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I am currently studying behavioral ecology and evolution at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, but live in New Jersey were I teach Math at Rutgers University - Newark.

In 2017-2019 I worked at at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, studying animal behavior and conservation; that work included long-term monitoring of bat populations, work on rare birds and mammals.

In 2013-2016 I conducted a study of the possible effects of invasive brood parasites on North American birds (with Mark Hauber and a few other American and European colleagues).

In 2012-2013 I participated in a whooping crane reintroduction project in Louisiana; my work involved research on crane behavior and ecology, remote tracking, herpetological and mammalogical surveys, landowner education and public outreach. Official project website.

In 2011, I got a Ph.D from the University of Miami, studying the evolution of long-distance communication systems in crocodilians (adviser Steven Green). Here's PDF of my dissertation. Later I did some follow-up studies on other aspects of crocodilian biology, such as tree climbing, coordinated hunting, and using tools. Here are my article The Unknown Crocodiles about this research for The Conservation; another article The Crocodilian Revolution for ZME Science; and my Ask Me Anything session on Reddit Science.

I've also studied zoonotic diseases (plague and Sin Nombre hantavirus) in the American West, saola ecology in Vietnam, woolly flying squirrel biology in Pakistan, ptarmigan ecology in the High Arctic, ungulate conservation in Israel, European mink ecology in Russia, and other interesting subjects.


Leading whooping crane chicks, White Lake, Louisiana.


Selected books

2021 Doody JS, Dinets V, Burghardt GM. The Secret Social Lives of Reptiles. John Hopkins University Press. More info

2016 Dinets V. Wildlife Spectacles: Mass Migrations, Mating Rituals, and Other Fascinating Animal Behaviors. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon. More info

2015. Dinets V. Peterson Field Guide to Finding Mammals in North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. More info

2013. Dinets V. Dragon Songs. Arcade, New York, 318 pp. More info

2004. Newell JA (ed.), Dinets V, Krechmar M, Mihailov A, Shibnev Yu. Russian Far East - Environmental Handbook. Friends of Earth - Japan, 468 pp.

1998. Dinets V, Rotshild E. Domestic Animals. ABF, Moscow (in Russian), 512 pp.

1996. Dinets, V, Rotshild E. Mammals of Russia. ABF, Moscow (in Russian), 352 pp.

1995. Beme A., Dinets V, Flint V, Cherenkov A. Birds of Russia. ABF, Moscow (in Russian). 432 pp.


Selected journal publications

2023.Dinets V. Play behavior in ectothermic vertebrates. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 155:105428. Abstract PDF

2023. Dinets V, Friedman NR, Yoshimura M, Ogasawara M, Economo EP. Effects on bat populations by a supertyphoon vs. ordinary typhoons along a habitat urbanization gradient. Research in Ecology 5:14-27. Abstract PDF.

2023. Doody J, Burghardt GM, Dinets V. The evolution of sociality and the polyvagal theory. Biological Psychology 180:108569. Abstract PDF

2021 Dinets V. First case of endothermy in semi-sessile animals. Journal of Experimental Biology A - Ecological and Integrative Physiology 337:111-114. Abstract PDF

2021 Dinets V, Asada K. Noble savages: the natural history of human-independent Rattus rats in Japan. Journal of Natural History 54:2391-2414. Abstract PDF

2021 Dinets V. Apparent surface feeding by pygmy sperm whales (Kogia breviceps). Aquatic Mammals 47:111-113. PDF

2020 Dinets V, Friedman NR, Yoshimura M, Ogasawara M, Economo EP. Acoustic detection of an unknown bat species in Okinawa. Mammal Study 45:353-356. Abstract PDF

2018 Dinets V, Sokolovskis K, Hanley D, Hauber ME. Striking difference in response to expanding brood parasites between birds of western and eastern Beringia. Journal of Field Ornithology89:117-125. Abstract PDF

2018 Dinets V, Hall J. Mammalwatching: a new source of support for science and conservation. International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation 10:154-160. Abstract PDF

2017. Dinets, V. First observations on the behavior of the flightless anomalure (Zenkerella insignis). Zoology 123:123-123. Abstract PDF

2017. Dinets V, Sanchez M. Brown Dippers (Cinclus pallasi) overwintering at -65°C in northeastern Siberia. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 129:397-400. Abstract PDF

2017. Dinets V. Coordinated hunting by Cuban boas. Animal Behavior and Cognition 4:24-29. PDF

2017. Dinets V. Surface foraging in Scapanus moles. Mammalia 82:48-53. Abstract PDF

2016. Dinets V. Long-term cave roosting in the spectral bat (Vampyrum spectrum). Mammalia 81:529-531. Abstract PDF

2016. Dinets V. Spontaneous development of hunting-like behavior in juvenile humans: a case study. Humanimalia 8:32-40. Abstract PDF HTML

2016 Dinets V. Predation on amphibians and reptiles by reintroduced whooping cranes (Grus americana) in Louisiana. American Midland Naturalist 175:135-138.2016 Dinets V. Abstract PDF

2015 Dinets V. Can interrupting cultural transmission be beneficial? The Condor 117:624-628. Abstract PDF

2015 Dinets V, Samaš P, Croston R, Grim T, Hauber ME. Predicting the responses of native songbirds to trans-oceanic invasions by brood parasites. Journal of Field Ornithology 86:244-251. Abstract PDF

2015 Dinets V. The Canis tangle: a systematics overview with recommendations on taxonomy. Vavilov Journal of Genetics and Breeding 19:286-291. PDF.

2015 Dinets V. Play behavior in crocodilians. Animal Behavior and Cognition 2:49-55 PDF

2015 Dinets V. Apparent coordination and collaboration in cooperatively hunting crocodilians. Ethology Ecology and Evolution27:244-250. PDF

2015. Dinets V, Brueggen J, Brueggen J. Crocodilians use tools for hunting. Ethology Ecology and Evolution 27:74-78. Abstract PDF

2014. Burghardt GM, Dinets V & Murphy JB. Highly repetitive object play in a cichlid fish (Tropheus duboisi). Ethology 121:38-44. Abstract PDF

2013. Dinets V. Underwater sound locating ability in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). Journal of Herpetology 47: 521-523. Abstract PDF

2013. Dinets V. Long-distance signaling in extant crocodilians. Copeia 2013 (3): 517-526. Abstract PDF

2013. Dinets, V. Do individual crocodilians adjust their signaling to habitat structure? Ethology Ecology & Evolution 25 (2): 174-184. Abstract, PDF

2013. Dinets, V. Crane dances as play behavior. Ibis 155: 424-425. PDF

2013. Doody, J. S., Burghardt, G. M. & Dinets, V. Breaking the Social-Nonsocial Dichotomy: A Role for Reptiles in Vertebrate Social Behaviour Research? Ethology 118: 1-9. Abstract PDF

2011. Dinets, V. Effects of aquatic habitat continuity on signal composition in crocodilians. Animal Behavior 82(2): 191-201. Abstract PDF

2011. Dinets, V. Observations of woolly flying squirrel (Eupetaurus cinereus) in Nanga Parbat Range of northern Pakistan. Mammalia 75(3): 277-280. AbstractPDF

2011. Dinets, V. On terrestrial hunting in Crocodilia. Herpetological Bulletin 114: 15-18. Abstract PDF

2010. Dinets, V. Nocturnal behavior of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) in the wild during the mating season. Herpetological Bulletin 111: 4-11. Abstract PDF

2001. Dinets, V. Winter ecology of Willow Ptarmigan Lagopus lagopus and Rock Ptarmigan L. mutus at the northern limit of their range. Ornitologia 29: 326-327 (in Russian with an English summary).

1995. Dinets, V. Surviving sites of European Mink Mustela lutreola in Moscow region. Lutreola 6: 24-34.


Selected media coverage

Crocodilian behavior: CBS News, CNN International, Daily Mail, Daily Science Journal, Discovery News, IOL SciTech, National Geographic, more National Geographic, Huffington Post, Oxford Press, Reddit Science, Reuters, Science/AAAS News, Science Daily, Science Recorder, Science World Report, Sci-News, Smithsonian Magazine, Tetrapod Zoology, The Telegraph,  The Conservation, Voice of America, Washington Post, Wired, BBC, CBC, Discovery Channel, The Colbert Report, IFLS.

Whooping cranes: BBC Nature, LaCrosse Tribune, Louisiana Conservationist Magazine, National Geographic Russia, Bird Channel, Science Daily.

Animal play: Daily Mail, Discovery Magazine.

Invasive brood parasites: Nature World News, The Wildlife Society, Scientific American, Science Daily, Audubon, Biosphere.

Coordinated hunting in snakes: CNN, National Geographic, Time, Science Times, Gizmodo, New Atlas.

Frogs and bats: Nature World News, Digital Journal, onEarth, Bioengineering.org

Hunting instinct in humans: Hindustan Times, Science Daily, Business Standard.

Striped hyenas in wolf packs: BBC, Discovery News, Washington Post.

Other: Ten places where the wild things are (CNN); search for saola (Around the World, Russia); canid systematics (phys.org), terrestrial behavior of moles (Guam Post), Meet the Scientist (BBC wildlife), Chinese crested tern in Japan (Higashi Nippo).