The Emotional Lives of Animals by Marc Bekoff

A summary of Marc's research on animal emotions titled The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy and Why They Matter was published in March 2007 by New World Library and he is currently completing a book on the evolution of moral behavior with Jessica Pierce titled Wild Justice: Reflections on Empathy, Fair Play, and Morality in Animals for the University of Chicago Press. Any dog owner knows that her own pet has feelings, but what evidence exists beyond the anecdotal, and what does this evidence teach us? Bekoff, professor emeritus of biology at the University of Colorado, pores through decades of animal research-behavioral, neurochemical, psychological and environmental- to answer that question, compelling readers to accept both the existence and significance of animal emotions.

Seated in the most primitive structures of the brain (pleasure receptors, for example, are biologically correlative in all mammals), emotions have a long evolutionary history. Indeed, as vertebrates became more complex, they developed ever more complex emotional and social lives, “setting rules” that permit group living- a far better survival strategy than going solo.

Along the way, Bekoff forces the reader to re-examine the nature of human beings; our species could not have perservered through the past 100,000 years without the evolution of strong and cohesive social relationships cemented with emotions, a conclusion contrary to contemporary pop sociology notions that prioritize individualism and competition. He also explores, painfully but honestly, the abuse animals regularly withstand in factory farms, research centers and elsewhere, and calls on fellow scientists to practice their discipline with “heart”.

Demonstrating the far-reaching implications for readers’ relationships with any number of living beings, Bekoff’s book is profound, thought-provoking and even touching.

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The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy – and Why They Matter by by Marc Bekoff (Author), Jane Goodall (Foreword)

Marc Bekoff, APES Advisory Board with his friend Willie more information, please visit

Bio Continued: Marc’s work has been featured on 48 Hours, in Time Magazine, Life Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, The New York Times, New Scientist, BBC Wildlife, Orion, Scientific American, Ranger Rick, National Geographic Kids, on NPR, BBC, Fox, Natur GEO, in a National Geographic Society television special (“Play: The Nature of the Game”), in Discovery TV’s “Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry,” and in Animal Planet’s “The Power of Play” and National Geographic Society’s “Hunting in America.” Marc has also appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, and 20/20.

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by Marc Bekoff
Marc Bekoff is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society and a former Guggenheim Fellow. In 2000 he was awarded the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society for major long-term contributions to the field of animal behavior. Marc is also regional coordinator for Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots program, in which he works with students of all ages, senior citizens and prisoners, and also is a member of the Ethics Committee of the Jane Goodall Institute. He and Jane co-founded the organization Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: Citizens for Responsible Animal Behavior Studies in 2000.