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Dr. Barbara Natterson Horowitz

Cardiologist and author of the New York Times bestseller Zoobiquity

  • About Barbara Natterson Horowitz

    Dr. Barbara Natterson Horowitz is a Visiting Professor in Harvard University’s Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. Her research turns to the world of wild animals for insights into a wide range of modern human concerns from mental and physical illness to the animal origins of privilege, adolescent risk-taking, anxiety, sexual coercion and consent. Whether studying eating disorders in pigs and gorillas, self-harm in horses and snakes, or inheritance of parental status in spotted hyenas, her work challenges conventional beliefs about human exceptionalism sparking novel hypotheses and conversations about these subjects.

    After twenty years of practicing and teaching cardiology as a Professor at UCLA, she was called by the Los Angeles Zoo to consult on a case of heart failure in a monkey. This led to a transformational journey into veterinary medicine and evolutionary biology which reshaped her entire approach to medicine.

    In her New York Times bestselling book Zoobiquity, Barbara Natterson Horowitz looks across the animal kingdom at breast cancer, heart failure, anxiety, addiction and sexual dysfunction—arriving at an expanded understanding of why humans are so vulnerable to these problems.

    Barbara Natterson Horowitz earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard University and her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco. She is a Professor of Medicine in the UCLA Division of Cardiology and Adjunct Professor in the UCLA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She co-directs the UCLA Evolutionary Medicine Program.

  • Speaking Topics

    Zoobiquity: A Species-Spanning Look at Medical and Psychiatric Issues

    Heart attacks in flamingos, breast cancer in jaguars, eating disorders in pigs, diabetes in dolphins: animals and humans get the same diseases, yet physicians and veterinarians rarely consult with one another. In this highly visual presentation, Barbara Natterson Horowitz explains the concept of Zoobiquity and how animal and human commonality can be used to diagnose, treat, and heal patients of all species. Natterson Horowitz illustrates how connecting knowledge across disciplines can improve our physical and mental health.

    This talk challenges healthcare professionals, students and patients to expand their thinking. Specific implications for medical groups in the fields of:
    • Cardiology
    • Oncology
    • Fertility
    • Dermatology
    • Nutrition
    • Immunology
    • Sports Medicine
    • Palliative care
    • Geriatrics
    • Psychiatry

    The Adolescent Animal: Lessons for Growing Up Human

    The transition from the juvenile to adult state happens across the animal kingdom and is a period fraught with opportunity and danger. Using examples of wild and domestic animals with parallel health challenges—koalas with Chlamydia, gorillas with depression, reindeer hooked on mushrooms—this presentation helps students and educators engage in discussions of sensitive but crucial topics including sexuality/STDs, substance abuse, eating disorders, cutting, gender stereotyping, and bullying.

    Fifty Shades of Hay: Sexual Diversity in the Wild

    The diverse range of sexual activities across the animal kingdom offers enlightening insights into human sexuality. Understanding how and why non-human animals engage in sex—for reproductive purposes and often for non-reproductive purposes—expands how we understand the nature and challenges of sexuality in human animals.

  • Video

  • Praise for Barbara Natterson Horowitz

    Praise for Zoobiquity

    …you will find the argument hard to resist. Plus you will have some killer dinner party gems. Who could resist the story of lemurs with erectile dysfunction, or the iguanas that ejaculate prematurely?

    New Scientist

    Like the best narrative nonfiction, this book will appeal to a wide range of readers…But this book is more than popular science; by combining human and veterinary medicine, the authors seek to change our view of the human place in the animal kingdom, and, with it, the way we treat illness, regardless of the species of the sufferer…vivid and illuminating.

    Politics and Prose

    …astute and funny…revelatory…Zoobiquity is as clarion and perception-altering as works by Oliver Sacks, Michael Pollan, and E. O. Wilson.


    Groundbreaking…essential…truly innovative…the concepts in Zoobiquity are presented so clearly and documented so extensively that they appear to have struck a chord in both the general population and the medical community

    Yale Human Animal Medicine Project

    If common ancestors with worms, fish, and apes lie in our past, then Zoobiquity points the way to our future. The connections we share with the rest of life on our planet are a source of beauty and, in Natterson-Horowitz and Bowers’ luminous new account, the inspiration for an emerging and powerful approach to human health. Zoobiquity is a book that explodes barriers and myths all in the purpose of bettering the human condition.

    Neil Shubin, paleontologist and author of Your Inner Fish
  • Books by Barbara Natterson Horowitz

  • Media About Barbara Natterson Horowitz

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  • 212 572-2013
  • Barbara Natterson Horowitz travels from Los Angeles, CA

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