This is the first in an occasional series in which I will share books that I think are
worthy of attention. My interests range across a wide range of topics. Recently my focus has been on learning more about the natural world.
The human species has long held the conceit that it is somehow removed from and even above the animal kingdom. Science has chipped away at this idea for at least a century and a half but science itself has not
been free from bias.
For a long time, many scientists believed that animals operated only on instinct and some even that certain species were incapable of feeling pain.The notion that creatures other than humans are insensate, without unfeeling, whether by science of lay persons, has been used to justify much exploitation and cruelty.
In addition, many characteristics that were thought uniquely human such as tool use, foresight and
planning, and ability to manipulate the environment, have been found to have their counterparts among other animals.
In recent years new research has steadily expanded our knowledge of animal behavior and intelligence. The concept of sentience in some non-human species, once soundly dismissed, is now becoming more accepted.
I like books that expand my knowledge of the world. These books certainly did that for me and I hope you will explore and enjoy what they have to offer.
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, Frans de Waal, W. W. Norton & Company (April 25, 2016)
What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins, Jonathan Balcombe, Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux (June 7, 2016)
Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans, John Marzluff, PhD., Tony Angell, Atria Books (February 5, 2013)
One Wild Bird at a Time: Portraits of Individual Lives, Bernd Heinrich, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 12, 2016)