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Health+Harvest

A Thank You To NPR's Science Commentary Readers

Barbara J. King points to some of her favorite science commentaries she has written for NPR.

This post is my last for 13.7: Cosmos & Culture.

For 6 1/2 years, I have had the privilege and the pleasure of writing commentaries — about 50 every year — for NPR on animals, anthropology, human evolution, nature, gender and higher education.

The blog's science and culture commentary is being discontinued by NPR — and, so, it's time to say goodbye.

I'm full of gratitude to my blogging colleagues Adam Frank, Marcelo Gleiser and Tania Lombrozo, and my editors, Meghan Collins Sullivan and before her, Wright Bryan. I've learned an incredible amount from each of them about communicating science and culture to a wide readership.

It's really to you — my readers — that I address this farewell. The interaction we have had, through 2016 in the comments section and, steadily, throughout on social media like Facebook and Twitter, made every week exciting. You engaged with my arguments, sometimes with vigorous pushback and sometimes with praise. You sent me more material to read. You shared my posts or told me why you didn't like my posts. Over the years, I became a better writer because of you. Thank you.

Just for fun, I've chosen 10 commentaries that are among my favorites over the years.

Straight-up science commentary:

  • Reconsidering a classic experiment on promiscuous males and choosy females in evolutionary biology
  • My taped conversation with evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins
  • Teaching our kids about evolution (and that creationism isn't science)
  • My on-air conversation with Michel Martin about the question of whether Neanderthals were religious
  • How experimenters for so long mismeasured chimpanzee social cognition, in comparative tests with children
  • And how we think about and treat other animals:

  • Fish: On not finding Dory
  • Octopus: The practice of eating them alive
  • Chimpanzees: Their connections to others
  • Animals we eat and their personalities
  • Animals in zoos and rethinking the concept
  • I expect to keep right on writing, elsewhere, about these topics. I invite you to continue reading my commentary by following me on Twitter (@bjkingape): I'd love to keep our interaction going.


    Barbara J. King is an anthropology professor emerita at the College of William and Mary. She often writes about the cognition, emotion and welfare of animals and about biological anthropology, human evolution and gender issues. Barbara's latest book is Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat. You can keep up with her on Twitter @bjkingape.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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