Gordon Burghardt

Gordon Burghardt
University of Tennessee | UTK · Departments of Psychology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Pd.D. University of Chicago, Biopsychology

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328
Publications
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Publications

Publications (328)
Article
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Denning behavior has long remained the least observed aspect of bear behavior. During 2010–2013, we used webcams, microphones, the internet, and 14,602 h of archived video to document the denning behaviors of two adult wild black bears (Ursus americanus) as they gave birth and cared for four litters through six winters in northeastern Minnesota. Ob...
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An appreciation of the diverse roots of animal behaviour study is essential for informed teaching and stimulating current research and scholarship. Insights by early seminal authors are often ignored, insights that may have avoided subsequent controversies or spawned productive research. Even with internet access now available for much early work,...
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Although issues of motivation, including appetitive searching behavior, have been crucial aspects of behavior systems approaches since their inception, as well as in the ethological research and models that inspired them, emotions and affect have been noticeably absent in such analyses. Emotions and affect may have been lying below the surface all...
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Play is an important and understudied class of phenomena that likely serves a critical role in the ontogeny and maintenance of fitness-enhancing behaviors. Many species exhibit little or no play. Among those animals that do play, some exhibit only very simple forms, while others engage in complex play both solitarily and socially. Likewise, some an...
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In several rodent species social play appears to be necessary for proper deployment of species-specific patterns of aggressive and reproductive behavior. Specifically, in male Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus), play has been linked to the development of adult aggression. We quantified several types of social play behavior in same-sex peer grou...
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Scientific Foundations of Zoos and Aquariums - edited by Allison B. Kaufman January 2019
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Wallace Craig’s “Appetites and Aversions as Constituents of Instincts,” one of the seminal articles in animal behavior, comparative psychology, and ethology, appeared 100 years ago this year. The influence of this classic article is continuing and perhaps even expanding. Here we review the major ideas Craig offered in the article, provide a brief s...
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Cambridge Core - Educational Psychology - The Cambridge Handbook of Play - edited by Peter K. Smith
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Juvenile animals of many species engage in social play, but its functional significance is not well understood. This is especially true for a type of social play called fair play (Fp). Social play often involves behavioral patterns similar to adult behaviors (e.g., fighting, mating, and predatory activities), but young animals often engage in Fp be...
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The origins of religion and ritual in humans have been the focus of centuries of thought in archaeology, anthropology, theology, evolutionary psychology and more. Play and ritual have many aspects in common, and ritual is a key component of the early cult practices that underlie the religious systems of societies in all parts of the world. This boo...
Chapter
Despite the taxonomic, behavioral, and lifestyle diversity among reptile species, behavioral consistency in reptiles has not been examined to the extent that it has been in fish, birds, and mammals. Careful use of terms such as individuality, temperament, personality, and behavioral syndromes is needed as they carry overlapping connotations and var...
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Animals that depend on defensive chemicals acquired from food may face a decision when attempting to deter predatory attacks: Should they exhibit antipredator behavior that relies on the toxicity of the sequestered chemicals or should they adopt other behaviors that can avoid predation without using the chemical defense, such as flight? Thus, it is...
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The causes and consequences of among-individual variation and covariation in behaviours are of substantial interest to behavioural ecology, but the proximate mechanisms underpinning this (co) variation are still unclear. Previous research suggests metabolic rate as a potential proximate mechanism to explain behavioural covariation. We measured the...
Chapter
Play and ritual, as usually defined, seem to be disparate phenomena, one focused on freedom and flexibility, the other on formality and rigidity. In actuality, they have many common elements, and these will be explored from a comparative perspective grounded in ethology, evolution and play theory. The description and recognition of play in diverse...
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Cuticle melanism in insects is linked to a number of life history traits: a positive relationship is hypothesized between melanism, immune function, fecundity and lifespan. However, it is not clear how activation of the immune system affects trade-offs between life history traits in female mealworm beetles (Tenebrio molitor) differing in cuticle me...
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Factors such as temperature, habitat, larval density, food availability and food quality substantially affect organismal development. In addition, risk of predation has a complex impact on the behavioural and morphological life history responses of prey. Responses to predation risk seem to be mediated by physiological stress, which is an adaptation...
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Drosophila body characteristics and negative geotaxis under spider predation Data on dry body mass, lipid amount, nitrogen & carbon concentrations and climbing speed during negative geotaxis trials in Drosophila fruit flies (males, females) reared with spiders (predator identity) and in the control group (reared without predators).
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The Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) may be the most studied of all Neotropical squamate species. Given that many populations are over-exploited, and other introduced populations represent problems for native species, it is surprising that so few of the publications on the species have had a demographic focus. Here we resurrect data that formed the bas...
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Object play occurs in diverse animals in addition to birds and mammals. Although many carnivores engage in object play in a predatory context, many non-predators do so also. Conjectures over the years on the motivation to play are reviewed dealing with intrinsic, developmental, and stimulus factors. We then report on quantitative studies of the pla...
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Our knowledge of the biology of neonatal snakes has lagged behind that of adult animals, mostly due to the difficulty of finding and studying neonatal snakes in the wild. Traditional approaches view neonatal reptiles as miniature replicates of their adult counterparts. In this contribution, we present data on the natural history of neonatal Green A...
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Social play is a fundamental aspect of behavioral development in many species. Social play deprivation in rats alters dendritic morphology in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and we have shown that this brain region regulates responses to social defeat stress in Syrian hamsters. In this study, we tested whether play deprivation during the...
Chapter
The possible role of play in creativity and innovation in animals is explored. After discussing issues involved in key terms and some prior studies on the creative process in humans, difficult issues in applying them to nonhuman animals are analyzed. If creativity in animals is only to be considered if it can definitely be linked to speciation or t...
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Although play occurs in a wide variety of animals, models of the origins of play behavior are lacking. We propose a novel computational model exploring the evolution of non-social frivolous play. Asexually reproducing semelparous animals can either rest or forage. Foraging occurs when an organism is below an energy threshold. Success is determined...
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What factors in animal life history facilitate or reduce the probability that a species will perform play behavior? While some relationships are known within species and across individuals, it is not obvious that such relationships can be used to explain differences and similarities in amount and type of play across large taxonomic groupings of ani...
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Why animals play has been a perennial question, but most of the thinking about this has been framed in terms of its fitness benefits. A review of our present knowledge about the comparative distribution of play suggests that such an approach that leads to claims that the ‘‘adaptive value of play is’’ are misplaced. Play is relatively rare in the An...
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Casualties and impediments inflicted on consumers by defended prey, and vice versa, may be averted by vocalizations, postures, coloration, scents, and other warning, or so-called aposematic, displays. The existence of aposematic signals has challenged biologists who have sought plausible mechanisms for their evolution. Here, we elaborate on the rat...
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Reviews the book, Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves by Laurel Braitman (see record 2014-20916-000 ). Because to most people psychology is centered on studying mental disorders, this book may connect with the public by its wide-ranging take on the mental disorders found in ot...
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In this quick guide, Gordon Burghardt considers the criteria for ascribing a particular animal behavior as "play", and in particular the evidence for play in fishes, frogs and reptiles. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Whether play occurs in fishes has long been a contentious issue, but recent observations document that social, object, and locomotor play can all be found in some species of teleosts. However, quantitative studies and those documenting individual differences are rare. We recorded hundreds of occurrences of an unusual behavior in three male Tropheus...
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As astutely noted by the authors of this provocative article, it is time for evolutionary psychology (EP) to be incorporated into clinical and educational interventions. However, two issues from this article are raised in the current commentary: some historical misconceptions of the evolutionary label and a lack of clear and specific guidelines for...
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Play has long been considered an enigmatic behavior that is hard to define, but having many putative functions difficult to confirm. This situation is changing quite rapidly in recent years. This introduction to a special issue on play provides some general background, historical and contemporary, on the recognition and phylogenetic aspects of play...
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Bears are often considered ecological equivalents of large primates, but the latter often respond with fear, avoidance, and alarm calls to snakes, both venomous and non-venomous, there is sparse information on how bears respond to snakes. We videotaped or directly observed natural encounters between black bears (Ursus americanus) and snakes. Inside...
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We very much value the integrative formulation of the neural basis of the seeking system put forth by Wright & Panksepp, but we have several concerns that might be incorporated or acknowledged in future versions. These revolve around the need for a more rigorous and modern evolutionary backdrop, a greater appreciation for earlier discussions of app...
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Reviews the book, Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures by Virginia Morell (see record 2013-12224-000 ). Morell mastered many key elements of the history of the study of animal behavior and mentality. In the introduction she blends the historical medicine with engaging anecdotes involving her pets and sets us up for her tou...
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On the third day of life, four groups of eight chicks each were given either rape or canary seed, exclusively. The following day the chicks were given the seed they had not experienced the day previously. For eight days subsequently, the chicks were offered both seeds and the proportion by weight of each seed eaten was determined. Chicks initially...
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Two groups of hatchling snapping turtles, without prior feeding experience, were given a meal of either meat or worms. One week later each group was fed the food it had not experienced earlier. The following week each turtle was tested for its preference between the two foods. The two groups of turtles differed significantly in the direction of pre...
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Van de Vliert proposes a comprehensive explanation for differences in "freedoms" in diverse human populations based on climate and monetary resources. This intriguing approach, though derived from an evolutionary view covering all species, is based exclusively on human populations. This anthropocentric lens is challenged by ways of testing Van de V...
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The relationship between grip strength, book load, and observed book-carrying mode of male and female college students was studied in a natural setting utilizing 350 subjects. It was found that male and female book-carrying modes were significantly different, but that book weights carried by the two sexes did not differ significantly. Male and fema...
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Reptiles and amphibians have been neglected in research on cognition, emotions, sociality, need for enriched and stimulating environments, and other topics that have been greatly emphasized in work on mammals and birds. This is also evident in the historic lack of enriching captive environments to reduce boredom and encourage natural behavior and p...
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What is the nature of comparative psychology and how does or should it relate to evolutionary psychology? This is a time of reassessment of both fields and this article reviews the history of comparative psychology and its relationships with evolutionary psychology, ethology, and other approaches to behavior from the perspective of a former editor...
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Species that sequester toxins from prey for their own defense against predators may exhibit population-level variation in their chemical arsenal that reflects the availability of chemically defended prey in their habitat. Rhabdophis tigrinus is an Asian snake that possesses defensive glands in the skin of its neck ('nuchal glands'), which typically...
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Social learning is considered one of the hallmarks of cognition. Observers learn from demonstrators that a particular behavior pattern leads to a specific consequence or outcome, which may be either positive or negative. In the last few years, social learning has been studied in a variety of taxa including birds and bony fish. To date, there are fe...
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Although social behavior in vertebrates spans a continuum from solitary to highly social, taxa are often dichotomized as either ‘social’ or ‘non-social’. We argue that this social dichotomy is overly simplistic, neglects the diversity of vertebrate social systems, impedes our understanding of the evolution of social behavior, and perpetuates the er...
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In recent years genotyping analysis using mini-and microsatellite markers has provided robust DNA-based support for facultative parthenogenesis (FP) in several lineages of squamate reptiles (snakes and lizards) and sharks. Rather than incidental cases of reproductive error, there is growing evidence that FP is an alternative reproductive strategy a...
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Striped crayfish snakes (Regina alleni) undergo a dietary shift from dragonfly larvae to crayfish during ontogeny. Godley (1980) suggested that this shift is attributable to crayfish availability rather than an initial preference for dragonfly larvae. We experimentally tested this hypothesis by measuring the chemosensory response of newborn snakes...
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Chemical defenses are widespread among animals, and the compounds involved may be either synthesized from nontoxic precursors or sequestered from an environmental source. Defensive sequestration has been studied extensively among invertebrates, but relatively few examples have been documented among vertebrates. Nonetheless, the number of described...
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Distinguishing between hybrid zones formed by secondary contact versus parapatric divergence-with-gene-flow is an important challenge for understanding the interplay of geographic isolation and local adaptation in the origin of species. Similarly, distinguishing between natural hybrid zones and those that formed as a consequence of recent human act...
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This commentary acknowledges the fine contribution Palmer makes to distinguishing between the contextualist and consequentialist approaches to understanding human obligations to suffering in animals in 'natural' settings, and uses her examples to reflect on larger issues in evaluating how our species treats and responds to nature. Overall, this gen...
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Since the 1970s, texts on research methods in animal behavior advocate that researchers minimize potential observer bias in their studies. One way to minimize possible bias is to record or score behavioral data blind to treatment, group, or individual. Another way to reduce bias is for researchers to analyze subsets or entire sets of data independe...
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Long-lived species are expected to have long-term memory capabilities. In this study we tested nine Florida Red-bellied Cooters (Pseudemys nelsoni) on their retention for both a procedural food acquisition task and visual discrimination task learned in a previous experiment. The turtles were tested and retrained after two months, after another 7.5...
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Some comments are appended to Patrick Bateson’s reflections on the future of behavioral biology that were triggered by remembering the contributions of Günter Tembrock to ethology. While the suggestions made are valid and insightful, a few specific areas where exciting research possibilities may reside are added including those involving communicat...
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Characterizing behavior in any organism as play, including in humans, has often been controversial. Intuitive understandings of what constitutes 'play' are often difficult to describe in words so that other researchers can use them. This leads to problems in comparing studies, formulating and testing research hypotheses, and even in having a shared...
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In the socially polymorphic spider Anelosimus studiosus, males mature early in the reproductive season and recruit to the webs of juvenile females and guard them until they mature. During the period before females mature, males and females engage in repeated bouts of non-conceptive (play) sexual behavior, where the pair courts and engages in mock c...
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Rhabdophis tigrinus is an Asian natricine snake that possesses unusual defensive glands on the dorsal surface of its neck. These nuchal glands typically contain cardiotonic steroidal toxins known as bufadienolides, which are also abundant in the skin of toads. Feeding experiments demonstrated that toads consumed as prey are the ultimate sources of...
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Of the various chemical defensive adaptations of vertebrates, nuchal glands are among the most unusual. First described in a Japanese natricine snake, Rhabdophis tigrinus, in 1935, these organs are embedded under the skin of the neck region as a series of paired glands that have neither lumina nor ducts. The major chemical components of the glandul...
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Until recently, facultative automictic parthenogenesis within the squamate reptiles exhibiting ZZ:ZW genetic sex determination has resulted in single reproductive events producing male (ZZ) or female (ZW) offspring. With the recent discovery of viable parthenogenetically produced female (WW) Boa constrictors, the existence of further parthenogeneti...
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We investigated whether turtles (Pseudemys nelsoni) could learn about a visual object cue to obtain food reinforcement by observing conspecifics that had learned the task. This study was designed with a three part task which, if completed by the observer turtles, would provide evidence of their abilities to learn from other turtles using stimulus e...
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The ability to detect and respond to potential predators is key for the survival of individuals, but this ability is sometimes lost via relaxation of antipredator behavior when prey species are separated from predators. Adult and predator-naïve neonate gartersnakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) from mainland and insular sites where they do and do not occur...
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Incomplete knowledge of pedigrees sometimes limits the methods of estimating quantitative genetic parameters (heritability, genetic correlation) in nature and may result in estimates that are inflated by nongenetic sources of variation. North American garter snakes and their allies provide a model system for investigating evolutionary quantitative...
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There has been a recent resurgence of interest in the study of play behavior, marked by much empirical research and theoretical review. These efforts suggest that play may be of greater biological significance than most scientists realize. Here we present a brief synopsis of current play research covering issues of adaptive function, phylogeny, cau...
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Knowledge of the various cues that elicit natural behavior is important to our understanding of why and when animals behave as they do. In order to gain insight into the behavior and ecology of Nerodia clarkii compressicauda, a piscivorous snake that uses a unique form of predatory luring as a foraging tactic, we observed 22 juvenile subjects in th...
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In many mammal species, precocious sexual behaviour is a component of play. A recent model for the evolution of play fighting behaviour in muroid rodents by Pellis (1993) proposes that social play in those species has its origin in precocious sexual behaviour. Captive juvenile emydid turtles perform precocious sexual behaviour. After reviewing its...
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There has been little quantitative research on the reactivity of non-human species to either an observer or to the presence of humans in general. This study describes the responses of black bears (Ursus americanus) to the presence of humans. Two pairs (male-female) and (female-female) of same-aged captive black bears kept at separate locations were...
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The role of prey movement in feeding behavior was investigated in 10 garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) repeatedly presented with paired stationary and continuously rotating sections of earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris). Additionally, prey odor intensity and source were varied and the performance of a tongueless snake was compared to normal animals...
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Individual and litter differences in the number of attacks directed by Mexican garter snakes (Thamnophis melanogaster) at a threatening stimulus were studied over the first year of life. Newborn snakes born to wildcaught females from the same population were tested the day after they were born and at 7, 16, 31, and 54 weeks of age on reactivity to...
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The defensive behavior of 43 individually reared snakes of three sympatric species of water snakes (Nerodia cyclopion, N. fasciata, and N. rhombifera) was observed in a continuous 9-min trial involving baseline and 6 different human intruder conditions. Comparisons of the species were made using tongue-flick rates and the total number and proportio...
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In diverse taxa members of one sex mimic members of the other. Some authors also hypothesize that younger or less fit individuals mimic older or fitter individuals of the same sex. The implications of sexual and age class mimicry for sexual selection theory have been underappreciated. Where deception involving the sex or age class of conspecific si...
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Testing the cognitive abilities of cartilaginous fishes is important in understanding the evolutionary origins of cognitive functions in higher vertebrates. We used five South American fresh water stingrays (Potamotrygon castexi) in a learning and problem-solving task. A tube test apparatus was developed to provide a simple but sophisticated proced...
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We used microsatellite DNA markers to identify the extent to which multiple paternity within litters occurs among species of New World natricine snakes. We selected seven species to represent the three major clades of Natricinae and all three subclades of the gartersnake clade. Microsatellite DNA genotyping of dams and litters confirmed multiple pa...
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The treatment of nonhuman animals has been marked by extremes of beneficence and cruelty. The ethical guidelines explicitly or informally underlying how we regard other species have been marked by inconsistency and an elastic ethics. One of the major controversies involved in nonhuman animal rights and welfare discussions involves the level of thei...