Is It Possible to Be Just Terrified Enough This COVID Halloween?

A Biologist of Animal Behavior Explains Why This Primordial Emotion Can Help Guide Us Through an Especially Spooky Season

It’s Halloween, the season when we go out and try to spook each other—at least in normal years. Indeed, fears of contracting and spreading the novel coronavirus have drastically impacted many of our Halloween plans. Should they? And more importantly, how do our fears impact our behavior to make us safe? I’m a biologist who studies animal behavior—including what scares creatures ranging from giant clams and other immobile marine invertebrates to a variety of birds and mammals, and why. Animals’ responses to frightening things—reactions that have helped species survive over …

In Bad Times, Every Dog Is a ‘Very Good Dog’ | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

In Bad Times, Every Dog Is a ‘Very Good Dog’

As Dogs Help Us Weather the Emotions of a Global Pandemic, We Should Reconsider What We Owe Them

I have found myself looking at Bella with great envy these past few weeks. As I try to tamp down my panic and get work done, Bella naps in her …

The Real Heroes of the Overland Trail Were the Oxen | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Oxen Were the Unheralded Heroes of America’s Overland Trails

Over Long Journeys, Westward Migrants Came to Love the 'Noble' Animals They Depended on

Between 1840 and 1869, approximately 300,000 people crossed the United States on their way to settle in Oregon, find gold in California, or practice religion as they desired in …

Have You Ever Stared Into an Alpaca’s Soul?

Photographer Traer Scott Views Livestock as Individuals Rather Than Numbers

Have you ever felt the direct, penetrating gaze of an alpaca? Or admired the symmetry of a sheep’s fuzzy nose? Or rued the fact that you had never stroked a …

Why Groundhog Day Now Elevates Science Over Superstition

For a UCLA Biologist, Celebrating the Lowly Marmot Could Shed Light on Global Warming

I am a scientist who loves Groundhog Day, that least scientific of holidays. Every February, as Punxsutawney Phil shakes the dust off his coat, emerges from his burrow, glances …

Coyotes Are Just Like Hipsters

They Come to the City for the Good Life, and They Eat Your Rats

Everyone in America has a coyote story. Or if you don’t, give it time. You will.

The tawny, golden-eyed, sharp-nosed wild dog of the American deserts is now our backyard …