour. (get pdf
Group size and vigilance in pronghorns
Lipetz, Bekoff - Zeitschrift Tierpsychologie, 1982 - Wiley Online Library
The relationship between group size and vigilance in pronghorn antelopes (Antilocapra americana) was examined. As group size increased, the proportion of vigilant pronghorns decreased. Individuals in larger groups foraged longer than those in smaller groups. However, only solitary individuals foraged for significantly less time than individuals in all other group sizes. Solitary females with fawns present foraged for significantly less time than solitary males; solitary females without fawns present had intermediate foraging times. Peripheral individuals appeared to be more wary than those in the center of groups; the first two individuals to lift their heads were more likely to be on the periphery. Individuals lifted their heads at random with respect to one another.
Biological function, adaptation, and natural design
Allan, Bekoff - Philosophy of Science, 1995 - JSTOR
Recently something close to a consensus about the best way to naturalize the notion of biological function appears to be emerging. Nonetheless, teleological notions in biology remain controversial.
An observational study of scent-marking in coyotes, Canis latrans
Wells, Bekoff - Animal Behaviour, 1981 - Elsevier
Urination and defaecation patterns of free-ranging coyotes (Canis latrans) were studied in the Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming, for two years. The vast majority of urinations by adult males and females were involved in marking, and differentiating between marking and elimination may not be necessary. Our results may be summarized as follows: (1) raised-leg urinations (RLU) performed by males were most frequently used in marking. (2) Females marked throughout the year using the squat (SQU) posture. (3) Snow tracking and reading snow sign resulted in a gross underestimate of the relative frequency of SQU's and a large overestimate in the relative frequency of defaecations (DEF) when compared to results obtained by direct observation. (4) There was sexual dimorphism for the contexts in which marking occurred. Overall, marking by males was associated with courtship and mating, with travelling, and with aggression. Marking by females was associated with the acquisition and possession of food and with the denning season. (5) Marking rates per coyote increased in groups larger than two animals. (6) RLU marking rates were greatest in areas of high intrusion when compared to denning areas and areas in which non-group members infrequently tresscent odours are important in orienting individuals in space but do not represent in and of themselves barriers to movement.
Kin recognition in vertebrates: what do we really know about adaptive value?
Blaustein, Bekoff, Byers, Daniel - Animal Behaviour, 1991 - Elsevier
The ability of an animal to discriminate between kin and non-kin (kin recognition) has been the subject of numerous recent investigations. Grafen (Anim. Behav., 1990, 39, 42ג€“54) recently reported that the evidence in support of kin recognition is weak and the data illustrating a preference for kin to associate in the laboratory may be more consistently explained as species recognition. It is suggested here, however, that in many cases it may be impossible to distinguish between species recognition and kin recognition, but in some cases, kin recognition seems apparent. It is also emphasized that very little is known about the adaptive value of kin recognition.
Ecology and social responsibility: the re-embodiment of science
Bradshaw, Bekoff - Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 2001 - Elsevier
As global environmental problems intensify, ecology is increasingly drawn into the social arena, and many ecologists feel caught between two competing models of science: a science apart from society and a science directly engaged with society. Interdisciplinary research and integrative theories are helping resolve this conflict by providing a common framework for both biophysical and social sciences. The incorporation of the human dimension into ecology is reversing a century-old trend of separation and reintegrating science into the human experience. (get pdf
Cognitive ethology: Slayers, skeptics, and proponents
Bekoff, Allen (1997) Cognitive Ethology: Slayers, Skeptics, and Proponents.
In this paper we identify three major groups of people (among some of whose members there are blurred distinctions) with different views on cognitive ethology, namely, slayers, skeptics, and proponents. Our analyses are based on our reading of some published reviews of Donald Griffin's works in cognitive ethology and other clearly stated opinions concerning animal cognition, in the sense of attribution of mental states and properties such as beliefs, awareness, and consciousness. Slayers Slayers deny any possibility of success in cognitive ethology. In our analyses of their published statements, we have found that they sometimes conflate the difficulty of doing rigorous cognitive ethological investigations with the impossibility of doing so. Slayers also often ignore specific details of work by cognitive ethologists and frequently mount philosophically motivated objections to the possibility of learning anything about animal cognition. Slayers do not believe that cognitive ethological approaches can lead, and have lead, to new and testable hypotheses. They often pick out the most difficult and least accessible phenomena to study (e.g. consciousness) and then conclude that because we can gain little detailed knowledge about this subject, we cannot do better in other areas. Slayers also appeal to parsimony in explanations of animal behavior, but they dismiss the possibility that cognitive explanations can be more parsimonious than noncognitive alternatives, and they deny the utility of cognitive hypotheses for directing empirical research. Skeptics Skeptics are often difficult to categorize. They are a bit more open-minded than slayers, and there seems to be greater variation among skeptical views of cognitive ethology than among slayers' opinions. However, some skeptics recognize some past and present successes in cognitive ethology, and remain cautiously optimistic about future successes; in these instances they resemble moderate proponents. Many skeptics appeal to the future of neuroscience, and claim that when we know all there is to know about nervous systems, cognitive ethology will be superfluous (Bekoff, 1993a; it should be noted that Griffin, 1992 also makes strong appeals to neuroscience, but he does not believe that increased knowledge in neurobiology will cause cognitive ethology to disappear). Like slayers, skeptics frequently conflate the difficulty of doing rigorous cognitive ethological investigations with the impossibility of doing so. Skeptics also find folk psychological, anthropomorphic, and cognitive explanations to be off-putting. Proponents Proponents recognize the utility of cognitive ethological investigations. They claim that there are already many successes and they see that cognitive ethological approaches have provided new and interesting data that also can inform and motivate further study. Proponents also accept the cautious use of folk psychological and cognitive explanations to build a systematic explanatory framework in conjunction with empirical studies, and do not find anecdotes or anthropomorphism to be thoroughly off-putting. Some proponents are as extreme in their advocacy of cognitive ethology as some slayers are in their opposition. But most proponents are willing to be critical of cognitive ethological research without dooming the field prematurely; if cognitive ethology is to die, it will be of natural causes and not as a result of hasty slayings. (see html
Population and social biology of free-ranging dogs, Canis familiaris
Daniels, Bekoff - Journal of Mammalogy, 1989 - JSTOR
Population size and density, age structure, survivorship patterns, sex ratios, and social organization of urban, rural, and feral dog (Canis familiaris) populations were examined in Cd. Juarez, Mexico (urban site) and on the Navajo reservation (rural and wild sites) between June 1983 and December 1984. Urban and rural dogs were less social than expected whereas feral dogs characteristically lived in packs. Seasonal variation in the structure of feral dog packs was influenced by reproduction, both directly (pups born into the pack) and indirectly (pregnant females may temporarily emigrate form the pack to give birth).
Social play behavior
Bekoff - Bioscience, 1984 - JSTOR
Recent studies clearly indicate that animal play is an important behavioral phenotype, and that detailed analyses of the phenomenon are useful for furthering our understanding of the evolution of social behavior and the interaction of phylogeny, ecology, and behavioral development. This article is concerned mainly with evolutionary, ecological, and developmental aspects of social play behavior in mammals.
Social, spacing, and cooperative behavior of the collared peccary, Tayassu tajacu
Byers, Bekoff - Journal of Mammalogy, 1981 - JSTOR
Social behavior of the collared peccary was studied on the lower, eastern slopes of the Mazatzal Mountains, Arizona. The social unit in this species is a cohesive herd, in which small inter-individual distances are maintained. Two conspicuous acts, one olfactory and one auditory, functioned to maintain close spacing. Social interactions were brief but tended to synchronize the activities of animals and also to bring them closer together. Amicable and neutral actions occurred far more frequently than agonistic interactions. Most agonistic behavior did not involve physical contact. Cooperative nursing, predator defense, and feeding occurred; all adults were tolerant of young, and males showed little overt competition over estrous females. The absence of sexual dimorphism, the 1:1 sex ratio within social groups, and the small, precocial litters in this species suggest an evolutionary history of pronounced sociality. Kin selection possibly was important in the evolution of social behavior in peccaries.
On aims and methods of cognitive ethology
Jamieson, Bekoff - Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association ֲ© 1992
Philosophy of Science Association In 1963 Niko Tinbergen published a paper, "On Aims and Methods of Ethology," dedicated to his friend Konrad Lorenz. Here Tinbergen defines ethology as "the biological study of behavior," and seeks to demonstrate "the close affinity between Ethology and the rest of Biology." Tinbergen identifies four major areas of ethology: causation, survival value, evolution, and ontogeny. Our goal is to attempt for cognitive ethology what Tinbergen succeeded in doing for ethology: to clarify its aims and methods, to distinguish some of its varieties, and to defend the fruitfulness of the research strategies that it has spawned.
Behavioral ecology of coyotes: social organization, rearing patterns, space use, and resource defense
Bekoff, Wells - Zeitschrift fֳ¼r Tierpsychologie, 1982 - Wiley Online Library
Two groups of coyotes in which genealogical relationships were known were studied in the Grand Teton National Park, outside of Jackson, Wyoming, U.S.A., from 1977ג€“1982. One group, a pack consisting of parents and some non-dispersing and non-breeding offspring, defended a territory and the food (mainly elk carrion) contained within it, especially during winter, and also had helpers at den sites (5 of 6 were males). The other group, a mated resident pair, all of whose young dispersed during the first year of life, did not defend a territory and never had helpers at dens. Delayed dispersal and retention of some offspring as helpers was related to the presence of an abundant, clumped, and defendable winter food resource. Dispersing yearlings suffered higher mortality than did non-dispersing individuals.
Litter size was the same for the pack and resident pair; litter size was not significantly correlated with number of adults in the group or with the number or percentage of pups that survived to 5ג€“6 months of age. The presence of pack helpers was not significantly correlated with pup survival, although there was a positive correlation (rs = +0.37) between the number of adults attending a den(s) and pup survival. Helpers rarely fed pups and their presence had no appreciable effect on juvenile weight. Helpers partook in den-sitting (pup-guarding), but they did not reduce the amount of time that parents spent at den sites. Helpers also actively initiated and took part in territorial and food defense. The proportion of times that pack members initiated defense was inversely related to intruder density (r = ג€“0.94).
Wild justice and fair play: cooperation, forgiveness, and morality in animals
Bekoff - Biology and Philosophy, 2004 - Springer
In this paper I argue that we can learn much about lsquowild justicersquo and the evolutionary origins of social morality ג€“ behaving fairly ג€“ by studying social play behavior in group-living animals, and that interdisciplinary cooperation will help immensely. In our efforts to learn more about the evolution of morality we need to broaden our comparative research to include animals other than non-human primates. If one is a good Darwinian, it is premature to claim that only humans can be empathic and moral beings. By asking the question lsquoWhat is it like to be another animal?rsquo we can discover rules of engagement that guide animals in their social encounters. When I study dogs, for example, I try to be a lsquodogocentristrsquo and practice lsquodogomorphism.rsquo My major arguments center on the following lsquobigrsquo questions: Can animals be moral beings or do they merely act as if they are? What are the evolutionary roots of cooperation, fairness, trust, forgiveness, and morality? What do animals do when they engage in social play? How do animals negotiate agreements to cooperate, to forgive, to behave fairly, to develop trust? Can animals forgive? Why cooperate and play fairly? Why did play evolve as it has? Does lsquobeing fairrsquo mean being more fit ג€“ do individual variations in play influence an individual''s reproductive fitness, are more virtuous individuals more fit than less virtuous individuals? What is the taxonomic distribution of cognitive skills and emotional capacities necessary for individuals to be able to behave fairly, to empathize, to behave morally? Can we use information about moral behavior in animals to help us understand ourselves? I conclude that there is strong selection for cooperative fair play in which individuals establish and maintain a social contract to play because there are mutual benefits when individuals adopt this strategy and group stability may be also be fostered. Numerous mechanisms have evolved to facilitate the initiation and maintenance of social play to keep others engaged, so that agreeing to play fairly and the resulting benefits of doing so can be readily achieved. I also claim that the ability to make accurate predictions about what an individual is likely to do in a given social situation is a useful litmus test for explaining what might be happening in an individual''s brain during social encounters, and that intentional or representational explanations are often important for making these predictions. (get pdf
Reflective ethology, applied philosophy, and the moral status of animals
Bekoff, Jamieson - Perspectives in ethology, 1991 - agris.fao.org
Currently there is an unprecedented interest in ethological studies of nonhuman animals. Much of this interest is motivated by a desire to learn more about animals themselves. For scientists assuming this stance, a secondary goal is to use this knowledge to assess the place of humans in the natural order of things, stressing continuity or discontinuity depending on one's views. Others, however, study animals primarily to apply this knowledge to human behavior. We argue that behavioral research demands the rigorous application of methods that are minimally harmful to the animals being studied. We argue for a moderate, but rigorous and uncompromising, position on issues of animal welfare. A number of areas that in our opinion require careful scrutiny before research should be permitted are identified. It is a privilege to study nonhumans even in what seem to be noninterventive situations, and we should reflect on what we are doing by empathizing with the animals that are being studied. From this point of view, ethological interest and philosophical concerns with morality, mind, and science complement one another. Thus, ethology and philosophy should inform one another with respect to the way in which animals are studied, and how data are analyzed, applied, and disseminated.
Animal emotions: exploring passionate natures
Bekoff - BioScience, 2000 - BioOne
Current interdisciplinary research provides compelling evidence that many animals experience such emotions as joy, fear, love, despair, and griefג€”we are not alone. (get pdf
Avian play: comparative evolutionary and developmental trends
Ortega, Bekoff - The Auk, 1987 - JSTOR
Classified 26 extant avian orders as having species with either primarily altricial or precocial young. 10 of the 12 of these orders in which play has reportedly occurred were comprised of altricial species. Findings are related to the development of the avian forebrain.
Predation by wild coyotes: behavioral and ecological analyses
Wells, Bekoff - Journal of Mammalogy, 1982 - JSTOR
Predatory behavior of coyotes (Canis latrans) was studied between 1977 and 1980 in the Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming. Major prey were voles (Microtus spp.), Uinta ground squirrels (Spermophilus armatus), pocket gophers (Thomomys talpoides), and grasshoppers (Locustidae). Coyotes typically rushed and ran down squirrels; when hunting mice, coyotes pounced and stabbed at them with their forepaws. Sequence structure was similar, though sequences directed to squirrels were significantly more variable. When juvenile coyotes hunted mice, sequences were similar to those performed by adults that hunted mice. Adults and juveniles were about equally successful. The size of prey last eaten influenced the interval until the next search was initiated; the larger the prey, the longer the interval. However, the time interval since the last capture and the outcome (capture or failure) of the next predatory attempt were not correlated. Durations of search, orient, and stalk were longer in short (< 10 cm) grass than in tall grass; stalk, orient, and total durations also were more variable in short grass. Coyotes that hunted in short grass were more successful. Durations of all acts were shorter and coyotes were more successful in snow less than 10 cm deep than in deeper snow. Mean orient and total durations were more variable in deep snow. Height of ground-cover apparently affected coyote movements and the way in which cues from prey were perceived. Local wind conditions did not affect capture success. Coyotes were least successful when they hunted mice and more successful when they hunted squirrels. More time was spent searching and stalking squirrels.
Predicting flock vigilance from simple passerine interactions: modelling with cellular automata
Bahr, Bekoff - Animal behaviour, 1999 - Elsevier
Vigilance in flocks can be described and modelled as a plausible set of local interactions between neighbouring birds. Each bird in the modelled flock chooses to feed or to scan based solely on whether or not its neighbours are feeding or scanning. This simple model has the ability both to reproduce observations that have not been previously explained and to predict flock behaviours that might be confirmed with future field studies. Examples include simulations showing decreased vigilance with increased flock size (as observed in the field), greater time spent scanning when obstacles such as trees are present (as observed) and a coordinated feed/scan pattern (that is predicted to become increasingly coordinated when the birds look up from feeding more frequently). The numerical model also predicts that flock geometry influences vigilance. If two flocks are the same size, individuals in the one with the larger perimeter will spend more time scanning. This prediction could be tested with field studies and already has been observed empirically for two limiting cases: birds arranged in a line (high perimeters, high scan times) and birds in a circle (lower perimeters, lower scan times). As demonstrated by its multiple successes, cellular models of this type are a powerful new approach to understanding bird flock behaviours.
What Does Kin Recognition Mean?
Byers, Bekoff - Ethology, 1986 - Wiley Online Library
The phenomenon of kin recognition has gained much attention, because of HAMILTON'S (1964) now famous prediction, that an animal ideally should base its treatment of another conspecific on the degree to which it is related to that individual. Most authors working in this field have been careful to state that, in studying "recognition", they do not imply any kind of cognition. Nevertheless, the way in which the word "recognition" is used in many papers, implies, if not cognition, at least some kind of as yet unobserved neural activity.
Reflections on animal selves
Bekoff, Sherman - Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 2004 - Elsevier
Is self-cognizance a uniquely human attribute, or do other animals also have a sense of self? Although there is considerable interest in this question, answers remain elusive. Progress has been stymied by misunderstandings in terminology, a focus on a narrow range of species, and controversies over key concepts, experimental paradigms and interpretations of data. Here, we propose a new conceptual and terminological framework, emphasizing that degrees of self-cognizance differ among animals because of the cognitive demands that their species-specific social structures and life-history characteristics have placed upon them over evolutionary time. We suggest that the self-cognizance of an organism falls at a point on a continuum of social complexity and conscious involvement.
Cognitive ethology and the explanation of nonhuman animal behavior
Bekoff - 1995 - cogprints.org
In this paper I attempt to provide a convincing case for the importance of cognitive ethological investigations for advancing our knowledge of animal cognition. Cognitive ethology is broadly defined as the evolutionary and comparative study of nonhuman animal (hereafter animal) thought processes, consciousness, beliefs, or rationality, and is an area in which research is informed by different types of investigations and explanations. After (1) a brief discussion of the agenda of cognitive ethology, in which three different views of cognitive ethology are considered as is the relationship of cognitive ethology as a science to other branches of science, I (2) argue that folk psychological explanations and empirical data both are important to cognitive ethological research and conclude that the former are not as weak and as dispensable as some claim; (3) appeal to some case studies in recent analyses of social play behavior and antipredatory behavior (vigilance against potential predators) to make the point that folk psychology works well with empirical data and to provide examples in which the cognitive ethological perspective has proven to be a good heuristic; and (4) make some suggestions for future research. Cognitive ethology is alive, has a bright future, and has much to gain from a broad interdisciplinary perspective. Comparative approaches to cognitive science are very fruitful and have much to offer. (see html
Physical development in coyotes (Canis latrans), with a comparison to other canids
Bekoff, Jamieson - Journal of Mammalogy, 1975 - JSTOR
Few detailed data are available on physical development in members of the family Canidae and there are few published papers that include information on the coyote (Snow, 1967; Gier, 1968; Bekoff, 1974a).
An Observational Study of Coyote (Canis latrans) Scentmarking and Territoriality in Yellowstone National Park
Allen, Bekoff, Crabtree - Ethology, 1999 - Wiley Online Library
Free-ranging coyotes (Canis latrans) living in neighboring packs were observed in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, from Jan. to May 1997. Through direct observation, we recorded the location of coyote scent marks and information regarding the identity of the marking animal. Patterns of scent-marking were then analyzed spatially and demographically. All of the evidence from the present study supports a strong relationship between scent-marking and territoriality in these coyotes, and all predictions were met. A preponderance of scent marks was found in the periphery of territories. Most of those marks were raised-leg urinations (RLUs) and forward-lean urinations (FLUs), postures associated very strongly with males, particularly dominant individuals. Ground-scratching was also closely associated with these types of marks and was performed more on the periphery of territories than in the interior. A complete lack of overlap of adjacent territories and very limited overlap of movements into territories fits classic definitions of territory and home range. Scent-marking seems to be strongly associated with the establishment and maintenance of these boundaries between packs of coyotes competing for the same resources in a limited space.
Intentional icons: Towards an evolutionary cognitive ethology
Bekoff, Allen - Ethology, 1992 - Wiley Online Library
In most species in which social play has been observed, play-soliciting signals have evolved. These social signals appear to be important in communicating play intention. Here, using the work of Ruth Millikan as a working guide and canid play bows as an example, we argue that (i) some play signals may be simple intentional icons and (ii) senders and receivers are cooperating devices, in that the disposition of senders to produce play-soliciting signals and the disposition of receivers of play signals to respond appropriately to play invitations, have evolved together. Millikan's views of social communication are difficult to render and are virtually untested. However, her stance, while philosophically controversial, is somewhat consistent with early ethological views of social communication. Thus, in combination with classical ethological positions, Millikan's position could serve as a useful guide not only to inform and motivate future empirical research in cognitive ethology, but also to stimulate ethologists to reconsider, in innovative ways, nonhuman animal cognition. To reject the empirical utility of Millikan's theory because of its difficulty or on philosophical grounds would be premature and would represent a confusion of empirical with philosophical issues.
Precopulatory and copulatory behavior in coyotes
Bekoff, Diamond Journal of Mammalogy Vol. 57, No. 2 (May, 1976), pp. 372-375
Little is known about the behavioral aspects of reproductive biology in coyotes (Canis latrans), but there is a considerable amount of information concerning reproductive anatomy and physiology (see Bekoff, 1974, 1976; Diamond, 1976, for reviews).
Social play in coyotes, wolves, and dogs
Bekoff - BioScience, 1974 - JSTOR
In this paper, the development of social play behavior in coyotes, wolves, and beagles is discussed, as are the ways in which "play intention" is communicated and a "play mood" maintained. Coyotes were observed to fight more and play less than wolves or beagles of the same age, and the differential development of social behavior in these canids may play some role in determining the later species-typical social organization observed in adults.
Motor training and physical fitness: Possible shortand longterm influences on the development of individual differences in behavior
Bekoff - Developmental Psychobiology, 1988 - Wiley Online Library
Individual differences in the behavior of young and adult animals have been documented in diverse species. Possible sources of such variation are of interest to scientists representing many disciplines, including behavior, genetics, and population and evolutionary biology. Two variables that may be important in the ontogeny and maintenance of behavioral differences are (1) individual physical (aerobic and anaerobic) fitness and (2) possible genetic variations underlying individual abilities to engage in, and to benefit from, motor training early in life. The differential development of aerobic and anaerobic capacities may play a significant role in the ontogeny of individual differences in the performance of various motor skills. There also may be short- and long-term consequences of variations in physical fitness that influence individual abilities to perform energy demanding acts during aggressive encounters, interactions with prey or predators, and courtship and breeding. Genetic studies of a limited number of species indicate that specific genotypes are correlated with individual variations in motor performance, even among conspecifics. Multidisciplinary research concerning possible relationships among the ontogeny of physical fitness, genetics, and variations in behavior is needed. Recent work on the relationship between individual differences in physical fitness and variations in the behavior of adult cold-blooded vertebrates provides a good model for comparative research on warm-blooded species.
Cognitive ethology and the treatment of non-human animals: How matters of mind inform matters of welfare.
Bekoff - Animal Welfare, 1994 - psycnet.apa.org
Anthropocentric claims about the ways in which non-human animals interact in their social and non-social worlds are often used to influence decisions on how animals can or should be used by humans in various sorts of activities. Thus, the treatment of individuals is often tightly linked to how they are perceived with respect to their ability to perform behavior patterns that suggest that they can thinkג€”have beliefs, desires, or make plans and have expectations about the future. This article reviews some basic issues in the comparative study of animal minds and discusses how matters of mind are related to matters of welfare and well-being. Much comparative research still needs to be done before any stipulative claims can be made about how an individual's cognitive abilities can be used to influence decisions about how she or he should be treated. The author stresses the importance of (1) subjectivity and common sense along with the use of empirical data in making decisions about animal welfare, and (2) viewing subjective assessments in the same critical light that is used to evaluate supposedly objective scientific facts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
Wild justice, cooperation, and fair play: Minding manners, being nice, and feeling good
Bekoff - The origins and nature of sociality, 2004 - mendeley.com
(From the chapter) In this chapter I consider various aspects of the evolution of cooperation and fairness using social play behavior in animals, especially mammals, as my exemplar of an activity in which one would expect to see ongoing negotiations of cooperation and agreements to behave fairly because the social dynamics of play require that players agree to play and not to fight or to mate with one another. I am specifically concerned with the notion of "behaving fairly." By "behaving fairly" I use as a working guide the notion that animals often have social expectations when they engage in various sorts of social encounters the violation of which constitutes being treated unfairly because of a lapse in social etiquette. I conclude that social play might be a "foundation of fairness." I also argue that it is through social cooperation that groups (communities) are built from individuals agreeing to work in harmony with other individuals. Whether or not individuals lose various "freedoms" when balanced against the benefits that accrue when they work for the "good of a group" is unknown and needs to be studied more carefully in various species. Further, based on recent research on the neurobiology of human cooperation, I argue that "being fair" may feel good for animals as well. Lastly, I stress that in our efforts to learn more about the evolution of social morality we need to broaden our comparative research to include animals other than nonhuman primates. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)
Quantitative analyses of the ontogeny of predatory behaviour in coyotes, Canis latrans
Vincent, Bekoff - Animal Behaviour Volume 26, Part 1, February 1978, Pages 225ג€“231
Four infant coyotes (Canis latrans) were studied in order to describe quantitatively the development of predatory behaviour. Our results indicated that prior play and agonistic experience had virtually no effect on later predatory success. Also, there was no relationship between an individual's social rank and its prey-killing ability. Latency to kill was shortened when animals were tested in, pairs and hunger level was not related to latency to kill. The results are discussed with respect to current functionalist theories of play behaviour and Leyhausen's concept of the relative hierarchy of moods. The practice theory of play should be reconsidered in light of the results of this and other recent studies.
Behavioural budgeting by wild coyotes: the influence of food resources and social organization
Bekoff, Wells - Animal Behaviour Volume 29, Issue 3, August 1981, Pages 794ג€“801
Daytime behavioural budgets of coyotes (Canis latrans) living in the Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming, were analysed in order to determine how activity patterns were influenced by food resources and social organization. In winter, coyotes rested more and hunted less than in other seasons. Pack-living coyotes rested more and travelled less than resident pairs or solitary residents or transients during winter months when the major food resource was ungulate (predominantly elk, Cervus canadensis) carrion. A mated female living in a pack rested significantly more and travelled significantly less than a mated female living only with her mate (as a resident pair) during winter. We predict that in times of food shortage, pack-living coyotes, and particularly reproductive females, might be at an advantage when compared to resident pairs and solitary individuals.
Play and the evolution of fairness: a game theory model
Dugatkin, Bekoff - Behavioural Processes Volume 60, Issue 3, 31 January 2003, Pages 209-214
Bekoff [J. Consci. Stud. 8 (2001) 81] argued that mammalian social play is a useful behavioral phenotype on which to concentrate in order to learn more about the evolution of fairness. Here, we build a game theoretical model designed to formalize some of the ideas laid out by Bekoff, and to examine whether fair strategies can in fact be evolutionarily stable. The models we present examine fairness at two different developmental stages during an individual's ontogeny, and hence we create four strategies fair at time 1/fair at time 2, not fair at time 1 not fair at time 2, fair at time 1/not fair at time 2, not fair at time 1/fair at time 2. Our results suggest that when considering species where fairness can be expressed during two different developmental stages, acting fairly should be more common than never acting fairly. In addition, when no one strategy was evolutionarily stable, we found that all four strategies we model can coexist at evolutionary equilibrium. Even in the absence of an overwhelming database from which to test our model, the general predictions we make have significant implications for the evolution of fairness.
Cognitive ethology, vigilance, information gathering, and representation: Who might know what and why?
M Bekoff - Behavioural processes, 1995 - Elsevier
Cognitive ethology, a relatively new interdisciplinary and integrative science, is under attack with respect to its scientific status. However, there also are strong supporters of research in this area. In this paper I consider (1) some of the topics in which cognitive ethologists are interested, (2) possible connections between cognitive analyses of social behavior and philosophical concepts including intentionality and representation, (3) recent work on vigilance or scanning behavior in highly social birds, Evening Grosbeaks (Coccothraustes vespertinus), that benefits from taking a cognitive perspective, and (4) what may be gained by taking a cognitive approach to the study of social behavior and what may be lost by not doing so. My study of vigilance indicates that the way in which individuals are positioned with respect to one another influences their behavior, and that when a flock contains four or more birds there are large changes in scanning and other patterns of behavior that may be related to how grosbeaks attempt to gather information about other flock members. When birds are arranged in a circular array so that they can see one another easily compared to when they are arranged in a line that makes visual monitoring of flock members more difficult, birds who have difficulty seeing one another are (i) more vigilant, (ii) change their head and body positions more often, (iii) react to changes in group size more slowly, (iv) show less coordination in head movements, and (v) show more variability in all measures. These differences in behavior argue against the pooling of data collected on individuals feeding in different geometric arrays. The variations in behavior also may say something about if and how individuals attempt visually to represent their group to themselves–how they form, store, and use records of the behavior of others to inform their own future behavior. (see html)
Allen, Bekoff - The Blackwell Companion to 2007 - Wiley Online Library
There are many reasons for philosophical interest in nonhuman animal (hereafter animal) consciousness. First, if philosophy often begins with questions about the place of humans in nature, one way humans have attempted to locate themselves is by comparison and contrast with those things in nature most similar to themselves, i.e., other animals. Second, the problem of determining whether animals are conscious stretches the limits of knowledge and scientific methodology (beyond breaking point, according to some). Third, the question of whether animals are conscious beings or mere automata, as Cartesians would have it, is of considerable moral significance given the dependence of modern societies on mass farming and the use of animals for biomedical research. Fourth, while theories of consciousness are frequently developed without special regard to questions about animal consciousness, the plausibility of such theories has sometimes been assessed against the results of their application to animal consciousness.
Intentionality, social play, and definition
Allen, Bekoff - Biology and Philosophy Volume 9, Number 1, 63-74
Social play is naturally characterized in intentional terms. An evolutionary account of social play could help scientists to understand the evolution of cognition and intentionality. Alexander Rosenberg (1990) has argued that if play is characterized intentionally or functionally, it is not a behavioral phenotype suitable for evolutionary explanation. If he is right, his arguments would threaten many projects in cognitive ethology. We argue that Rosenberg''s arguments are unsound and that intentionally and functionally characterized phenotypes are a proper domain for ethological investigation.
Postnatal neural ontogeny: Environmentdependent and/or environmentexpectant?
Bekoff, Fox - Developmental psychobiology, 1972 - Wiley Online Library
Recent advances in the study of postnatal neural development, an adaptive process dependent on an intimate interplay of both genetic and environmental factors, are reviewed in mouse, rat, cat, and man. Since developmental neuroanatomical studies provide a useful and relevant way of approaching the much belabored and controversial nature-nurture issue, behaviorally oriented workers should be made aware of the heuristic value of the field as both an impetus and a guide for future research, and as a means for providing explanations for observations unexplainable at the ethological or behavioral descriptive level. The conclusion reached in this review is that postnatal neural ontogeny is both environment-dependent and environment-expectant. To divide the process into mutually exclusive halves is indefensible.
The variability of some motor components of social play and agonistic behaviour in infant eastern coyotes, Canis latrans var.
Hill, Bekoff - Animal Behaviour, 1977 - Elsevier
The duration and stereotypy (in terms of duration) of three actions, stand-overs (SO), general-bites (GB), and scruff-bites (SB), were measured during social play and agonistic interactions in infant eastern coyotes (Canis latrans). The rate of biting was also calculated. We found: (1) SO's and GB's lasted a significantly shorter time during play; (2) when performed during playful interactions, all three acts showed more stereotypy; (3) there was no significant difference between the rates of occurrence of biting during the two situations. A discussion of the exaggerated nature of play behaviour is presented, particularly concerning the form of the motor actions that are used during this activity.
Nonrandom nest-site selection in Evening Grosbeaks
Bekoff, AC Scott - Condor, 1987 - JSTOR
Nest-site selection was studied in Evening Grosbeaks (Coccothraustes vespertinus) living in two areas (Eldora and Wild Basin) of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. One hundred and twenty-nine original variables were reduced to compare nesting (NS; n = 49) and nonnesting control (NNS; n = 10) sites using multivariate and univariate statistics. Overall, four of the five variables best discriminating between NS and NNS were measures of habitat density (deciduous stem intersect, deciduous canopy cover) or shrub dispersion (large clumps, irregular matrix). Although there were distinct differences between the two NS with respect to shrub dispersion, canopy cover, and the relative proportion of major vegetation, NS were more open than NNS within the same area. In both Eldora and Wild Basin, grosbeaks showed a preference for ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa) in which to build high camouflaged nests, close to the main tree trunk, predominantly with southern or northern exposures. We suggest that these nest locations provide (1) high visibility for detection of potential predators, (2) the opportunity for grosbeaks to see their nests from a distance, (3) easy access for departure and arrival, (4) aid in thermoregulation, and (5) protection from wind and rain and increased nest stability. (get pdf
Aggression, dominance, and social organization in Evening Grosbeaks
Bekoff, Scott - Ethology, 1989 - Wiley Online Library
Relationships between social behavior and ecology are of great interest to ethologists and behavioral ecologists. For example, limited comparative data have already resulted in the development of broad explanations for possible interrelationships between patterns of social interaction and food supply in diverse species. Here, we analyzed agonistic behavior, dominance relationships, and social organization in evening grosbeaks (Coccothraustes vespertinus) living near Boulder, Colorado U.S.A. We found marked seasonal variations in mean rates of agonistic behavior, mean sex ratios, and mean flock sizes. Rates of agonistic encounters were positively correlated with group size and the number of adult males present. Generally, adult males dominated (>>) adult females, young males, and young females; young males >> adult and young females; and young females >> adult females. Adult males were most aggressive during the beginning of the breeding season.
The formation of large flocks of grosbeaks most likely facilitates locating the dispersed and locally irruptive food on which these birds depend, and may also confer protection against predators. We suggest that flocks of grosbeaks composed of mainly transient birds are maintained by (1) low rates of noncontact aggressive encounters and (2) the rare occurrence of potentially disruptive fights, both of which appear to result from birds' being able to assess the likely outcome of an encounter with another animal using phenotypic cues such as wing length, weight, and especially plumage. The ability to predict the outcome of an aggressive encounter may also be important in the integration of young birds into flocks.
Time, energy and play
Bekoff, Byers - Animal behaviour, 1992 - psycnet.apa.org
Makes suggestions for evaluating the amount of time and energy young mammals devote to social and nonsocial play. Suggestions include considering how the percentage of energy expended in play is expressed and expressing the cost of play in terms of alternative uses for the time and energy invested in play. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
Spatial and temporal resource use by feral and abandoned dogs
Daniels, Bekoff - Ethology, 1989 - Wiley Online Library
We compared spatial and temporal patterns of resource use by feral and abandoned domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) on the Navajo reservation in Arizona and New Mexico. Community dumps provide locally abundant food resources utilized both by feral dogs and dogs abandoned at the dump site. Although population parameters were much the same for feral and abandoned dogs, the use of space varied distinctly and reflected behavioral differences in the way each population responded to the absence of human control, the need to acquire food, and the developmental state of pups. Temporal use of resources by feral dogs varied seasonally with the age of pups in one pack, but not in a second pack. Priority of access to local resources may be influenced by aggressive interactions among dogs at a dump. Barking may serve to warn dogs already present at a dump that competitors have arrived.
Naturalizing anthropomorphism: behavioral prompts to our humanizing of animals
Horowitz, Bekoff - Journal of The Interactions of People ג€¦, 2007 - ingentaconnect.com
Anthropomorphism is the use of human characteristics to describe or explain nonhuman animals. In the present paper, we propose a model for a unified study of such anthropomorphizing. We bring together previously disparate accounts of why and how we anthropomorphize and suggest a means to analyze anthropomorphizing behavior itself. We introduce an analysis of bouts of dyadic play between humans and a heavily anthropomorphized animal, the domestic dog. Four distinct patterns of social interaction recur in successful dog-human play: directed responses by one player to the other, indications of intent, mutual behaviors, and contingent activity. These findings serve as a preliminary answer to the question, "What behaviors prompt anthropomorphisms?" An analysis of anthropomorphizing is potentially useful in establishing a scientific basis for this behavior, in explaining its endurance, in the design of "lifelike" robots, and in the analysis of human interaction. Finally, the relevance of this developing scientific area to contemporary debates about anthropomorphizing behavior is discussed. (get pdf
Vole population cycles: kin-selection or familiarity?
Bekoff - Oecologia, 1981 - Springer
The recent paper by Charnov and Finerty (1980) on Vole population cycles offers a unique view of population fluctuations in these rodents. These authors invoke kin-selection as a factor that may contribute to vole cycles …
Behavioral taxonomy in canids by discriminant function analyses
Bekoff, Hill - Science, 1975 - psycnet.apa.org
Applied the technique of linear discriminant function analysis to behavioral data that were collected on infant canids. The method was first tested with a known cross between a wolf and a dog and proved to be valid, indicating that quantitative analyses of behavioral phenotypes can be used in assessing taxonomic relationships. In addition, the controversial New England canid was determined by behavioral analysis to be more closely related to coyotes than to wolves. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
The social deprivation paradigm: Who's being deprived of what?
Bekoff - Developmental Psychobiology, 1976 - Wiley Online Library
Ecological analyses of nesting success in evening grosbeaks
Bekoff, AC Scott - Oecologia, 1989 - Springer
We studied the nesting success of Evening Grosbeaks (Coccothraustes vespertinus) inhabiting two areas of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado from 1983ג€“1987. Sixty-four nests were followed during building, incubating, brooding, and fledging; 54.7% were successful (young fledged). The largest number of nests failed during incubation. Nests started later were more successful than nests begun earlier in the season. Failure was most likely due to severe weather, abandonment during building, or predation. Specific habitat characteristics of grosbeak nesting sites and where nests were placed in trees were consistently associated with nesting success. Successful nests, when compared with nests that failed, were: (1) built in more open areas characterized by dispersed vegetation and a higher minimum canopy, (2) oriented in more southerly directions, (3) built closer to the main trunk of the nest tree, and (4) built in larger trees. Current ideas about whether or not birds actually select nest-sites are briefly discussed. We conclude that some grosbeaks ldquooptimally selectrdquo nest sites where the likelihood of producing fledglings is higher than in other areas.
Animal passions and beastly virtues: Cognitive ethology as the unifying science for understanding the subjective, emotional, empathic, and moral lives of animals
Bekoff - Zygonֲ®, 2006 - Wiley Online Library
In this essay, my response to four papers that were presented at the 2004 annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in a session devoted to my research on animal behavior and cognitive ethology, I stress the importance of interdisciplinary research and collaboration for coming to terms with various aspects of animal behavior and animal cognition. I argue that we have much to learn from other animals concerning a set of big questions including who we are in the grand scheme of things, the role science (science sense) plays in our understanding of the world in which we live, what it means to know something, what some other ways of knowing are and how they compare to what we call science, and the use of anecdotes and anthropomorphism to inform studies of animal behavior. I ask, Are other minds really all that private and inaccessible? Can a nonhuman animal be called a person? What does the future hold if we continue to dismantle the only planet we live on and persecute the other animal beings with whom we are supposed to coexist? I argue that cognitive ethology is the unifying science for understanding the subjective, emotional, empathic, and moral lives of animals, because it is essential to know what animals do, think, and feel as they go about their daily routines in the company of their friends and when they are alone. It is also important to learn why both the similarities and differences between humans and other animals have evolved. The more we come to understand other animals, the more we will appreciate them as the amazing beings they are, and the more we will come to understand ourselves. (get pdf
Nesting behaviour of Abert squirrels (Sciurus aberti)
Bekoff - Ethology, 1994 - Wiley Online Library
Nesting behaviour of Abert squirrels (Sciurus aberti), including site selection and use, was studied in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder County, Colorado. Only females were observed building nests, although both males and females maintained nests once they were built. Communal nesting by Abert squirrels was rare, but the majority of observed nest sharings involved unrelated male and female pairs. A total of 14 variables were used to evaluate the nests (n = 49) inhabited by Abert squirrels from May 1988 to Jun. 1991. All nests were located in Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) trees. The majority of nests were constructed of twigs and located in the upper one-third of the canopy, near the trunk, on the south-east side of the tree. Trees with nests were predominantly located in closed stands. Nest trees, when compared with unused control trees that were equally accessible to squirrels, were significantly different from control trees in five of nine variables. Nest tree crowns intertwined with a larger number of adjacent tree crowns than did control tree crowns. Nest trees were also significantly taller than control trees, but subdominant to adjacent trees within a stand. Seasonal and diurnal patterns of nest use indicate that Abert squirrels do not choose nest locations on the south-east sides of trees to facilitate behavioural thermoregulation. Rather, Abert squirrels select nest site locations to (1) maximize accessibility and (2) maximize structural stability which may provide protection from wind and rain.
Playing with Play What Can We Learn About Cognition, Negotiation, and Evolution?
Bekoff - The evolution of mind, 1997 - cogprints.org
In these papers we mainly consider how analyses of social play in nonhuman animals (hereafter animals) can inform inquiries about the evolution of cognitive mechanisms. Social play is a good behavioral phenotype on which to concentrate for when animals play they typically perform behavior patterns that are used in other contexts (e.g. predation, aggression, or reproduction). Thus, individuals need to be able to tell one another that they do not want to eat, fight with, or mate with the other individual(s), but rather, they want to play with them. In most species (primarily mammals) in which play has been observed, specific actions have evolved that are used to initiate or to maintain play. Furthermore, sequences of play usually differ from nonplay sequences (within species) and self-handicapping has also been observed, in which, for example, dominant individuals allow themselves to be dominated only in the context of play. In our consideration of how play is initiated and maintained, we discuss issues including the evolution of play, the ecology of play, the sorts of information that are shared during play, what cognitive psychologists who study humans can learn from cognitive ethologists who study other animals, and what play can tell us about the emergence of mind in animals. These essays draw on literature from ethology, psychology, and philosophy. (see html
Teleology, function, design and the evolution of animal behaviour
Bekoff, Allen - Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 1995 - Elsevier
Concerns about teleological language in evolutionary biology focus on the notions of function, design and adaptation. Accounts that naturalize these ideas are currently popular. In keeping with recent developments in evolutionary theory and philosophy of biology, three naturalistic analyses of function ג€” current utility, historical function, and functions as capacities ג€” should be differentiated. All have roles to play in biology, although the historical conception seems the most central to evolutionary theory. While rarely distinguished from function, design should be regarded as an extension of historical function. We consider the utility of this distinction for the study of behaviour.
Observations of scent-marking and discriminating self from others by a domestic dog (Canis familiaris): tales of displaced yellow snow
Bekoff - Behavioural processes, 2001 - Elsevier
Little is known about what stimuli trigger urinating or scent-marking in domestic dogs, Canis familiaris, or their wild relatives. While it is often suggested that the urine of other animals influences urinating and scent-marking patterns in canids, this has not been verified experimentally. To investigate the role of urine in eliciting urinating and marking, in this pilot study I moved urine-saturated snow (yellow snow) from place-to-place during five winters to compare the responses of an adult male domestic dog, Jethro, to his own and others' urine. Jethro spent less time sniffing his own urine than that of other males or females, and that while his interest in his own urine waned with time it remained relatively constant for other individuals' urine. Jethro infrequently urinated over or sniffed and then immediately urinated over (scent-marked) his own urine. He marked over the urine of other males more frequently than he marked over females' urine. The method used here can be extended to other species for which experimental data are lacking. Though based on one dog, these novel data may further our knowledge of the role of scent-marking in territorial behavior and of sex differences in territory acquisition and maintenance.
Animals in science: some areas revisited
Bekoff, Gruen, Townsend, Rollin - Animal behaviour, 1992 - Elsevier
Science is a human activity, and as such, it is not value-free. Not only do subjective views permeate all types of science, they also prevail in many moral debates concerning how animals are used for primarily anthropocentric ends, even when formal philosophical argument is put forth. Four issues are addressed that demand closer attention by those who are seriously engaged in the collection, interpretation, and explanation of behavioural data. (1) It is important to recognize that an animal's point of view is actually an animal's point of view from a human's point of view. (2) Attempts to quantify pain and suffering in animals are fraught with difficulties, and despite the best intentions, do not eliminate human responsibilities. (3) Appeals to science to resolve difficult questions concerning animal suffering must be combined with other factors including common sense and moral and ethical commitments. (4) When in doubt, err on the side of the animals. Those who study animal behaviour and behavioural ecology need to be particularly aware of problems of animal welfare for these types of research involve field observations, studies of captive animals, and experiments. In addition, findings from cognitive ethological investigations are used to inform and motivate discussion of human moral and ethical obligations to animals.
Predation and aversive conditioning in coyotes
Bekoff, Gustavson, Kelly, Garcia - Science (New York, NY, 1975 - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Experimentally induced infanticide: the removal of birds and its ramifications
Bekoff - The Auk, 1993 - JSTOR
There currently is great interest in the ethical issues surrounding research on nonhuman animals (hereafter animals), including field studies of behavior and behavioral ecology (American Society of Mammalogists 1987, Oring et al. 1988, Michener 1989,Animal Behavior Society 1991, Bekoff and Jamieson1991, Cuthill 1991, Bekoff et al. 1992). Thus, a study (Emlen et al. 1989) of experimentally induced infanticide in Wattled Jacanas (Jacana jacana) deserves scrutiny, for there are some matters of concern centering on: (i) the review process for publication; (ii) the methods used to remove two adult female jacanas; (iii) the maiming and killing of seven their infants by replacement females a direct result of the deliberate removal of the mothers the young birds (for further discussion some ethical implications of infanticide studies, see Elwood 1991; for recent review of studies of cognition, pain,and stress in birds,see Elzanowsk and Abs 1991, Gentle 1992); and (iv) questions con- cerning trade-offs between the importance acquir ing different types of knowledge and the types of animal research that are permissible in the pursuit of this knowledge. (get pdf
Cognitive ethology and applied philosophy: the significance of an evolutionary biology of mind
Bekoff, Jamieson - Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 1990 - Elsevier
The broad field of cognitive ethology, in which internal mental states are inferred from the behavior they explain, is receiving increased attention nowadays from diverse scientists and philosophers. The nature of the results and how they are presented greatly influence how humans assess their place in the natural world and how they view other animals. The attribution of consciousness and intelligence to other animals suggests that they have moral rights. The results of comparative cognitive ethological analyses and how they are presented may play a large role in defining the domain of morally permissible research, and in the development of research strategies including decisions on feeding and housing, treatment, handling, and what happens to animal subjects when the research is completed. Scientists and philosophers interested in the evolution of behavior and mental continuity can have a significant impact on how others view the world.
Cognitive ethology and the intentionality of animal behaviour
Allen, Bekoff - Mind & language, 1995 - Wiley Online Library
Cognitive ethologists are in need of a good theoretical framework for attributing intentional states. Heyes and Dickinson (1990) present criteria that they claim are necessary for an intentional explanation of behavior to be justified. They suggest that questions of intentionality can only be investigated under controlled laboratory conditions and they apply their criteria to laboratory experiments to argue that the common behavior of approaching food is not intentional in most animals. We dispute the details of their argument and interpretation of the laboratory experiments. While criteria such as those suggested have a role to play in comparative studies of cognition, both laboratory and field studies are important for assessing the applicability of intentional explanations across different taxa.
Prenatal motility and postnatal play: Functional continuity?
Bekoff, Byers, Bekoff
Behavioral continuity is a current topic of major interest in developmental psychobiology.
Possible functions of predator harassment in pronghorn antelopes
Predator harassment (Berger, 1979) usually is a rarely observed form of defense in ungulates that involves chasing of a predator by members of prey species.
Development, the conveniently forgotten variable in" true kin recognition."
Points out that in his sweeping dismissal of the existence of kin recognition (because kin recognition should be restricted narrowly to instances of apparently innate kin recognition), A. Grafen (see record 1990-16435-001 ) ignores a large body of information concerning behavioral development. He also ignores the strongest cases of kin recognition: offspring recognition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
Integrating humans and nature: reconciling the boundaries of science and society
Bekoff - Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 2000 - elibrary.ru
Consciousness and self in animals: some reflections
Bekoff - Zygonֲ®, 2003 - Wiley Online Library
In this essay I argue that many nonhuman animal beings are conscious and have some sense of self. Rather than ask whether they are conscious, I adopt an evolutionary perspective and ask why consciousness and a sense of self evolvedג€”what are they good for? Comparative studies of animal cognition, ethological investigations that explore what it is like to be a certain animal, are useful for answering this question. Charles Darwin argued that the differences in cognitive abilities and emotions among animals are differences in degree rather than differences in kind, and his view cautions against the unyielding claim that humans, and perhaps other great apes and cetaceans, are the only species in which a sense of self-awareness has evolved. I conclude that there are degrees of consciousness and self among animals and that it is likely that no animal has the same highly developed sense of self as that displayed by most humans. Many animals have a sense of body-ness or mine-ness but not a sense of I-ness. Darwin's ideas about evolutionary continuity, together with empirical data (science sense) and common sense, will help us learn more about consciousness and self in animals. Answers to challenging questions about animal self-awareness have wide-ranging significance, because they are often used as the litmus test for determining and defending the sorts of treatments to which animals can be morally subjected. (get pdf
Carruthers on nonconscious experience
Bekoff - Analysis, 1992 - analysis.oxfordjournals.org
In a recent article Peter Carruthers claims that 'in the case of brutes: since their pains are nonconscious (as are all their mental states), they ought not to be allowed to get in the way of any morally-serious objective' (p. 269). We believe that Carruthers's argument for this conclusion involves both fallacious reasoning and false premisses. (get pdf
Bekoff - New Scientist, 2002 - csa.com
It is generally believed that humans are the only creatures on Earth with a moral sense. The author disagrees and argues from observations of animals living in the wild that animals living in groups have a sense of fair play built on moral codes of conduct that help cement their social relationships. Draws heavily on recent reviews of research by Stephanie Preston and Frans de Waal, from the Yerkes Primate Center, Atlanta and Stanley Kuczaj's group at Southern Mississippi University in Hattiesburg which shows that empathy is more widespread among animals than is generally accepted and a wide range of species behave in ways that support the claim that empathy has its roots in evolution. The recognition that animals have a moral dimension to their existence strengthens the case that the human race should accept its moral responsibility towards other animals.
The evolution of social play: Interdisciplinary analyses of cognitive processes
Bekoff, Allen - The cognitive animal, 2002 - books.google.com
Progress in understanding animal cognition requires interdisciplinary collaboration, among biologists, psychologists, cognitive scientists, neuroscientists and philosophers. In our own case, as a biologist and philosopher, our work has combined empirical and conceptual studies of social play. In this chapter we describe how our personal interests have contributed to our cooperative efforts. Our work is rooted in a series of long-term empirical studies of social play. When he decided to study social play for his doctoral research, many people told Marc that it was a waste of time for it was impossible to define and many others before had tried to study it and failed. While this provided the perfect challenge for a graduate student who had the full support of his advisor, Michael W. Fox, Marc frankly thought that his research on play would end when he received his degree. He was very wrong indeed. (get pdf
Deep ethology, animal rights, and the Great Ape/Animal Project: Resisting speciesism and expanding the community of equals
Bekoff - Journal of Agricultural and environmental Ethics, 1997 - Springer
In this essay I argue that the evolutionary and comparative study of nonhuman animal (hereafter animal) cognition in a wide range of taxa by cognitive ethologists can readily inform discussions about animal protection and animal rights. However, while it is clear that there is a link between animal cognitive abilities and animal pain and suffering, I agree with Jeremy Bentham who claimed long ago the real question does not deal with whether individuals can think or reason but rather with whether or not individuals can suffer. One of my major goals will be to make the case that the time has come to expand. The Great Ape Project (GAP) to The Great Ape/Animal Project (GA/AP) and to take seriously the moral status and rights of all animals by presupposing that all individuals should be admitted into the Community of Equals. I also argue that individuals count and that it is essential to avoid being speciesist cognitivists; it really doesn't matter whether dogs ape or whether apes dog when taking into account the worlds of different individual animals. Narrow-minded primatocentrism and speciesism must be resisted in our studies of animal cognition and animal protection and rights. Line-drawing into lower and higher species is a misleading speciesist practice that should be vigorously resisted because not only is line-drawing bad biology but also because it can have disastrous consequences for how animals are viewed and treated. Speciesist line-drawing also ignores within species individual differences.
Empathy: Common sense, science sense, wolves, and well-being
Bekoff - Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 2002 - Cambridge Univ Press
Empathy is likely more widely distributed among animals than many researchers realize or perhaps are willing to admit. Studies of social carnivores, other group-living animals, and communication via different modalities will help us learn more about the evolutionary roots and behavioral, sensory, and cognitive underpinnings of empathy, including what it means to have a sense of self. There are also important implications for debates about animal well-being.
Predation by "shooting" in archer fish, Toxotes jaculatrix: Accuracy and sequences
Bekoff, Dorr - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 1976 - psycnet.apa.org
Studied 4 adult shooting archer fish in a captive situation. The accuracy with which they "shot" for prey and the sequences that they performed during shooting were analyzed. Ss were successful in shooting at suspended prey 25.5% of the time. Shooting was preceded by a series of 6 acts. The typical sequence, based on an analysis of transition probabilities, was Orient, Swim, Rotate Vertically, and Shoot. Leaping out of the water and a 2nd vertical rotation were also observed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
Awareness: Animal reflections
Bekoff - Nature, 2002 - nature.com
Researchers are interested in animal awareness because they are curious to discover what animals might know about themselves. There are, however, long-held and polarized views about the degree of self-awareness in animals.
The evolution of animal play, emotions, and social morality: on science, theology, spirituality, personhood, and love
Bekoff - Zygon, 2001 - Wiley Online Library
My essay first takes me into the arena in which science, spirituality, and theology meet. I comment on the enterprise of science and how scientists could well benefit from reciprocal interactions with theologians and religious leaders. Next, I discuss the evolution of social morality and the ways in which various aspects of social play behavior relate to the notion of behaving fairly. The contributions of spiritual and religious perspectives are important in our coming to a fuller understanding of the evolution of morality. I go on to discuss animal emotions, the concept of personhood, and how our special relationships with other animals, especially the companions with whom we share our homes, help us to define our place in nature, our humanness. It is when we take the life of another being in the ritual of compassionately euthanizing them (putting them to sleep) that who we are in the grand scheme of things comes to the fore. I end with a discussion of the importance of ethological studies, behavioral research in which a serious attempt is made to understand animals in their own worlds, inquiries in which it is asked, What is it like to be another species? Species other than nonhuman primates need to be studied. I plead for developing compassionate, heartfelt, and holistic science that allows for interdisciplinary talk about respect, grace, spirituality, religion, love, Earth, and God. (get pdf)
Interactions among dogs, people, and the environment in Boulder, Colorado: A case study
Bekoff, Meaney - Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, 1997 - ingentaconnect.com
From September 1995 to April 1996 we studied interactions among dogs, people, and the environment in Boulder, Colorado. Data on behavioral disturbances by off-leash dogs who were accompanied by a person were collected with respect to dog-dog and dog-human interactions, dog-wildlife encounters, dogs trampling vegetation, and dogs entering and disturbing bodies of water. A questionnaire also was administered. Behavioral data showed that off-leash dogs generally did not travel far off trail, that when they did it was for short periods of time, and that they rarely were observed to chase other dogs, disturb people, chase wildlife, destroy vegetation, or enter bodies of water. Results from analyses of the questionnaire (skewed toward non-dog owners) showed that dog owners and non-dog owners agreed that people were more disruptive to the environment than dogs and that unruly people were more problematic than unruly dogs. We conclude that the well-being and interests of dogs should not summarily and dismissively be compromised when dogs and people attempt to share limited space that can be used by all parties for recreational purposes. Indeed, a higher percentage of people reported that the quality of dogs' experience of the outdoors would be compromised more than their own enjoyment if dogs could not walk off-leash in areas where this is currently permitted. The methods used and the results from this case study can serve as a model for other locations in which dogs and people compete for limited spatial resources. (get pdf)
Animal Play and the Evolution of Morality: An Ethological Approach
Allen, Bekoff - Topoi, 2005 - Springer
In this paper we argue that there is much to learn about wild justice and the evolutionary origins of morality behaving fairly by studying social play behavior in group-living mammals. Because of its relatively wide distribution among the mammals, ethological investigation of play, informed by interdisciplinary cooperation, can provide a comparative perspective on the evolution of ethical behavior that is broader than is provided by the usual focus on primate sociality. Careful analysis of social play reveals rules of engagement that guide animals in their social encounters. Because of its significance in development, play may provide a foundation of fairness for other forms of cooperation that are advantageous to group living. Questions about the evolutionary roots of cooperation, fairness, trust, forgiveness, and morality are best answered by attention to the details of what animals do when they engage in social play how they negotiate agreements to cooperate, to forgive, to behave fairly, and to develop trust. We consider questions such as why play fairly? Why did play evolve as it has? Does being fair mean being more fit? Do individual variations in play influence an individuals reproductive fitness? Can we use information about the foundations of moral behavior in animals to help us understand ourselves? We conclude that there is likely to be strong selection for cooperative fair play because there are mutual benefits when individuals adopt this strategy and group stability may also be fostered. Numerous mechanisms have evolved to facilitate the initiation and maintenance of social play, to keep others engaged, so that agreeing to play fairly and the resulting benefits of doing so can be readily achieved.
Aquatic animals, cognitive ethology, and ethics: questions about sentience and other troubling issues that lurk in turbid water
Bekoff - Diseases of aquatic organisms, 2007 - i-mar.cl
In this general, strongly pro-animal, and somewhat utopian and personal essay, I argue that we owe aquatic animals respect and moral consideration just as we owe respect and moral consideration to all other animal beings, regardless of the taxonomic group to which they belong. In many ways it is more difficult to convince some people of our ethical obligations to numerous aquatic animals because we do not identify or empathize with them as we do with animals with whom we are more familiar or to whom we are more closely related, including those species (usually terrestrial) to whom we refer as charismatic megafauna. Many of my examples come from animals that are more well studied but they can be used as models for aquatic animals. I follow Darwinian notions of evolutionary continuity to argue that if we feel pain, then so too do many other animals, including those that live in aquatic environs. Recent scientific data ('science sense') show clearly that many aquatic organisms, much to some people's surprise, likely suffer at our hands and feel their own sorts of pain. Throughout I discuss how cognitive ethology (the study of animal minds) is the unifying science for understanding the subjective, emotional, empathic, and moral lives of animals because it is essential to know what animals do, think, and feel as they go about their daily routines. Lastly, I argue that when we are uncertain if we are inflicting pain due to our incessant, annoying, and frequently unnec- essary intrusions into the lives of other animals as we go about 'redecorating nature' (removing animals or moving them from place to place), we should err on the side of the animals and stop engaging in activities that cause pain and suffering. (get pdf)
Variations in avoidance responses to humans by black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus)
Lengas, Bekoff - Journal of mammalogy, 1987 - JSTOR
Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludomcianus) are gregarious rodents that typically live in large colonies (Hoogland, 1979; King, 1955, 1959). The characteristic avoidance response displayed by these small mammals to the approach and presence of nonhuman predators (King, 1955) consists of an alarm bark that servers to warn other group members of impending danger, followed by running to the burrow and hiding (for details see Waring, 1970).
Cheek rubbing as grooming by Abert squirrels
Halloran, Bekoff - Animal behaviour, 1995 - Elsevier
Cheek rubbing is thought to be a form of active scent marking in many terrestrial and arboreal sciurids. However, some observations of arboreal sciurids suggest that cheek rubbing may also be a form of self-grooming. The purpose of this study was to examine possible functions of cheek rubbing by free-living Abert squirrels, Sciurus aberti. When the frequencies of behaviour patterns that occurred within a cheek-rubbing sequence were compared to the frequencies of acts that occurred at other times, grooming and alert behaviour patterns had a higher probability of occurring, whereas travelling, nesting, and various social behaviour patterns (such as chasing) had a significantly lower probability of occurring during cheek-rubbing sequences. Food-related behaviour patterns or grooming usually preceded cheek rubbing. Cheek rubbing also did not predominantly occur at home-range boundaries or at nest sites. Although passive scent marking cannot be ruled out, these results suggest that cheek rubbing by Abert squirrels has evolved more as a form of self-grooming to remove food residue, rather than as active scent marking.
Animal minds, cognitive ethology, and ethics
Allen, Bekoff - The Journal of ethics, 2007 - Springer
Our goal in this paper is to provide enough of an account of the origins of cognitive ethology and the controversy surrounding it to help ethicists to gauge for themselves how to balance skepticism and credulity about animal minds when communicating with scientists. We believe that ethicists arguments would benefit from better understanding of the historical roots of ongoing controversies. It is not appropriate to treat some widely reported results in animal cognition as if their interpretations are a matter of scientific consensus. It is especially important to understand why loose references to cognitive ethology by philosophers can signal ignorance of the field to scientists who are more deeply immersed in the relevant literature. Understanding the variety of approaches to cognitive phenomena in animals is essential if such capacities are to form the foundation of scientifically-informed ethical reasoning about animals. (get pdf)
Animal welfare and individual characteristics: A conversation against speciesism
It seems impossible for a human being not to have some point of view concerning nonhuman animal (hereafter animal) welfare. Many people make decisions about how humans are permitted to treat animals using speciesist criteria, basing their decisions on an individual's species membership rather than on that animal's individual characteristics. Although speciesism provides a convenient way for making difficult decisions about who should be used in different types of research, we argue that such decisions should rely on an analysis of individual characteristics and should not be based merely on species membership. We do not argue that the concept of species is never useful or important. To make our points, we present a conversation among a skeptic, an agnostic, and a proponent of the view that our moral obligations to an animal must be based on an analysis of that individual's characteristics. In the course of the discussion, concepts such as personhood, consciousness, cognitive ability, harm, and pain are presented, because one's understanding of these concepts informs his or her ethical decisions about the use of animals by humans. (get pdf)
Fighting patterns in young coyotes: initiation, escalation, and assessment
Bekoff, M Tyrrell, VE Lipetz, Jamieson - Aggressive Behavior, 1981 - Wiley Online Library
The fighting patterns of young coyotes were studied and 2,350 fights were analyzed. Our results can be summarized as follows: 1) No major injuries were sustained by any of the infants, even in unritualized bouts. 2) In pairs, there was no relationship between social rank and the proportion of fights that were initiated by either animal. 3) Dominant animals were more likely than subordinate individuals to escalate first (perform the first unprovoked dangerous move) during short interactions and to escalate and then subsequently win short fights. 4) Highest-ranking (alpha) individuals in litters did not fight the most. 5) Alpha individuals initiated 73% of the fights in which they partook. Alpha coyotes initiated and then won 86% of the contests that they initiated. 6) For fourth-ranking coyotes in litters, there was a perfect positive correlation between the proportion of times that they initiated fights and the proportion of times that they initiated and then won encounters. They initiated interactions least with the first- to third-ranking animals. 7) Alpha and fourth-ranking animals escalated about the same proportion of the time, but alpha coyotes escalated and then won a greater proportion of fights. 8) Both alpha and fourth-ranking animals initiated and then escalated the greatest proportion of time with individuals nearest in rank, with whom they may have experienced the greatest difficulty in assessing relative social standing. 9) Our data suggested that individuals, especially in litters, were able to make pre-fight assessments but that they were not perfect with respect to this ability. During-fight assessments appeared to be easier to make, using escalation to test an opponent.
Cognitive ethology: The comparative study of animal minds
Bekoff - Blackwell Companion to Cognitive Science, 1995 - cogprints.org
Cognitive ethology is the comparative, evolutionary, and ecological study of nonhuman animal (hereafter animal) minds including thought processes, beliefs, rationality, information-processing, and consciousness. It is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field of science that is attracting much attention from researchers in numerous and diverse disciplines including those interested in animal welfare (Cheney and Seyfarth, 1990; Ristau, 1991; Griffin, 1992; Allen and Bekoff, 1995, 1997; Bekoff and Allen, 1996; Bekoff and Jamieson, 1996). Cognitive ethology can trace its beginnings to the writings of Charles Darwin, an anecdotal cognitivist (Jamieson and Bekoff, 1993), and some of his contemporaries and disciples. Their approach incorporated appeals to evolutionary theory, interests in mental continuity, concerns with individual and intraspecific variation, interests in the worlds of the animals themselves, close associations with natural history, and attempts to learn more about the behavior of animals in conditions that are as close as possible to the natural environment where selection has occurred. They also relied on anecdote and anthropomorphism to inform and to motivate more rigorous study. In addition, cognitive ethologists are frequently concerned with the diversity of solutions that living organisms have found for common problems. They also emphasize broad taxonomic comparisons and do not focus on a few select representatives of limited taxa. Many people inform their views of cognitive ethology by appealing to the same studies over and over again (usually those done on nonhuman primates), and ignore the fact that there are many other animals who also show interesting patterns of behavior that lend themselves to cognitive studies. (see html)
Resisting speciesism and expanding the community of equals
Bekoff - BioScience, 1998 - JSTOR
Resisting speciesism and expanding the community of equals he issues with which those interested in nonhuman animal (hereafter "animal") protection must deal are numerous, diverse, difficult, and extremely contentious; interdisciplinary work is needed to try to come
Redecorating nature: reflections on science, holism, community, humility, reconciliation, spirit, compassion, and love
Bekoff - Human Ecology Review, 2000 - Citeseer
Numerous humans - in my opinion, far too many - con- tinue to live apart from nature, rather than as a part of nature. In this personal essay I discuss various aspects of traditional science and suggest that holistic and heart-driven compassionate science needs to replace reductionist and impersonal science. I argue that creative proactive solutions drenched in deep caring, respect, and love for the universe need to be developed to deal with the broad range of prob- lems with which we are confronted. Simply put, I have had enough. I want the world to be a better place for all of its inhabitants and time is not on our side. I feel a deep sense of urgency and passionate impatience. We are worrying about wildness as it is disappearing right in front of our eyes - as I write and we discuss. Thus, I am willing to open myself to criticism, to be vulnerable for expressing views that are not part of main-stream science. Rather than take a doomsday view that the world will not even exist in 100 years if we fail to accept our unique responsibilities, it is more disturbing to imagine a world in which humans and other life coexist in the absence of any intimacy and interconnectedness. Surely we do not want to be remembered as the generation that killed nature. To illustrate some of my points, I discuss various aspects of translocation studies in which animals are moved about from one place to another in humans attempts to redecorate nature. In these projects interdisciplinary collaboration is necessary and disciplinary boundaries must be trespassed. I also emphasize the importance of teaching chil- dren well for their and our futures rest on their developing a deeply-rooted caring ethic. My vision is to create a world- wide community in which humans perceive themselves as a part of nature and not apart from her, in which humans who are overwhelmed and whose spirits and souls have been robbed and squelched by living in and amongst steel, con- crete, asphalt, noise, and a multitude of invasions of their pri- vate space reconnect with raw nature - with the wind in their faces, the odors of wild flowers, and the sounds, sights, odors, and touch of other animals and inanimate environs. A world in which sensing is feeling. Nature is our uncondi- tional friend and reconnecting with nature can help overcome alienation and loneliness. The power of love must not be underestimated as we forge ahead to reconnect with nature. (get pdf)
Feralization: the making of wild domestic animals
Bekoff - Behavioural processes, 1989 - Elsevier
The widely accepted viewpoint that feralization is the reverse of domestication requires that the feralization process be restricted to populations of animals and, therefore, cannot occur in individuals. An alternative, ontogenetic approach is presented in which feralization is defined as the process by which individual domestic animals either become desocialized from humans, or never become socialized, and thus behave as untamed, non-domestic animals. Feralization will vary among species and, intraspecifically, will depend upon an individual's age and history of socialization to humans. Because feralization is not equated with morphological change resulting from evolutionary processes, species formation is not an accurate indicator of feral condition.
Bekoff - Intimate relationships, embracing the natural world, 1997 - cogprints.org
The first four quotations make me ill – the fifth make me feel good. I continually ask myself how in the world can anyone who has any – even minimal – grounding in the world, write so coldly and objectively about the pain and suffering that they produce in nonhuman, not subhuman, animals (hereafter animals), or be so arrogant as to make claims like those of Professor Howard, a biologist who often appeals to his lifelong work with animals to motivate his positions on animal welfare. How are they able to detach themselves from themselves and the animals about whom they are trying to learn. Research should be fun; are they really having fun? And, if so, then how can producing pain and suffering be fun? Respecting all individual's lives and treating them with dignity should direct every single one of our interactions with the animals with whom we share the planet. (see html)
Minding animals, minding earth: Old brains, new bottlenecks
Bekoff - Zygon, 2003 - Wiley Online Library
I emphasize the importance of broadening behavioral, ecological, and conservation science into a more integrative, interdisciplinary, socially responsible, compassionate, spiritual, and holistic endeavor. I stress the significance of studies of animal behavior, especially ethological research concerned with animal emotions in which individuals are named and recognized for their own personalities, for helping us to learn not only about the nonhuman animal beings with whom we share Earth but also about who we are and our place in nature. We are best understood in relationship with others. To this end I develop the notions of minding animals and deep ethology. Animals are sources of wisdom, a way of knowing.
We are all citizens of Earth, members of a global community in which intimate reciprocal and beneficent peaceful relationships are mandatory. A world without cruelty and with boundless compassion, respect, grace, humility, spirituality, and love would be a better world in which to live. We have compelling responsibilities for making Earth a better and more peaceful habitat for all beings. It is essential that we do better than our ancestors. We must reflect and step lightly as we redecorate nature. Time is not on our side.
I plead for the development of heartfelt and holistic science that allows for joy and play. Science need not be suspicious of things it cannot fully understand. We must not avert our eyes or other senses from the eyes and voices of other beings who urgently need our uncompromising and unconditional aid and love. We can do much more than we have done for animals and the Earth.
The ontogeny and organization of comfort behavior in Adelie penguins
Bekoff, Ainley - The Wilson Bulletin, 1979 - JSTOR
The development of comfort behaviors in Adֳ©lie Penguins and the organization of comfort activities in adults, were studied at Cape Crozier, Ross Island, Antarctica. Non-oiling and dry-oiling (feathers not wet) comfort sequences were compared to one another; these results were then compared to data collected by Ainley (1974) on wet-oiling by adults immediately after they emerged from the sea. For purposes of analyzing the ontogeny of non-oiling comfort activities, chicks were grouped into 3 groups: 7-13, 14-20 and 21-28 days of age. Dry-oiling was observed in chicks 35-43 days of age. Our results were as follows. (1) Only yawning occurred on the day after hatching. The earliest preening movements appeared on day 7 (breast and belly preening). Oil distribution behaviors appeared between days 30-33, the same period during which the oil gland became functional. The first dry-oiling sequence was observed on day 35. (2) There was no difference in the duration of non-oil comfort sequences between chicks over 13 days of age and adults. Chicks performed fewer acts per min than did adults and therefore the mean number of acts per sequence was lower in chicks. (3) In general, behaviors were randomly distributed throughout comfort sequences. Exceptions include oiling by adults and chicks, bill-to-wing-edge by adults, and back preening by chicks. (4) During transitions from 1 act to another, chicks aged 21-28 days remained on the same side of the body and in the same area with the same relative frequency as non-oiling adults. (5) Dry-oiling by chicks and adults shared many common characteristics: (i) oiling occurred non-randomly in the beginning of the sequences, (ii) the relative frequency of occurrence of breast and belly preening was the same, (iii) during transitions from 1 act to another, the groups did not differ with respect to remaining on the same side of the body and in the same body area, (iv) actions leading to and immediately following oiling occurred very frequently (> 78%) on the same side of the body to which the head was turned when gathering oil in the bill. (get pdf)
Animal Emotions and Animal Sentience and Why They Matter: Blending 'Science Sense' with Common Sense, Compassion and Heart
Bekoff - Animals, Ethics and Trade. London: Earthscan, 2006 - landofpuregold.com
Discussions of animal emotions and animal sentience are wonderful for raising difficult and frustrating questions. This chapter is intended to be a non- traditional essay and I hope it generates kind discussion and that what I talk about is not dismissed on the grounds that Im simply losing my mind. I assure you Im not. Well, at least I think Im not. I simply want to put forth some ideas that some might find controversial. Throwing caution to the wind is a good thing to do from time to time. It makes us dig deeply into our minds and hearts to see who we are and what we think about matters at hand. And sometimes we dont like where we end up, which can be outside of our com- fort zones. (get pdf)
Translocation effects on the behavior of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus)
Farrar, Coleman, Bekoff, Stone - Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactios of People & Animals, 1998 - ingentaconnect.com
We examined the effects of translocation on Black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) anti-predator behavior by recording response distances and response times to a human intruder in three colonies containing native, translocated, and combined native and translocated prairie dogs. The translocated prairie dogs barked alarms and concealed themselves at significantly greater intruder distances than mixed or native colonies. However, individuals in different colonies did not differ in the time taken to return to a burrow, to conceal themselves after a human approached the colony, or in the time elapsed after concealment until an animal reappeared. Translocated prairie dogs exhibited nearly twice the distance sensitivity to intrusion as native prairie dogs. Increased sensitivity to disturbance complicates management considerations of translocated populations that are subject to human traffic. This increase in sensitivity may necessitate translocation to isolated or undisturbed sites, protecting sites from disturbance, translocating larger groups of prairie dogs, or all three in order for translocated populations to persist.
Social cognition: Exchanging and sharing information on the run
Bekoff - Erkenntnis, 1999 - Springer
In this essay I consider various aspects of the rapidly growing field of cognitive ethology, concentrating mainly on evolutionary and comparative discussion of the notion of intentionality. I am not concerned with consciousness, per se, for a concentration on consciousness deflects attention from other, and in many cases more interesting, problems in the study of animal cognition. I consider how, when, where, and (attempt to discuss) why individuals from different taxa exchange social information concerning their beliefs, desires, and goals. My main examples come from studies of social play in mammals and antipredator behavior in birds. Basically, I argue that although not all individuals always display behavior patterns that are best explained by appeals to intentionality, it is misleading to argue that such explanations have no place in the study of animal cognition.
Animals, nature, and ethics
Bekoff, Hettinger - Journal of mammalogy, 1994 - JSTOR
Recently, Howard (1993, Journal of Mammalogy, 74:234-235) argued for the defensibility of research on nonhuman animals (hereafter animals). Unfortunately, his essay is unnecessarily combative, lacking in detail, unbalanced, and poorly argued. Howard (1993) unfairly and mistakenly stereotypes as biologically naive anyone who rejects his position that nature's poor treatment of wild animals justifies animal research. Those interested in the morality of animal research deserve better guidance than what Howard (1993) provides. Here, we analyze Howard's (1993) claims and their implications, present relevant literature on ethics and animals, and conclude that much work remains to be done to understand and properly appreciate the moral dimensions of animal research. The questions raised about uses of animals by humans in various activities, including research, are difficult and demand careful interdisciplinary analysis. Simple answers should not be expected. We explore some of the issues and make them accessible to a wide audience, including practicing scientists.
Measuring dominance and constructing hierarchies: an example using mule deer
Tomback, Wachtel, Driscoll, Bekoff - Ethology, 1989 - Wiley Online Library
Important issues that are still unresolved in the study of animal social groups are how dominance is measured and how individuals are ranked. Based on observations of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus), we constructed hierarchies for the same 26 bucks using five potential correlates of dominance and three measures based on the outcome of agonistic interactions. Data for each of six behavior measures were converted to ranks by six different numerical techniques.
Different measures of behavior resulted in different hierarchies. This was especially so when the hierarchy based on sparring rates was compared to hierarchies based on other criteria. Although our results showed that dominance is not a unitary concept, several measures of dominance were highly correlated with one another. Thus, one measure, in some instances, may be a good but imperfect predictor of dominance defined by other criteria.
For data sets based on index scores or rates of performing behavior, the mean difference and standard-error difference ranking methods had distinct advantages. Both produced equally weighted ranks that minimized the effects of sampling errors.
Why Good Welfare Isn't Good Enough: Minding Animals and Increasing Our Compassionate Footprint
Bekoff - Annual Review of Biomedical Sciences, 2008 - arbs.biblioteca.unesp.br
In this brief essay I take a broad perspective on the notion of unraveling welfare and consider animals living in different conditions ranging from caged individuals in laboratories and zoos to free-living or almost free-living wildlife. Ill step outside of the laboratory because billions of animals are slaughtered for food in an industry that tortures them on the way to their reprehensible deaths and at the places at which they are slaughtered. Furthermore, government agencies around the world kill millions of free-living and wild animals because theyre supposedly pests. This is a different sort of essay but I hope it will stimulate people to rethink what we mean by the phrase animal welfare in a broad and constructive ways because the way people interact with animals in laboratories is influenced by how they see animals in other contexts including outside of caged environments. Unraveling animal welfare means unscrambling our interrelationships with other animals by asking difficult questions about who we think we are, who we think they are, what we think we know, what we actually know. Ill argue that good welfare isnt good enough because existing laws and regulations still allow animals to be subjected to enduring pain and suffering and death in the name of science, which really means in the name of humans. We must do better for all animals and we can do so by taking into account the perspective of the each and every individual who we use for research, education, amusement, and for food and clothing. We must also consider individuals who we house in zoos and move around as if theyre pieces of furniture, for example, when zoos redecorate themselves because they need an ambassador for a given species or because an individual no longer brings in money. And we must also consider the fate of individuals when we redecorate nature by moving animals here and there for our and not their benefit; is it permissible to trade off the life of an individual for the good of their species? The emotional lives of animals are not all that private, hidden, or secret and animal emotions and sentience force us to care for them and to protect them from pain, suffering, and death. I conclude that everyone can do more to increase their compassion footprint and list ten reasons why animals are asking us to treat them better or leave them alone, and these reasons also bear on the unraveling of animal welfare. (get pdf)
Effects of serial lesions in cat visual cortex on a brightness discrimination
Bekoff, Lockwood, - Brain Research, 1973 - psycnet.apa.org
Reports the effects on a dark-light discrimination of serial unilateral lesions of the visual cortex of cats and compares these results with the previously reported effects of simultaneous, bilateral lesions.
Collecting birds: The importance of moral debate
Bekoff, Elzanowski - Bird Conservation International, 1997 - Cambridge Univ Press
In a recent article in this journal, Remsen (1995) attacked moral (and other) objections to killing birds for museum collections, objections that are frequently raised by the general public and scientific community alike. The only grounds for moral objections against killing birds that Remsen considers and rejects are reverence for all life or personal (p. 157; all page references refer to Remsen 1995), that is sentimental (p. 165) reasons. What Remsen ignores is avian sentience and the moral imperative of respecting it.
Redecorating nature: Deep science, holism, feeling, and heart
BEKOFF - BioScience, 2000 - BioOne
Back off, man, I'm a scientist. I've been haunted by this bumper sticker for many years. I'm a scientist. I love what I do.Doing science is fun. When I first saw this slogan, it bothered me because I thought it sent a false message concerning the arrogance of scientists …
Behavioral interactions and conflict among domestic dogs, black-tailed prairie dogs, and people in Boulder, Colorado
Bekoff, Ickes - Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, 1999 - ingentaconnect.com
Interactions among domestic dogs (Canis familiaris), black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus), and people were studied at Dry Creek, Boulder, Colorado. Our objective was to develop a basic understanding of the nature of dog-prairie dog interactions in this recreational area, because this is an issue that has high visibility and over which there is conflict in Boulder: There are those who want dogs to run free regardless of their impact on the behavior and lives of prairie dogs and those who want to protect prairie dogs and have dogs restrained or go elsewhere. We found that dogs clearly influenced the behavior of prairie dogs, however, no prairie dogs were known to be caught or killed by any dog during the course of study. Prairie dogs disturbed by dogs were more alert (vigilant) and wary of dogs and played less than undisturbed individuals. However, disturbed prairie dogs were less wary of the presence of humans than undisturbed animals. People tried to stop dogs from harassing prairie dogs only 25% of the time. A survey showed that 58% of people polled at Dry Creek (all dog owners) did not believe that prairie dogs should be protected even if dogs are a problem. Increased human responsibility would likely go a long way towards reducing existing conflict among people wanting to protect prairie dogs and those who do not. Boulder city officials have not yet incorporated our data into their immediate management plans. However, by identifying the nature of dog-prairie dog encounters and specific areas of conflict among people who side either with dogs or prairie dogs, in the future, proactive strategies grounded by empirical data can be developed and implemented so that the interests of all parties can be accommodated.
Too stressed to work
Baldwin, Bekoff - The New Scientist Volume 194, Issue 2606, 2 June 2007
Scientists must provide lab animals with decent living conditions or accept that their results could be useless
Social play and physical training: When not enough may be plenty
Bekoff - Ethology, 1989 - Wiley Online Library
HOLE'S (1988) detailed analysis of temporal aspects of social play in laboratory rats (Rattus norvegicus) is an excellent example of what is needed in play research. Nonetheless, I believe that his and others' (McDonald 1977; also see Fagen 1981) rejection of the importance of social play for physical training based on the duration of play bouts is premature …
Home range use by Abert squirrels: a comparative analysis
Bekoff - The Southwestern Naturalist, 2000 - JSTOR
We compared data from an analysis of space use by Abert squirrels (Sciurus aberti) performed in 1991 with data from a previous study performed in 1971 at the same study site (Farentinos, 1979). In both studies, home range estimates based on the 100% minimum convex polygon (MCP) method were positively correlated with sample size. The number of home range sightings used for calculations in the current study was significantly larger for both males and females when compared to that used by Farentinos (1979), as were estimates of home range. Results from the current study also contradict Farentinos' earlier findings that males have larger home ranges during the breeding season than the nonbreeding season, and that males have larger home ranges during the breeding season than females year around. The method used to estimate home range sizes may have influenced the results, and the 100% MCP method may be of limited use for drawing meaningful biological comparisons, unless sample size is held constant.
Beyond monkey minds: Toward a richer cognitive ethology
Bekoff, Townsend, Jamieson - Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1994 - Cambridge Univ Press
The stimulating discussions presented in the BBS target article by Cheney & Seyfarth (C&S) (1992) and in the commentaries concerning their book, How monkeys see the world (C&S 1990b), clarify many issues in the growing field of cognitive ethology.
The public lives of animals
Bekoff - Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2006 - blueskybroadcast.com
A few years ago I visited a major American university where I was asked to give a talk on the nature of animal emotions. My colleague, Bill, came up before the lecture to say hello and I asked him how his dog Reno was doing. For more than five minutes Bill extolled Renos deep emotional life he loves to play with his friends, misses Bill when hes gone, has separation anxiety and tears up garbage and books when hes alone, and a few days ago Reno got jealous when Bill gave his daughter attention … Following my talk Bill accused me of being too anthropomorphic and too sure of myself. He did it in a sort of light-hearted academic way. When he was done I simply asked him to recall for the audience the conversation that we had before my lec- ture about Renos emotional life. Bill turned slightly red … (get pdf)
The other side of silence: Rachel Carson's views of animals
Bekoff, Nystrom - Zygon, 2004 - Wiley Online Library
The publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962 is widely regarded as one of the major events that launched the modern environmental movement. Silent Spring is a compelling blend of stories, natural history, human val- ues, and biological facts. In this essay we consider Carsons attitude toward animals in Silent Spring and in other texts. Despite the facts that she was raised to love Nature and ani- mals, little direct attention has been given to Carsons views about our moral responsibilities to, and the moral standing of animals. Carson favored responsible stewardship, was more of an animal welfarist and environmentalist/conservation biologist who privileged ecosystems and species than an ani- mal activist who privileged individuals, and she did not advo- cate an animal rights agenda. There is clear tension in Carsons text. Often she seemed troubled by attempting to come across as a moderate and practical scientist and some of her words, when considered out of context, could lead one to label Carson as an animal rightist. While some of Carsons text favors human-centered interests, she did not believe that only humans counted. Her warnings about silent springs silent seasons must be taken seriously, perhaps even more seriously than when they were penned more than four decades ago. Surely, on the other side of silence, await magic, awe, and Natures cacophony of sounds along with a panoply of innumerable other sensory (visual and olfactory) experiences that help us to feel at one with all of Nature. We must be careful never to allow Nature to be silenced. Carson was a passionate and extremely influential activist, and there is no doubt that if there were a world of Rachel Carsons in charge of our global environmental policies, we and our fellow animals would surely be in much better shape than we currently are. (see pdf)
Feeding decisions by Steller's jays (Cyanocitta stelleri): The utility of a logistic regression model for analyses of where, what, and with whom to eat
Bekoff, C Allen - Ethology, 1999 - Wiley Online Library
It is widely recognized that animal behavior is simultaneously affected by many variables. Both the study of interactions between these variables under naturalistic conditions and the proper statistical analysis of data derived from such studies remain particular problems for ethologists. In the present study we investigated choices by Stellers jays (Cyanocitta stelleri) selecting between two feeding locations under a variety of conditions. A multifactor logistic regression analysis of our data showed that the jays behavior was simultaneously affected by several variables, including proximity of the feeding site to cover, food preferences, and the presence of conspecifics and other animals. We found that (1) jays strongly preferred an unoccupied feeder over one occupied by another jay or a sympatric mammal with the effect of squirrels being much greater than that of other jays, (2) contrary to our expectations, in the absence of a reason to prefer the other feeder, the jays generally selected the feeder that was further from nearest cover, and (3) the presence of sunflower seeds on one feeder but not on the other provided a reason to prefer the feeder offering sunflower seeds. The logistic regression analysis provided a more complete and integrated model of the birds behavior than more commonly used univariate methods. Our approach and results are also applicable to studies of other animals. While univariate analyses are useful in some instances, multifactor procedures reveal more details about the interactions of single factors and future experimental studies can take advantage of this additional knowledge.
The animal's point of view, animal welfare and some other related matters
Bekoff - Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1991 - Cambridge Univ Press
To study animal welfare empirically we need an objective basis for deciding when an animal is suffering. Suffering includes a wide range of unpleasant emotional states such as fear, boredom, pain, and hunger.
Do Dogs Ape–or Do Apes Dog–and Does it Matter–Broadening and Deepening Cognitive Ethology
Bekoff - Animal L., 1997 - HeinOnline
In Rain Without Thunder, Gary Francione raises numerous important issues and takes on many important people. The phrase "rain without thunder" made me think about the notion of animals without minds - animals without thoughts or feelings. This idea is troublesome …
Are you feeling what I'm feeling?
Bekoff - The New Scientist, 2007 - Elsevier
If you doubt that non-human animals have emotions, just look at them, listen to them and inhale the odours that pour out when they interact with friend or foe. I believe that what you see on the outside speaks volumes about what is happening inside an animal's head and heart. Not long ago, the notion that animals have emotions was considered subversive, but opinion is changing. In recent years, reputable scientific journals have published research about moral dogs and chimps, joyful rats, grieving elephants, empathetic mice and fearful fish. Just watching a frolicking wolf, a whimpering dog, or a squealing piglet having his tail and testicles cut off without an anaesthetic is enough to convince me that these are emotional beings. The evidence of a single anecdote may not be very scientific, but as philosopher Dale Jamieson says, the plural of anecdote is data. What's more, anecdotes such as those I recount in this article can also inspire new research.
Animal emotions, wild justice and why they matter: Grieving magpies, a pissy baboon, and empathic elephants
Bekoff - Emotion Space and Society, 2009 - mendeley.com
In this article regarding comparative and evolutionary research on animal emotions and morality, the author holds that non-human animals have emotional lives, and considers human emotions as gifts from other animals. Emotions serve as a social glue to bond animals with one another, catalyze and regulate a wide variety of social encounters among friends, lovers, and competitors, and permit animals to behave adaptively and flexibly using various behavior patterns in a wide variety of venues. In addition, emotions are also important in nonsocial situations and influence how humans and other animals relate to their wider environment. The author asserts that non-human animals have a kind of moral intelligence, and presents scientific theory, experimental evidence, and anecdotal evidence to support that view.
Intentionality, Social Play, and Definition
Bekoff - Bekoff/Jamieson, 1996 - books.google.com
Many behavioral biologists consider play an important behavioral phenotype. They have a hard time, however, coming up with a consensus definition of play. Most biologists who have observed mammals in the field can give examples of behaviors they consider to be playful …
SPACE-OUT: graphics programs to study and to simulate space use and movement patterns
Bekoff, Wieland, Lavender - Behavior Research Methods, 1982 - Springer
Recent reviews (Koeppl, Slade, & Hoffmann, 1975; Michener, 1979; Waser & Wiley, 1980, and references therein) have stressed the importance of spatial analyses for furthering our understanding of the ways in which space use and movements within an animal's home …
The question of animal emotions: an ethological perspective
Bekoff - Mental Health and WellBeing in Animals, 2004 - Wiley Online Library
It is hard to watch elephants' remarkable behavior during a family or bond group greeting ceremony, the birth of a new family member, a playful interaction, the mating of a relative, the rescue of a family member, or the arrival of a musth male, and not imagine that they feel …
Group living, natal philopatry, and Lindstroem's lottery: It's all in the family
Bekoff - Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 1987 - en.scientificcommons.org
Group living, natal philopatry, and Lindstrom's lottery: It's all in the family (1987).
Increasing Our Compassion Footprint: The Animals' Manifesto
Bekoff - Zygon, 2008 - Wiley Online Library
Our relationships with animals are wide-ranging. When people tell me that they love animals and then harm or kill them I tell them I'm glad they don't love me. Many individuals, including scientists, ignore their responsibility when they interact with animals and fail to recognize that doing something in the name of science, which usually means in the name of humans, is not an adequate reason for intentionally causing suffering, pain, or death. Good welfare usually is not good enough. Existing regulations allow animals to be treated in regrettable ways that demean us as a species. Compassion is the key for bettering both animal and human lives. A good way to make the world a more compassionate place for animals is to increase our compassion footprint. We could begin by deciding that we will not intrude on animals' lives unless our actions are in the best interests of the animals irrespective of our desires. It is simple to make more compassionate choices about what we eat and wear and how we educate students, conduct research, and entertain ourselves at the expense of animals. The time to make these changes is long overdue. (get pdf)
Feeding behavior in Steller's jays (Cyanocitta stelleri): effects of food type and social context
Bekoff, Allen, Wolfe - Bird Behavior, 12, 1997 - ingentaconnect.com
In this study we analyzed various factors affecting the activities in which Steller's jays (Cyanocitta stelleri) engaged while feeding. We found that the rate of pecking at seeds by jays was affected by available seed type and the presence and activity of nearby conspecifics. Jays at an artificial feeding platform seemed to pay attention to other individuals, in that they pecked at a lower rate when another jay was nearby, except when the otherjay was feeding at a different platform. The decreased feeding rate when twojays shared the same feeding platform is contrary to the widely reported pattern of increased feeding and decreased scanning correlated with increased group size in various species. Our analysis suggests that this pattern of behavior fits with observations that Steller's jays show site-specific dominance, mutual interference at a concentrated food source, and do not live in structured flocks with consistent membership.
Afterward: Ethics and the study of animal cognition
Jamieson, Bekoff - Readings in Animal Cognition, 1996 - books.google.com
In the heyday of logical empiricism (circa 1930-1960), science was seen as the purest of human activities. There was a single thing that was" the scientific method"; observations were distinct from and unaffected by theoretical commitments; theories were "sets of sentences" that made no essential referenc to knowers; explanation and prediction were regarded as formal relations between sentences that in principle could be made mechanical, and all of this theorizing, explaining, and predicting was thought to be uncontaminated by values.
Should scientists bond with the animals who they use? Why not
Bekoff - Psycoloquy, 1993 - en.scientificcommons.org
This volume is a rare find, an edited volume that is worth reading in its entirety. A combination of information from studies on captive and wild animals is needed to come to a fuller understanding of the many different aspects of scientist-animal interactions.
Cunning coyotes: Tireless tricksters, protean predators
Bekoff - Model systems in behavioral ecology, 2001 - books.google.com
Coyotes (Canis latrans) are amazing carnivores. They are many things to many people. They wear many faces that affect different people in different ways. They are victims of their own success.
Breeding behavior of evening grosbeaks
Bekoff - Condor, 1991 - JSTOR
From 1983-1987 we studied the breeding behavior of Evening Grosbeaks (Coccothraustes vespertinus) living in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. These birds were typically monogamous; at only one of 64 nests (1.6%) was polygny documented. Reproductive behaviors performed by adult males and females were first analyzed across all mating seasons and then with respect to five consecutive nest stages (build/egg laying, incubate, brood, brood/fledge, fledge) and the outcome (success or failure) of individual nests. Adult males and females contributed unequally to the ten most frequently observed behaviors; half were performed almost exclusively by one or the other sex. Males typically fed and protected their mates and what we presumed to be their young; whereas females usually built the nest, incubated, brooded, and also fed their young. Feeding, soft calling from the perch, and fecal removal were performed relatively equally by adult males and females. The success or failure of nests was not associated with patterns of parental behavior. Our results indicate that Evening Grosbeaks formed a partnership in which they divided the effort involved in nest preparation and raising the young at the high altitude where this population was observed.
Functional aspects of play as revealed by structural components and social interaction patterns
Bekoff - Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1982 - Cambridge Univ Press
Functional aspects of play as revealed by structural components and social interaction patterns.
Where's the brain? Geometric and cognitive underpinnings of group-size effects on vigilance
Bekoff - Behavioural processes, 2003 - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Where's the brain? Geometric and cognitive underpinnings of group-size effects on vigilance.
Life-history patterns and sociality in canids: body size, reproduction, and behavior
Bekoff, Diamond - Oecologia, 1981 - Springer
Empirical associations among co-adapted traits such as body size and patterns of reproduction, development, and behavior are unknown for most animal species, despite numerous theories suggesting otherwise. One way to study these complex relationships is first to consider closely related species and then to generalize findings to other groups. In the present study, relationships among body size, reproductive patterns, development, and sociality were examined in 17 members of the family Canidae (canids). Large canids are more social than smaller species, and offspring of large species achieve independence and tend to breed first at a later age. Large females give birth to absolutely larger young, but relative to their own body weight they allocate fewer resources to bringing a large pup to term. Overall, sexual dimorphism in size is small to moderate, and this is associated with monogamous mating habits and paternal care of young.
Science, religion, cooperation, and social morality
BEKOFF - BioScience, 2001 - JSTOR
Few scientists and religious scholars have seriously pondered how science and religion can be reconciled. But times are changing. Not long ago I attended two meetings that brought together scientists, theologians, and religious scholars to discuss just that issue. The first gathering was part of the Science and the Spiritual Quest II program () sponsored by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley, California. The other was organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Participants at both of these meetings spoke freely about science (evolutionary biology, ethology, neuroscience, anthropology, psychology), theology, religion, and God, and made a lot of progress in their interdisciplinary efforts to address the confluence of religion and science. Social morality is a subject at the intersection of religion and science, one that can unite people from different disciplines. Many peoplelaymen, theologians, scientistswonder whether some nonhuman animal beings (hereafter animals) have codes of social conduct that regulate their behavior during social encounters. Charles Darwin's ideas about evolutionary continuitythat behavioral, cognitive (intellectual), and emotional variations among different species are differences in degree rather than in kindare often invoked in such exercises.
But is it research? What price interdisciplinary interests?
Bekoff - Biology and Philosophy, 1994 - Springer
That interdisciplinary work has become the rule, rather than the exception, in many branches of science and in many areas of the humanities, is a gross understatement. One needs only to consider the rifles of various journals, the names of various professional societies, or peruse the shelves of book stores to see that interdisciplinary interests abound.
A method for the analysis of activity and spatial relations in animal groups
Bekoff, Corcoran - Behavior Research Methods, 1975 - Springer
Scientists interested in animal social organization frequently need to ask questions concerning the interindiual spatial relations among members of a group (the use of space), but often omit consideration of the ways in which interindividual spatial relations and individual activity patterns are related to one another.
Considering Animals Not Higher Primates
Bekoff - Zygon, 2003
In this essay I argue that many nonhuman animal beings are conscious and have some sense of self. Rather than ask whether they are conscious, I adopt an evolutionary perspective and ask why consciousness and a sense of self evolved - what are they good for? Comparative studies of animal cognition, ethological investigations that explore what it is like to be a certain animal, are useful for answering this question. Charles Darwin argued that the differences in cognitive abilities and emotions among animals are differences in degree rather than differences in kind, and his view cautions against the unyielding claim that humans, and perhaps other great apes and cetaceans, are the only species in which a sense of self-awareness has evolved. I conclude that there are degrees of consciousness and self among animals and that it is likely that no animal has the same highly developed sense of self as that displayed by most humans. Many animals have a sense of body-ness or mine-ness but not a sense of I-ness. Darwin's ideas about evolutionary continuity, together with empirical data (science sense) and common sense, will help us learn more about consciousness and self in animals. Answers to challenging questions about animal self-awareness have wide-ranging significance, because they are often used as the litmus test for determining and defending the sorts of treatments to which animals can be morally subjected. (get pdf)
Animal play and behavioral diversity
Bekoff - The American Naturalist, 1975 - JSTOR
Fagen's (1974) recent paper concerning selective and evolutionary aspects of animal play provides very interesting reading for those scientists interested in this category of behavior.
Ignoring nature: Why we do it, the dire consequences, and the need for a paradigm shift to Save animals, habitats, and ourselves
Bekoff, Bexell - Human Ecology Review, 2010 - humanecologyreview.org
We live in a wounded world that is in dire need of healing. We all should be troubled and terrified by what we have done and continue to do. Humans have made huge and horrific global messes that need to be repaired now. The overrid- ing sense of turmoil is apparent to anyone who takes the time to pay attention. Researchers and non-researchers alike are extremely concerned about unprecedented global losses of biodiversity and how humans suffer because of our destruc- tive ways. We are animals and we should be proud and aware of our membership in the animal kingdom. However, our unique contribution to the decimation of the planet and its many life forms demeans us. (get pdf)
Minding animals, minding earth: Science, nature, kinship, and heart
Bekoff - Human Ecology Review, 2003 - humanecologyreview.org
This paper emphasizes the importance of broadening behavioral, ecological, and conservation science into a more integrative, interdisciplinary, socially responsible, compassionate, spiritual, and holistic endeavor.2,3 I will stress the significance of studies of animal behavior, especially ethological research concerned with animal emotions, in which individuals are named and recognized for their own personalities and temperaments, for helping us not only to learn about the nonhuman animal beings (hereafter animals) with whom we share Earth, but also for learning about who we are, our place in Nature, our humanness. We can be best understood in relationship to others. I will also develop the notions of minding animals and deep ethology. Animals are a way of knowing; sources of wisdom. I am an optimist, a hopeful human being. I never say never. I ache with the pains of other beings and also feel pangs when I feel inanimate landscapes being destroyed. Surely we do not want to be remembered as the generation that killed Nature. Now is the time for everyone to work for universal planetary peace. There is no alternative to world peace and we must sow seeds without hesitation to accom- plish this urgent goal. It is essential that we do better than our ancestors. No one could argue that a world with significantly less, rather, no cruelty and boundless compassion, respect, grace, humility, spirituality, peace, and love would not be a better world in which to live and raise our children and theirs. We are all citizens of Earth, members of a global community in which intimate reciprocal and beneficent peaceful relationships are mandatory. We have compelling responsibilities for making Earth a better and more peaceful habitat for all beings. Time is not on our side. We must reflect and step lightly as we redecorate Nature. I yearn for a seamless tapestry of oneness, a warm blan- ket, a soul-scape, of deep and reciprocal friendships in which all individuals count, a single community in which individuals are at one with all others, in which the seer and the seen are one, a community in which it feels good and makes indi- viduals happy to be kind to others. My own dreams and spirituality are based on a deep and passionate drive for reconciliation, a seamless unity a wholeness and oneness motivated by trust, compassion, respect, grace, humility, and love. I plead for developing heartfelt and holistic science that allows for fun, joy, and play, along with interdisciplinary talk about kindness, generosity, compassion, respect, grace, humility, spirituality, peace, and love. Science need not be suspicious of things it cannot fully understand. We must never avert our eyes or our other senses from the eyes and voices of all other beings, our kin, our friends, who urgently beg for and truly need our immediate, uncompromising, and uncon- ditional aid and love. We are obliged not to do so. We certainly can do much more than we have done for animals and Earth. (get pdf)
Predatory Strategies and Behavioral Diversity
Bekoff - American Biology Teacher, 1983 - eric.ed.gov
Briefly discusses the view that behavior may be thought of as a phenotypic adaptation that can be quantitatively studied, and then considered in more detail ways in which predatory animals, especially mammals, satisfy their need for food. Topics covered include predatory behavior, hunting modes, prey selection, hunting success, and others. (JN)
The view from Japan
Bekoff, Goodall - Nature, 2001 - nature.com
The past decade has seen enormous growth in the study of animal cognition. Anecdotal reports and detailed observational experiments abound for many species and for diverse cognitive skills.
Action in Cognitive Ethology
Bekoff - A Companion to the Philosophy of Action, 2010 - Wiley Online Library
Understanding the actions that animals perform during different contexts is central to learning about what animals know, desire, intend, believe, and feel. While philosophical discussions of action theory focus almost exclusively on humans, there is quite a lot of information …
The great divide
Bekoff - A review of Wynne, 2004 - americanscientist.org
Do animals think? Well, surely some do, you may think. And an increasing number of researchers across disciplines would agree with you: They are trying to determine hownot whetheranimals consciously process information about their social and nonsocial environments. What is going on in the minds of animals? Do they have desires and beliefs? Zealots abound at both ends of a spectrum that ranges from those who believe that animals are merely thoughtless robotic automatons to those who argue that all are thinking creatures with rich cognitive lives. I imagine that the truth lies somewhere in the middle: A number of animals have the capacity for thinking about certain situations and showing flexible, adaptable behavior, whereas others may behave reflexively, with little or no thought at all.
Integrating Values and Ethics into Wildlife Policy and Management Lessons from North America
Fox, Bekoff - Animals, 2011 - mdpi.com
Few animals provoke as wide a range of emotions as wolves. Some see wolves as icons of a lost wilderness; others see them as intruders. As the battle continues between wolf proponents and opponents, finding solutions that resolve conflicts while supporting the integrity of nature is challenging. In this essay we argue that we need to make room for wolves and other native carnivores who are re-colonizing areas from which they were extirpated. Strategies that foster coexistence are necessary and wildlife agencies must consider all stakeholders and invest adequate resources to inform the public about how to mitigate conflicts between people/domestic animals, and predators. Values and ethics must be woven into wildlife policy and management and we must be willing to ask difficult ethical questions and learn from past mistakes. (get pdf)