Bekoff, Marc 1945-
BEKOFF, Marc 1945-
Born September 6, 1945, in Brooklyn, NY. Education: Washington University, A.B., 1967, Ph.D. (animal behavior), 1972; Hofstra University, M.A., 1968. Hobbies and other interests: Cycling, skiing, hiking, reading spy novels, cooking.
Home—296 Canyonside Dr., Boulder, CO 80302. Office—Department of EPO Biology, University of Colorado-Boulder, P.O. Box 334, Boulder, CO 80309-0334. E-mail—[email protected].
Educator, writer, and editor. University of Missouri, St. Louis, assistant professor of biology, 1973-74; University of Colorado-Boulder, professor of organismic biology. Coordinator of Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots program; co-founder of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; affiliated with Science and the Spiritual Quest program and American Association for the Advancement of Science program on science, ethics, and religion. Member, board of directors, of Cougar Fund; member of advisory board, SINAPU.
Animal Behavior Society, American Society of Zoologists, American Society of Mammalogists.
Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellow, 1981; Exemplar Award, Animal Behavior Society, 2000, for major long-term contributions to the field of animal behavior.
(With Jim Carrier) Nature's Life Lessons: Everyday Truths from Nature, illustrated by Marjorie C. Leggitt, Fulcrum (Golden, CO), 1996.
(With Colin Allen) Species of Mind: The Philosophy and Biology of Cognitive Ethology, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1997.
Strolling with Our Kin: Speaking for and Respecting Voiceless Animals (children's book), foreword by Jane Goodall, American Anti-Vivisection Society (Jenkintown, PA), 2000.
(With Jane Goodall) The Ten Trusts: What We Must Do to Care for the Animals, HarperSanFrancisco (San Francisco, CA), 2002.
Coyotes: Biology, Behavior, and Management, Academic Press (New York, NY), 1978.
(With Gordon M. Burghardt) The Development of Behavior: Comparative and Aspects, Garland STPM Press (New York, NY), 1978.
(With Dale Jamieson) Interpretation and Explanation in the Study of Behavior, two volumes, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1990.
(With Dale Jamieson) Readings in Animal Cognition, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1996.
(With John A. Byers) Animal Play: Evolutionary, Comparative, and Ecological Perspectives, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Carron A. Meaney) Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1998.
(With Colin Allen and George Lauder) Nature's Purposes: Analyses of Function and Design Biology, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.
The Smile of a Dolphin: Remarkable Accounts of Animal Emotions, Discovery Books (New York, NY), 2000.
(With Colin Allen and Gordon M. Burghardt) The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.
Bekoff's children's book, Strolling with Our Kin, has been translated in Italian, German, and Chinese.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Wild Justice and Fair Play: Cooperation, Forgiveness, and Morality in Animals, a book on the evolution of cooperation and morality in animals; editor of three-volume Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior.
Dubbed by a reviewer for Publishers Weekly a "modern-day Dr. Dolittle who seeks to raise the level of human compassion toward animals," Marc Bekoff has authored or edited numerous books that help to prove that so-called lower animals exhibit what are thought of as human thought processes as well as emotions such as grief, fear, anger, love, and even compassion. "Basically, I am an animal rights advocate/activist with deep concerns about all animals, plants, bodies of water, the air we breathe, outer space, and inanimate landscapes," noted Bekoff on AnaFlora. com. Bekoff, a professor of organismic biology at the University of Colorado-Boulder, is a well-respected authority in his field who conducts research in animal behavior, cognitive ethology—the study of animal minds—and behavioral ecology. The author, coauthor, or editor of fourteen works on animal behavior and rights, as well as over 150 professional papers, Bekoff has had his work featured in national publications such as Time and Life, and on television programs from Nature to Discovery TV.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1945, Bekoff earned his doctorate in animal behavior from Washington University. While taking up teaching duties at various universities, ultimately leading to his position as a professor at Colorado, he began publishing both articles and books on animal behavior and cognition. His first editorial effort, Coyotes: Biology, Behavior, and Management, collected a variety of articles on canid biology. A reviewer for Choice recommended the book for anyone wishing to "have an up-to-date encyclopedia on the coyote." Similarly, James Malcolm, reviewing Coyotes in Science, wrote that "both the authors and editor can be complimented on the consistently high standards of clarity and thoroughness maintained in the book."
Bekoff's subsequent editing tasks were likewise praised by critics. Reviewing his two-volume collection, Interpretation and Explanation in the Study ofAnimal Behavior, Susan A. Foster, writing in Quarterly Review of Biology, noted that "it is my impression that the success of these volumes can be attributed, in large part, to the very high quality of editing." Foster went on to conclude, "The editors have done a fine job of compiling an interdisciplinary collection of essays on animal behavior." Many of the articles from those volumes were later collected in Readings in Animal Cognition, "a fine book, edited with care and comprised of thoughtful authors, each of whom argues compellingly for attention to major theoretical and practical issues," according to Craig Howard Kinsley in Science Books and Films. Herbert L. Roitblat, reviewing the collection in American Journal of Psychology, also found that "the book does an excellent job of presenting cognitive ethology in a way that makes clear its underlying assumptions and the issues that surround those assumptions." Animal Play: Evolutionary, Comparative, and Ecological Perspectives similarly won critical praise. This collection of studies on play behavior in a variety of animals, including man, was a "mental stimulus for students who are perhaps too narrowly entrenched in some research," according to F. S. Szalay in Choice. Summing up the thrust of the book in a New Scientist review, Gail Vines noted that "insights into the wellsprings of emotional health may come from a better understanding of how and why play has evolved in the animal kingdom." Peter H. Klopfer, however, reviewing Animal Play in Quarterly Review of Biology, faulted the contributors for not defining play. "Absent an all-encompassing and operational definition of play, there is little in this volume that offers the kind of evolutionary perspective that the editors desire to develop," Klopfer wrote. Lee C. Drickamer in American Zoologist was more positive, noting that the editors did a "commendable job" of stating the main themes, and that the book as a whole also "does a fine job of providing the reader with snapshots of where we stand with respect to key questions about play behavior."
With Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare, Bekoff, in team with Carron A. Meaney, gathers 170 essays from a wide range of professional researchers in numerous fields to present a "welcome multidisciplinary approach that shows us the extensive roles nonhuman animals play in virtually all areas of our lives," according to Library Journal's Peggie Partello. A Booklist contributor felt that, while "not encyclopedic," this volume "does have good descriptions of the animal rights movement, especially its impact on some types of medical research." Choice's W. P. Hogan also found the book to be an "excellent contribution to the literature of animal rights and animal welfare."
The Smile of a Dolphin: Remarkable Accounts of Animal Emotions is another catalogue of animal behavior, in this case first-person accounts accompanied by "awe-evoking color photographs," as Karen Sokol described them in School Library Journal, which are intended to demonstrate that animals exhibit a wide range of emotional states. Sokol also called the text to the book a "treasure." Laura Tangley in U.S. News and World Report noted the evidence—both anecdotal and "hard" science—for the existence of animal emotions such as joy and grief, but also asked, rhetorically, "What difference does it really make?" Answering her own question, Tangley noted that "Bekoff, for one, hopes that greater understanding of what animals are feeling will spur more stringent rules on how animals should be treated, everywhere from zoos and circuses to farms and backyards."
As an author, Bekoff has also examined the emotional and cognitive states of animals. His Species of Mind, written with Colin Allen, is an argument for the existence of "conscious states to nonhuman organisms," according to Gary Purpura and Richard Samuels in British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. The same reviewers concluded that "there is much in Species of Mind that should be of interest to philosophers." In Minding Animals: Awareness, Emotions, and Healing, Bekoff tackles these subjects head on. "Bekoff has a talent for making his points by leading readers through the evidence for and against an issue and guiding them to a conclusion," noted Booklist's Nancy Bent. Some, however, found Bekoff's anecdotal approach questionable. M. S. Grace, for example, writing in Choice, thought Minding Animals a "sickly sweet collection of stories." "Bekoff admits that his views are not held by the majority of scientists, but are gaining support," wrote a critic for Science News. Bekoff has also noted, as Tangley quoted, "'The plural of anecdote is data.'" E. S. Turner, writing in the Times Literary Supplement, acknowledged both sides of this critical divide, calling Bekoff's work an "oddly arranged, multifaceted book, stimulating and exasperating by turns." Rebecca Sanderman, reviewing Minding Animals in M2 Best Books, had more unqualified praise, calling it a "thoroughly engaging book about animals."
Bekoff has also teamed up with the well-known primatologist, Jane Goodall, to present a short course on what each individual can do to help treat animals better. Their The Ten Trusts: What We Must Do to Care for the Animals We Love is an "inspiring book," according to Partello in Library Journal. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly called the book a "prescriptive plan designed to protect animals as well as help educate people about the importance of saving both animals and the environment." Similarly, Booklist's Donna Seaman found The Ten Trusts to be "an accessible, compelling, and important expose."
"Compassion begets compassion, cruelty begets cruelty," Bekoff told an interviewer for AnaFlora.com. "What we give we will ultimately receive. Nonhumans help make us human—they teach us respect, compassion, and unconditional love. When we mistreat animals we mistreat ourselves. When we destroy animal spirits and souls we destroy our own spirits and souls. The integrity and well-being of the universe depends on fostering and maintaining reciprocal and deep relationships and interconnections with all life."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Journal of Psychology, winter, 1997, Herbert L. Roitblat, review of Readings in Animal Cognition, pp. 641-646.
American Scientist, January-February, 1999, Lee Alan Dugatkin, review of Animal Play: Evolutionary, Comparative, and Ecological Perspectives, pp. 86-87.
American Zoologist, December, 1998, Klaus Zuberbuhler, review of Species of Mind: The Philosophy and Biology of Cognitive Ethology, p. 983; April, 1999, Lee C. Drickamer, review of Animal Play, p. 463.
BioScience, March 1999, Laura Perini, review of Nature's Purposes: Analyses of Function and Design Biology, pp. 243-245.
Booklist, September 15, 1998, review of Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare, p. 260; April 1, 2002, Nancy Bent, review of Minding Animals: Awareness, Emotions, and Heart, p. 1288; September 1, 2002, Donna Seaman, review of The Ten Trusts: What We Must Do to Care for the Animals, p. 3.
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, June, 2000, Gary Purpura and Richard Samuels, review of Species of Mind, pp. 375-380.
Choice, September, 1978, review of Coyotes: Biology, Behavior, and Management, p. 901; November, 1998, W. P. Hogan, review of Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare, p. 496; F. S. Szalay, review of Animal Play, p. 547; November, 2002, M. S. Grace, review of Minding Animals, p. 493.
Library Journal, April 15, 1998, Peggie Partello, review of Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare, p. 68; November 1, 2001, John M. Kistler, review of Strolling with Our Kin: Speaking for and Respecting Voiceless Animals, p. 59; October 15, 2002, review of The Ten Trusts, p. 91.
M2 Best Books, October 18, 2002, Rebecca Sanderman, review of Minding Animals.
New Scientist, August 29, 1998, Gail Vines, review of Animal Play, p. 41.
Publishers Weekly, August 14, 2000, review of Strolling with Our Kin, p. 346; July 22, 2002, review of The Ten Trusts, p. 165.
Quarterly Review of Biology, March, 1992, Susan A. Foster, review of Interpretation and Explanation in the Study of Animal Behavior, pp. 67-68; March, 1997, Stephen J. Clark, review of Readings in Animal Cognition, p. 110; June, 1999, Peter H. Klopfer, review of Animal Play, p. 250; September, 1999, Heather Williams, review of Species of Mind, p. 367; December, 1999, Peter C. Wainwright, review of Nature's Purposes, p. 458.
School Library Journal, February, 2001, Karen Sokol, review of The Smile of a Dolphin: Remarkable Accounts of Animal Emotions, p. 144.
Science, October 27, 1978, James Malcolm, review of Coyotes, p. 424; August 14, 1998, R. McN. Alexander, review of Nature's Purposes, p. 924.
Science Books and Films, June, 1996, Craig Howard Kinsley, review of Readings in Animal Cognition, p. 135.
Science News, July 20, 2002, review of Minding Animals, p. 47.
Times Literary Supplement, October 11, 2002, E. S. Turner, review of Minding Animals, p. 32.
U.S. News and World Report, October 30, 2000, Laura Tangley, "Animal Emotions," p. 48.
Animal Protection Institute,http://www.api4animals.org/ (March 26, 2003), Camilla H. Fox, review of Strolling with Our Kin.
Cambridge University Press Web site,http://www.cup/ (March 26, 2003).
Ethological Ethics Web site,http://www.ethologicalethics.org/ (September 18, 2003).
Marc Bekoff Home page, http://www.literati.net/Bekoff (September 18, 2003).
Spirituality and Health Web site,http://www.spiritualityhealth.com/ (March 26, 2003), Frederic Brussart and Mary Ann Brussart, review of The Ten Trusts.*