Gordon M. Burghardt

Alumni Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Phone: 865-974-3300
E-mail: gburghar@utk.edu

Departmental Website

Gordon M. Burghardt works in several areas of psychology and biology. His main interests are the development and evolution of behavior. He is an expert on the ethology of reptiles and bears, play behavior, ritual and religion, ethical treatment of animals, and zoo animal welfare.

Topics of expertise: Animal behavior, reptiles, play, animal ethics, comparative psychology, evolution and religion, ethology, early experience

Recent media mentions:

Reptile aficionados who find themselves in Frankfort, Kentucky, can now get a glimpse of a rare, two-headed baby copperhead snake. Newsweek, Jenni Fink, Oct. 22

For some, seeing one snake is enough to make their heart race and knees weak, so when a woman found a rare two-headed baby Eastern Copperhead in Virginia, it attracted a lot of attention. Newsweek, September 22; MSN

That I can impulsively buy a reptile — or hundreds at the same time — without fully understanding what I’m getting into is startling to some experts concerned with animal welfare. New York Times, Joanna Klein, Nov. 10 (also ran in Bend Bulletin, The Times-Tribune)

Snakes fed a diet of toxic toads become toxic too — and they seem to know it. New Scientist, Mary Bates, Oct. 5, 2017

Reptiles shouldn't be kept as pets because three in four die within a year, according to a leading biologist. Daily Mail, Oct. 26, 2017

There is growing evidence that shows it is not just kittens and baby chimps that play but also birds, reptiles, fish, and even invertebrates, including spiders and wasps. Discover, June 2017

Should we fear snakes? Can we be too scared of snakes? News Sentinel/USA Today, Phil Kronk, June 23, 2017

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