Thursday, 26 December 2013

Ignoring Nature No More: The State of the Animals 2013 (Op-Ed)

Marc Bekoff, emeritus professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is one of the world's pioneering cognitive ethologists, a Guggenheim Fellow, and co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Bekoff's latest book is Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed (New World Library, 2013). This essay is adapted from one that appeared in Bekoff's column Animal Emotions in Psychology Today. He contributed this article to LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Denise Herzing's recently gave a TED talk entitled "If We Could Talk To the Animals" about the clearly smart and emotional dolphins she and her team study. Her talk made me think of an incredible number of larger themes and "big" questions centering on the fascinating lives of the other animals with whom we share our magnificent planet. It also made me think about the rapidly growing cross-disciplinary field of anthrozoology, the study of human-animal relationships, and how much there is to learn. This past year was remarkable in terms of what we learned about the cognitive, emotional and moral lives of nonhuman animals (animals).

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