Marc Bekoff

Marc Bekoff (born September 6, 1945 in Brooklyn, NY) is an American biologist, ethologist, behavioural ecologist and writer.[1] He was a professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder for 32 years.[2] He cofounded the Jane Goodall Institute of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and he is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder.[1]

Marc Bekoff
Born (1945-09-06) September 6, 1945
EducationAB (1967), Washington University
MA (1968), Hofstra University
PhD (1972, animal behavior), Washington University
Occupation(s)Scientist, educator, writer

Education and academic career

Bekoff earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University in 1967, a Master of Arts from Hofstra University in 1968, and a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior from Washington University in 1972.[1] After completing his Ph.D., he became an assistant professor of biology at University of Missouri–St. Louis in 1973 through 1974.[1] He went on to work at the University of Colorado Boulder as the professor of organismic biology where he pursues research into ethology, animal behavior, behavioral ecology, development and evolution of behavior, social communication and organization, animal protection, cognitive ethology, animal cognition.[1][3] Bekoff retired from his active professorship after 32 years and currently holds the position of Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder.[2][4] During his tenure at University of Colorado Boulder Bekoff has authored or co-authored at least 172 papers.[5]

Writing career

After gaining his Ph.D. he began publishing articles and books on animal behavior and cognition.[1] Bekoff authored, co-authored, or edited thousands of articles and over 30 books and encyclopedias.[4][6] His articles have been published in Psychology Today, The New York Times, National Geographic, Live Science, and several more.[6] Bekoff's books and articles try to prove that non-human animals exhibit thought processes similar to humans as well as emotions that could be compared to human emotions such as grief, fear, love, and compassion.[1] Bekoff argues that non-human animals are extremely smart and demonstrate emotional and moral intelligences.[7] He also has written about the grieving rituals of several different species and has recently written articles expressing his belief that non-human animals have spiritual experiences.[7][8][9] His writings challenge his readers to rethink their relationship and responsibilities toward their fellow animals.[10]

Activism and outreach

Bekoff is an activist that embodies non-aggressive means.[10] His activism follows the idea that responsible assertiveness wins out over aggression any day.[10] Since 2001, while working with Roots & Shoots, an organization founded by Jane Goodall, Bekoff has visited Boulder County Jail once a week to teach a class about animal behavior to the inmates in the jail's program for educational and life skills where he often shows movies about animal behavior and conservation.[2] His main message is, "We should be proud to be animals, and we have so much to learn from the behavior of other animals."[2]

Bekoff serves on the Science Advisory Board of Project Coyote which is a national non-profit organization promoting compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science, and advocacy.[11][12] He is an advocate for the compassionate conservation movement which is also supported by Project Coyote.[13] Bekoff and Goodall announced the formation of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (EETA) in Volume 3, 2000 issue of Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science with its purpose being the development and maintenance of the highest ethical standards in ethological research with a focus on Cognitive ethology and animal sentience.[14] He lectures internationally on animal behavior, cognitive ethology, and behavioral ecology, and writes a science column about animal emotion for Psychology Today.[15]

Bekoff is a vegan.[16] He is also a patron of the Captive Animals Protection Society.[17] In May 2010, he argued in an article for the Greater Good Science Center, "Expanding Our Compassionate Footprint," that human beings need to abandon human exceptionalism: "Research on animal morality is blossoming, and if we can break free of theoretical prejudices, we may come to better understand ourselves and the other animals with whom we share this planet."[18]

Selected awards

  • The Exemplar Award (2000) from the Animal Behavior Society[19]
  • Animal Behavior Society Fellowship (1995)[20]
  • Guggenheim Fellowship (1980)[21]
  • The Bank One Faculty Community Service Award (2005)[22]
  • St. Francis of Assisi Award by the New Zealand SPCA (2009)[4]
  • Honorary member, Animalisti Italiani[23]
  • Honorary member, Fundacion Altarriba[23]
  • Honorary board member, Rational Animal[23]



  • Bekoff, Marc (21 December 1995). Jamieson, Dale (ed.). Readings in Animal Cognition. A Bradford Book. ISBN 978-0262522083.
  • Carrier, Jim; Bekoff, Marc (21 March 1996). Nature's Life Lessons: Everyday Truths from Nature. Fulcrum Publishing. ISBN 978-1555912482.
  • Allen, Colin; Bekoff, Marc (3 April 1998). Nature's Purposes: Analyses of Function and Design in Biology. The MIT Press. ISBN 978-0262510974.
  • Bekoff, Marc (4 June 1998). Byers, John A. (ed.). Animal Play: Evolutionary, Comparative and Ecological Perspectives. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521586566.
  • Allen, Colin; Bekoff, Marc (26 July 1999). Species of Mind: The Philosophy and Biology of Cognitive Ethology. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0262511087.
  • Bekoff, Marc (1 June 2000). Strolling with Our Kin: Speaking for and Respecting Voiceless Animals. American Anti-Vivisection Society. ISBN 978-1881699026.
  • Bekoff, Marc; Gould, Stephen Jay (10 October 2000). The Smile of a Dolphin: Remarkable Accounts of Animal Emotions. Discovery Books. ISBN 978-1563319259.
  • Bekoff, Marc (15 December 2001). Coyotes: Biology, Behavior and Management. The Blackburn Press. ISBN 978-1930665422.
  • Bekoff, Marc (1 January 2002). Minding Animals: Awareness, Emotions, and Heart. Oxford University Press USA. ISBN 978-0195163377.
  • Bekoff, Marc; Allen, Colin; Burghardt, Gordon (15 June 2002). The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition. Bradford Books. ISBN 978-0262523226.
  • Goodall, Jane; Bekoff, Marc (21 October 2003). The Ten Trusts: What We Must Do to Care for The Animals We Love. HarperOne. ISBN 978-0060556112.
  • Bekoff, Marc; Goodall, Jane (28 December 2005). Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues: Reflections on Redecorating Nature (Animals Culture And Society). Temple University Press. ISBN 978-1592133482.
  • Bekoff, Marc; Goodall, Jane (13 November 2007). Animals Matter: A Biologist Explains Why We Should Treat Animals with Compassion and Respect. Shambhala. ISBN 978-1590305225.
  • Bekoff, Mark; Goodall, Jane (28 May 2008). The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy ― and Why They Matter. New World Library. ISBN 978-1577316299..
  • Bekoff, Marc (28 September 2008). Animals at Play: Rules of the Game. Temple University Press. ISBN 978-1592135516.
  • Bekoff, Marc; Lowe, Cara Blessley, eds. (30 November 2008). Listening to Cougar. University Press of Colorado. ISBN 978-0870819360.
  • Bekoff, Marc (9 February 2010). The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint. New World Library (published 30 January 2010). ISBN 978-1577316497.
  • Bekoff, Marc; Pierce, Jennifer (1 May 2010). Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226041636.
  • Robinson, Jill; Bekoff, Marc (1 March 2013). Jasper's Story: Saving Moon Bears. Sleeping Bear Press. ISBN 978-1585367986.
  • Bekoff, Marc (1 June 2013). Ignoring Nature No More: The Case for Compassionate Conservation. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226925356.
  • Bekoff, Marc (5 November 2013). Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed: The Fascinating Science of Animal Intelligence, Emotions, Friendship, and Conservation. New World Library. ISBN 978-1608682195.
  • Bekoff, Marc (28 October 2014). Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence. New World Library. ISBN 978-1577319542.
  • Bekoff, Mark; Pierce, Jessica (18 April 2017). The Animals' Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age. Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0807045206.
  • Bekoff, Marc (13 April 2018). Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226433035.
  • Bekoff, Marc; Pierce, Jessica (5 March 2019). Unleashing Your Dog: A Field Guide to Giving Your Canine Companion the Best Life Possible. New World Library. ISBN 978-1608685424.
  • Edwards, Andres R; Bekoff, Marc (2 April 2019). Renewal: How Nature Awakens Our Creativity, Compassion, and Joy. New Society Publishers. ISBN 978-0865718807.
  • McIntyre, Rick; Bekoff, Marc (29 September 2020). The Reign of Wolf 21: The Saga of Yellowstone's Legendary Druid Pack (The Alpha Wolves of Yellowstone, 2). Greystone Books. ISBN 978-1771645249.
  • Bekoff, Marc (October 2020). Canine Confidential Lib/E: Why Dogs Do What They Do. The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226755694.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  • Pierce, Jessica; Bekoff, Marc (5 October 2021). A Dog's World: Imagining the Lives of Dogs in a World without Humans. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691196183.


  • Burghardt, Gordon M.; Bekoff, Marc, eds. (1978). The Development of behavior: Comparative and evolutionary aspects (Garland series in ethology). Garland STPM Press (published 1 January 1978). ISBN 978-0824070151.
  • Bekoff, Marc, ed. (30 September 2007). Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships [4 volumes]: A Global Exploration of Our Connections with Animals. Greenwood; Illustrated edition. ISBN 978-0313334870.
  • Kemmerer, Lisa (31 May 2012). Bekoff, Marc (ed.). Primate People: Saving Nonhuman Primates through Education, Advocacy, and Sanctuary. University of Utah Press. ISBN 978-1607811534.


  1. "Bekoff, Marc 1945-". 2020-03-16. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
  2. "Roots and Shoots". 13 April 2017. Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  3. "Marc Bekoff". Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  4. "Marc Bekoff Ph.D." Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  5. "Marc Bekoff's research..." Retrieved 2021-03-03.
  6. "Marc Bekoff". Retrieved 2021-03-04.
  7. "Do Animals Have Spiritual Experiences? Yes, They Do". Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  8. "Do Dogs Know Death?". Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  9. "Grief in animals: It's arrogant to think we're the only animals who mourn". Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  10. "Dr. Marc Bekoff - Gentle Giant of the Animal World". Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  11. "SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD". Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  12. "Discover Project Coyote". Retrieved 2021-03-29.
  13. Wallach, Arian D.; Bekoff, Marc; Batavia, Chelsea; Nelson, Michael Paul; Ramp, Daniel (2018). "Summoning compassion to address the challenges of conservation". Conservation Biology. 32 (6): 1255–1265. doi:10.1111/cobi.13126. ISSN 1523-1739. PMID 29700860. S2CID 23206524.
  14. "Announcement". Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. 3 (3): 277. 2000. doi:10.1207/S15327604JAWS0303_11. S2CID 216151174. Retrieved 2021-03-29.
  15. "Marc Bekoff" Archived 2013-02-13 at the Wayback Machine,, undated. *Marc Bekoff, "Animal emotions", Psychology Today.
  16. Bekoff, Marc (2010-06-10). "Vegans Shouldn't Eat Oysters, and If You Do You're Not Vegan, So..." HuffPost. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
  17. "Professor Marc Bekoff". Freedom for Animals. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
  18. Bekoff, Marc (2010-05-20). "Expanding Our Compassion Footprint". Greater Good Science Center. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
  19. "Grants & Awards". Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  20. "Fellows of the ABS". Retrieved 2021-03-30.
  21. "Marc Bekoff". Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  22. "Chase Faculty Community Service Award Past Recipients". Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  23. "Marc Bekoff, PhD Biography". Retrieved 2021-03-01.

See also

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