I wish this book could be assigned reading for everyone! Not only is it absolutely wonderful with never a dull moment, but it is full of fascinating and important information about the ways in which animals have been proven to be sentient, intelligent, and emotional beings, having self-awareness, fears, pains, ties to family, and a love of fun and play. They also sneak, connive, strategize, and combine with others to achieve goals. Given our common genetic and evolutionary heritage, we should realize that they have a lot to teach us about our own behaviors, just as we should not find it so strange that our own behaviors can provide clues about theirs.
Some examples of the great developments in animal research you will learn:
How scientists figured out that bowerbirds have an artistic sense of perspective;
How they know if animals recognize themselves in mirrors;
The vocabularies of a certain breed of dogs and how they can even pick out objects after seeing two-dimensional pictures of them on paper!
Fish sing to communicate! We just can’t hear them without special instruments.
Rats giggle, and love to be tickled; they also feel pain, and other emotions that make them questionable research subjects.
Why elephant poaching makes a worse impact than even just the killing;
And how PTSD can make young elephants grow up to be delinquents.
I could go on and on. This is a book I listened to in the car, and I was grateful for Bluetooth so I could call Jim (hands free) every five minutes and say “WAIT till you hear THIS!” He listened to it after I did, although one wonders why he needs to after all my phone calls.
The narrator, Kirsten Potter, is terrific. She did her homework on pronunciations, and added just the right inflections and voice changes for different scientists profiled in the book.
Evaluation: Don’t miss this book!
Published unabridged on 9 compact discs by Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc., 2013