Barbara J King

Anthropology Professor, Science Writer, College of William and Mary

Barbara J King is emerita professor of anthropology at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. She is the author of seven books, most recently How Animals Grieve (2013), Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat (2017) and Animals’ Best Friends: Putting Compassion to Work for Animals in Captivity and in the Wild (2021).

Written by Barbara J King

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The sorrow of bees

Barbara J King


Individuals in a wide variety of species ranging from elephants, dolphins and whales to farmed animals like cows and pigs and companion animals like dogs, cats, and horses, may feel love for their relatives and friends. We scientists in the past often resorted to academic jargon (“animals experience a social bond with kin and others with whom they spend a majority of their time”). Now many of us call it what it is: a deep loving connection between two animals such that when the two are forced apart through death (or some other separation), the survivor may feel profound grief, visible to observers in new patterns of social withdrawal and/or disrupted life routines.


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