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    Lee Alan Dugatkin

    Author of How to Tame a Fox and Build a Dog


    "A story that is part science, part Russian fairy tale, and part spy thriller. . . . Sparkling."

    New York Times Book Review



    Author of Power in the Wild: The Subtle and Not-So-Subtle Ways Animals Strive for Control over Others (2022, University of Chicago Press)


    "...a scrupulously scientific but highly accessible tour of power’s manifestations...Dugatkin’s depiction of power in the wild yields a stunningly provocative reflection."

    Wall Street Journal


    Author of The Well-Connected Animal: Social Networks and the Wondrous Complexity of Animal Societies


    “Combines accessible prose with solid science.”

    Wall Street Journal


  • Lee Dugatkin


    I'm an evolutionary biologist and a historian of science in the Department of Biology at the University of Louisville. I have lectured about my research and my books at more than 175 venues around the world, including in New Zealand, Australia, Mongolia, Cuba, Russia, Romania, Turkey, The Czech Republic, Croatia, Taiwan, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and many other countries. I'm the author of sixteen books and more than 200 articles, in such journals as Nature, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and The Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, and I'm a contributing author to Scientific American, The American Scientist, The New Scientist and The Washington Post. The New York Times Book Review called my book, How to Tame a Fox and Build a Dog, "Sparkling... A story that is part science, part Russian fairy tale, and part spy thriller… it may serve — particularly now — as a parable of the lessons that can emerge from unfettered science, if we have the courage to let it unfold.”

  • Books by Dugatkin


    Coming in October 2024


    Dr. Calhoun’s Mousery is a brilliant reminder, from biologist and author Dugatkin, of how relevant some research remains even decades later. This story of a fascinating complicated psychologist and his innovative, insightful, troubling studies of overpopulation in rodents is an absorbing read and a potent lesson in moral behavior—both of rodents and of humans."


    Deborah Blum, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of "The Poison Squad: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety in the Early Twentieth Century"


    “William Blake saw the world in a grain of sand. John Calhoun saw it in a mousery—a utopian apartment complex built for mice! Dugatkin’s brilliant, fast-paced account of Calhoun's research takes us on a whirlwind tour with stops along the way at the Royal Society in London, the Vatican, and Washington, DC. Dugatkin is both learned and lively, and his book is irresistible.”


    Edward Dolnick, author of "The Clockwork Universe" and "The Writing of the Gods"

    “This engagingly written book revives the life and work of the almost forgotten behavioral population biologist John Calhoun, whose discoveries on the crowding syndrome and social pathology in rodents had at that time far-reaching interdisciplinary implications concerning the consequences of human population growth. This book is a masterpiece of critical, scholarly biography and historical analysis of a field in behavioral biology.”


    Bert Hölldobler, coauthor of the Pulitzer Prize–winning "The Ants."



    “Combines accessible prose with solid science.”

    Wall Street Journal


    "A fitting companion to Ed Yong’s An Immense World."



    "Historian of science Dugatkin reveals the network dynamics behind giraffes’ nurseries and vampire bats’ reciprocal blood sharing, as well as the dedication necessary to collect these data."

    Scientific American

    "A must-purchase, this book presents what is easily the most intriguing, thorough explanation of animal behavior ever produced."

    Library Journal (starred review)

    "In The Well-Connected Animal, evolutionary biologist Dugatkin demonstrates that whatever creature you are—from a giraffe to a Tasmanian devil—life is all about who you know.”


    New Scientist, "20 Non-Fiction and Popular Science Books to Look Forward to in 2024"


    “One of the most talented biologists of our time lends fascinating insight into the most important part of our existence. By exploring the origins of our social connections, Dugatkin uncovers a world of cooperation, communication, and bonding in the animal kingdom that ultimately leads to ours. A beautifully written adventure into the secrets of the natural world.” -- Brian Hare, coauthor of "The Genius of Dogs"


    "This terrific survey of how animals of different species relate to each other on individual and group levels reads like a scientific mystery as Dugatkin vividly and compellingly describes exciting breakthroughs."


    Translations underway: Chinese, Italian


    "...a scrupulously scientific but highly accessible tour of power’s manifestations... Dugatkin’s depiction of power in the wild yields a stunningly provocative reflection."

    Wall Street Journal


    “A brilliant journey into the intricate dramas of animal behavior and evolution. Along the way, we also see the scientific process in vivid light, a wonderful exposition of how to deepen understanding of the living world.”

    David George Haskell, Sewanee: The University of the South, author of Pulitzer finalist "The Forest Unseen" and Burroughs medalist "The Songs of Trees"


    "While visiting a wolf research park in Austria, animal behaviorist Dugatkin was startled to see one male sitting on top of another, clamping its snout in its jaws. The park’s director assured him there was no harm involved, only a display of power. This theme defines Dugatkin’s engaging book, which is based on the work of many scientists with a huge range of animals from around the world, including baboons, dolphins, mongooses and ravens. 'Power pervades every aspect of the social lives of animals,' he says." -- Andrew Robinson ― Nature


    "...captivating, illuminating, and timely book ...Highly recommended."



    Power in the Wild, by behavioral ecologist Dugatkin, reveals the realpolitik behind the lives of sweet-looking creatures from meerkats to field mice, as he examines the eternal struggle for dominance in nature.”

    New Scientist, "Don't Miss"



    “Timely and fascinating. . . . Dugatkin’s book is great food for thought regarding the nature of power, equality, and equity, the origins of justice and the origins of sociality in animals—including our own species.” -- Sheng-Feng Shen, Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan ― Nature Ecology & Evolution 

    Translated into:Russian, German, French, Korean, Arabic, Japanese, Italian, Croatian, Farsi, Estonian, Romanian, Mongolian, Chinese Traditional and Chinese Simplified,


    "A story that is part science, part Russian fairy tale, and part spy thriller. . . Sparkling."

    New York Times Book Review


    "Dugatkin is a veteran science writer with a knack for turning sprawling subjects into compact, enjoyable narratives. Trut, now in her 80s, is both a coauthor and a subject of the book, an unusual arrangement. But her intense participation adds a rare degree of intimacy to this science story."
    Wall Street Journal

    "If you read only two biology books this year, this is one of those two that you simply must read."



    "It is an extraordinary story, and How to Tame a Fox tells it well. . . . By the end of the book, the thesis that wolves may have been no less complicit in the process of their domestication than humans has come to seem entirely probable."

    imes Literary Supplement

    "Written for a general audience, it chronicles the story of a scientific gambit that was more successful that even its creators had dreamed. It's an inspiring reminder of how much we still don't know about the world, and how much can be learned by taking bold chances. It's also a cautionary tale about the risks of state-funded science that has nearly as much relevance to Trump's United States, where federal research budgets are in danger of being slashed right and left, as it does to Stalin’s Russia."

    Los Angeles Review of Books






    w/Carl Bergstrom, 3rd edition

    4th edition


    Revisions for a 5th edition are underway. A Chinese edition of the 2nd edition is available and a Chinese edition of the 4th edition is underway.

    "Dugatkin’s book is fast-paced, snappy and suspenseful as we follow the moose’s journey."

    Financial Times

    Translated to German and Spanish. A Farsi edition is underway.


    "Exhilarating. . . . [This] is an engaging book with devoted enthusiasm for the ideas of the main protagonist, William Hamilton. . . . Dugatkin's . . . account offers much to think about." 


    Translated into Greek.

    Translated into Chinese, Korean and Japanese.

    Translated into Chinese and Korean

  • Publications (beside books)

    Google Scholar

  • Online Lectures

    How to Tame a Fox and Build a Dog



     Power in the Wild podcast

    Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose




    Vavilov's Dream



    Behind the Crimson Curtain: The Rise and Fall of Peale's Museum

    The Evolution of Goodness

    Thomas Jefferson and the Hessian Fly



    Smashing Wallace's White Picket Fence

    The Deep Roots of Power



  • Former Ph.D. Students

    Dr. Caroline Driscoll: Adjunct Professor, Bellarmine University

    Dr. Matthew Hasenjager, postdoctoral fellow,

    Dr. Ryan Earley, Professor, University of Alabama

    Dr. Amy Cavanaugh, Professor, Truckee Meadows College

    Dr. Trish Adams, research associate, California State University, Monterey

    Dr. Michael Alfieri, Professor, Viterbo University

  • Kropotkin Archive

    Coming soon

  • Contact Me

    Department of Biology
    University of Louisville
    (502) 852-5943