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Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues

Reflections on Redecorating Nature

Marc Bekoff

Publication Year: 2006

What is it really like to be a dog? Do animals experience emotions like pleasure, joy, and grief? Marc Bekoff's work 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 successfully within their social community. Bekoff's work, whether addressed to scientists or the general public, demonstrates that investigations into animal thought, emotions, self-awareness, behavioral ecology, and conservation biology can be compassionate as well as scientifically rigorous.In Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues, Bekoff brings together essays on his own ground-breaking research and on what scientists know about the remarkable range and flexibility of animal behavior. His fascinating and often amusing observations of dogs, wolves, coyotes, prairie dogs, elephants, and other animals playing, leaving and detecting scent-marks ("yellow snow"), solving problems, and forming friendships challenge the idea that science and the ethical treatment of animals are incompatible.

Published by: Temple University Press


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

"ANIMAL PASSIONS AND BEASTLY VIRTUES is a collection of essays by Marc Bekoff. It is a book for scientists and nonscientists alike. Academic readers will be intellectually stimulated by many of the discussions, and lay people will be fascinated and often inspired. The writing is clear, so even complex subjects can be readily understood by the general public."

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pp. 1-22

"My wonderful parents love to recall many stories about my life-long interest in animals. My father remembers, with a wide smile, that on a ski trip when I was six years old I asked him what a red fox was feeling as he merrily crossed our path as we traversed a frozen lake. When I recently visited my parents in Florida, my father reminded me that I was in awe of the magnificence of the fox’s red coat and white-tipped tail and lost track of where..."

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pp. 23-34

"ONE OF THE HOTTEST FIELDS in the study of animal behavior is the study of animal minds—what they are like and what is in them. Researchers in many disciplines are asking questions such as 'What is it like to be a specific animal?' 'What does it feel like to be that animal?' and 'What do animals know about themselves, other individuals, and their environment?'

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1 Beastly Passions

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pp. 35-39

"IT STARTED WITH A TOUCH. Soon Butch and Aphro were slowly caressing. Then they rolled together and embraced, locking flippers, before rolling back again. For perhaps three minutes, the two southern right whales lay side-by-side, ejecting water through their blow holes. The cetaceans then swam off, touching, surfacing and diving in unison. As he watched, Bernd W

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2 Cognitive Ethology: The Comparative Study of Animal Minds

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pp. 40-49

"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, diverse disciplines, including those interested in..."

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3 On Aims and Methods of Cognitive Ethology

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pp. 50-65

"In 1963 Niko Tinbergen published a paper, 'On Aims and Methods of Ethology,' dedicated to his friend Konrad Lorenz. This essay is a landmark in the development of ethology. Here Tinbergen defines ethology as 'the biological study of behavior' and seeks to demonstrate the 'close affinity between Ethology and the rest of Biology' (p. 411). Building on Huxley (1942), Tinbergen..."

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4 Reflections on Animal Selves

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pp. 66-76

"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, ..."

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pp. 77-85

"The essays in Part II are concerned with various aspects of the social behavior and behavioral ecology of coyotes and dogs, apart from social play, which is the subject of the next section. They highlight the importance of comparative research, covering such topics as social organization and behavioral ecology, social communication, behavioral flexibility, the behavioral biology of feral dogs, scent marking, and the processes of ..."

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5 The Social Ecology of Coyotes

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pp. 86-98

"Motion-picture films about the American West almost always depict coyotes in the same way, as solitary animals howling mournfully on the top of a distant hill. In reality, coyotes are protean creatures that display a wide range of behavior. They are characterized by highly variable modes of social organization, ranging from solitary (except for the breeding season) and transient individuals to gregarious and stable groups that may live in the..."

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6 Population and Social Biology of Free-Ranging Domestic Dogs, Canis familiaris

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pp. 99-111

"SOCIAL ORGANIZATION REFERS to the spatial relationships, group composition, and patterns of social interaction among individuals, and the overall manner in which these variables interact to characterize a population (Bekoff and Wells, 1986). Among carnivores, intraspecific variation in social organization often is a response to the quantity and distribution of local food..."

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7 Ground Scratching by Male Domestic Dogs: A Composite Signal?

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pp. 112-115

"While mammalian scent marking and the significance of various chemical deposits (e.g., urine, feces, saliva, glandular secretions) in social communication has generated considerable interest (Birch, 1974; Eisenbergand Kleiman, 1972; Johnson, 1973; M

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8 Observations of Scent-Marking and Discriminating Selffrom Others by a Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris): Tales of Displaced Yellow Snow

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pp. 116-122

"Despite much interest in scent-marking by carnivores (Bekoff 1979a,b; Bekoffand Wells 1986; Gese and Ruff 1997; Allen et al. 1999 and references therein), there have been few experimental field studies of the phenomenon, and none such as the one described here in which clumps of urine-saturated snow (‘yellow snow’) were moved from one place to another to compare the responses..."

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pp. 123-133

"IN PART II, we saw that dogs are extraordinary animals from whom we can learn much about comparative and evolutionary aspects of social behavior, social organization, and behavioral ecology. Dogs also are wonderful animals to study in our quest to learn more about the details and complexity of social play, as well as to develop a more complete understanding..."

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9 Social Communication in Canids: Evidence for the Evolution of a Stereotyped Mammalian Display

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pp. 134-139

"DESPITE A HISTORY of considerable interest in animal social communication (1–3), few data are available on the “anatomy” or form of signals that are used. Indeed, one of the basic concepts of classical ethology, the 'fixed' action pattern, rarely has been studied quantitatively (4–7). The form of visual displays has been studied quantitatively in invertebrates, lizards, and birds..."

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10 Virtuous Nature

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pp. 140-143

"IF YOU THINK that we are the only creatures on Earth with a moral sense, then you’re in good company. Most experts in behaviour believe that morality is a uniquely human trait, without which our complex social life would never have emerged. I disagree. Accuse me of anthropomorphising if you like, but I’m convinced that many animals can distinguish right from..."

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11 Wild Justice, Cooperation, and Fair Play: Minding Manners, Being Nice, and Feeling Good

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pp. 144-176

"IN THIS PAPER I argue that we can learn much about 'wild justice' and the evolutionary origins of social morality—behaving fairly—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..."

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pp. 177-181

"Our relationships with other animals raise numerous and complicated issues about who we are in the grand scheme of things, and big questions about how we should treat the other animal beings with whom we share Earth. As we intrude here and there, are we guardians, responsible researchers, responsible stewards, or conquerors? Our relationships with other animals range from fairly straightforward and symmetrical, especially with..."

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12 Human (Anthropogenic) Effects on Animal Behavior

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pp. 182-191

"HUMANS ARE HERE, there, and everywhere. We are a curious lot, and our intrusions, intentional and inadvertent, have significant impacts on a wide variety of animals and plants, as well as water, the atmosphere, and inanimate landscapes. When humans influence the behavior of animals the effects are referred to as being “anthropogenic” in origin. Often our influence on the..."

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13 Translocation Effects on the Behavior of Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus)

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pp. 192-196

"Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are native to The Great Plains region of North America. Since the spread of agriculture and ranching on their former range, prairie dogs have been subjected to intense government extermination programs (Clark 1979). They now occupy only a small percentage of their former range: 600,000 hectares in 1960, compared to..."

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14 Interactions Among Dogs, People, and the Environment in Boulder, Colorado: A Case Study

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pp. 197-208

"Across the United States and in many other countries there is growing interest in how human and nonhuman animals (hereafter animals) can best share space that can be used by all parties for recreational purposes (see Knight and Gutzwiller 1995 for review). Although concern often focuses on the mutual well-being of humans and animals, when..."

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15 Behavioral Interactions and Conflict Among Domestic Dogs, Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs, and People in Boulder, Colorado

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pp. 209-218

"World-wide there is growing interest in how human and non-human animals (hereafter animals) can best share what is becoming a limited resource, namely space that can be used by all parties for a variety of activities (see Knight and Gutzwiller 1995 for review). In Boulder, Colorado (USA) and other locales, among the numerous issues regarding land use is the concern that..."

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pp. 219-224

"Discussions about ethics and animals make many people squirm. Surely, they exclaim, there are more important and less difficult things to talk about. More important, no; less difficult, certainly. While ignorance may be bliss, ignoring questions about our ethical responsibilities to animals compromises not only their lives and our integrity, but also the quality of scientific research. And questions about ethics and animals will not go away, even if..."

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16 The Importance of Ethics in Conservation Biology: Let’s Be Ethicists Not Ostriches

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pp. 225-232

"There can be no question that ethics is an essential component in animal conservation biology. For that matter, ethics is very important in all conservation projects, including those that deal with botanical, aquatic, atmospheric, and inanimate environs. As I write this short piece I find myself asking isn’t this so obvious that you’re merely preaching to the choir? Well, yes and no."

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17 Ethics and the Study of Carnivores: Doing Science While Respecting Animals

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pp. 232-262

"The human relationship to nature is a deeply ambiguous one. Human animals are both a part of nature and distinct from it. They are part of nature in the sense that, like other forms of life, they were brought into existence by natural processes, and, like other forms of life, they are dependent on their environment for survival and success. Yet humans are also reflective animals with sophisticated cultural systems. Because of their immense power..."

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Afterword: Minding Animals, Minding Earth–Old Brains in New Bottlenecks

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pp. 263-276

"Humans are part of nature. We do not stand above or to the side of other beings or natural processes. There is no duality, no 'them' and 'us.' If we try to separate our reality from that of other nature and Earth, a division results that causes much discontent and discord, for it is so very unnatural. I find it settling—very relaxing—to situate myself in nature and to sense and..."


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pp. 277-290


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pp. 291-305

E-ISBN-13: 9781592133499
Print-ISBN-13: 9781592133482

Publication Year: 2006