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Animal wise : the thoughts and emotions of…

Animal wise : the thoughts and emotions of our fellow creatures

by Virginia Morell

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1643972,634 (4.04)32
Title:Animal wise : the thoughts and emotions of our fellow creatures
Authors:Virginia Morell
Collections:Your library
Tags:recycle, Early reviewers, read in 2013

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Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures by Virginia Morell


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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was an LTER book that I struggled to start but ultimately found interesting. Each chapter concerns itself with a different animal and the various studies that were, or are, being performed to prove animals have thoughts, emotions, and feelings. I went into it with no illusions that animals didn’t have thoughts, emotions, and feelings so she didn’t have to convince this reader of anything.

My struggle at the start was the first chapter, “The Ant Teacher”. I started it many times before I opted to skip it. Apparently I don’t care about the emotional life of ants.

The second chapter, “Among Fish”, ultimately went the way of the ants. I haven’t fished in years but I love to eat fish. I didn’t want anything to interfere with that. That fish feel pain is not something unexpected. I skimmed the chapter. I may go back to it.

Moving on, the book improved greatly. The chapters on birds, parrots, elephants, dolphins, and chimpanzees were fascinating. I had already heard of some of the studies the author discussed, but it was interesting to read about them. The elephant chapter was tear inducing. Unfortunately, the final chapter on dogs really offered nothing new that anyone with a half-smart dog didn’t already know. I didn’t mention the chapter on rats which I read but didn’t particularly enjoy because, well, rats.

The paperback edition I read, with a border collie on the cover, was entitled Animal Wise, How We Know Animals Think and Feel. It is apparently the same book as the hardcover, Animal Wise, The Thoughts and Emotions of our Fellow Creatures, with a baboon on the cover. This bothered me as someone might buy the same book twice. But I think it was wise; the title is clearer and the cover, at least to me, more appealing. ( )
  coppers | Sep 17, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I have read this book twice since receiving it - I found it that interesting. I admit that I struggled with the introduction the first time through; the number of scientists mentioned became a bit of a blur to me. I also was impatient to read about actual experiements and research. I skipped then to the last chapter about the canine family, thinking it would be the most interesting to me. Then back to Chapter One. I actually found each and every chapter interesting, enlightening and even entertaining. The information provided gave me a new outlook on the reasons behind the movements of different creatures. I especially found the chapter on ants to be eye-opening. This book is well worth the read. ( )
  unadillacats | Aug 19, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I opened Animal Wise searching for something. I wasn't sure what exactly, but as the owner of two dogs, a cat and a Bearded Dragon and many other various creatures in the past, I was convinced that this book was somehow going to help me understand and communicate with them. I, however, was immensely disappointed.

Animal Wise looks and different species of animals and discusses how these animals, whether pets or wild animals, communicate with each other and show emotion.

I, personally, was floored that this book basically contained not one iota of information that I did not already know by being surrounded by my pets. It makes perfect sense to me that when my Border Collie is chewing a bone and my Goldendoodle barks at him that he wants the bone and is about to take it from him. I also know that when my Bearded Dragon climbs to the top of his "branch" and claws at the top of the tank that he wants me to take him out for a while. These things seem like common sense to me and I certainly didn't need 267 pages of Animal Wise to explain this to me. Yes, I do not own an elephant or an ape, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that when a momma elephant wraps her trunk around her baby it is either expressing love or protection. The same goes with apes - obviously the bigger stronger apes eat first and "control" the younger ones and love is expressed by sharing food and "picking" each other.

If you are expecting to learn anything from Animal Wise - you will be sorely mistaken. This is one of the few and far between books that I finished and thought to myself, I can't believe I spent so much time - that I won't ever get back - on reading something so useless. Sadly, I don't recommend this book to anyone who has anything better to do. ( )
  verka6811 | Jul 4, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The author visits with a number of scientists who are studying how (and if) animals think and feel, starting with fish and insects (yes, a fish DOES feel the pain of the hook) thru parrots and other birds, to wind up with chimps, dolphins, dogs, and wolves. I like the tone taken by the author. Very chatty, but she's not talking down to the reader at all. I also appreciate the copious footnotes and the fact that the note is on the page, but the citation is in a list at the back of the book. The book also includes an extensive reading list for those wanting more information. I quite enjoyed this one. ( )
  dulcibelle | Jun 23, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Surely we all know by now that people aren’t uniquely equipped with intelligence and emotion, but exactly how and what other animals think and feel isn’t simple to tease out from behavior. This book presents research on various species, arranged in order of similarity to humans, beginning with ants, passing through chimpanzees, and ending oddly with dogs, on the hypothesis that domestication pushed wolves to be more mentally compatible with humans, whereas evolution has no such constraint. Two pairs of chapters were most interesting to me: parrots and dolphins in the lab vs the wild, and efforts to understand why they need to be so smart in their natural lives.

Nothing notably remarkable or profound if you’re generally familiar with this sort of thing, but the author is conversant with the science, and portrays -- more engaging than results of studies -- scientists at work / play with their chosen creatures. ( )
  qebo | Jun 20, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Virginia Morellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elias, MariaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Surely, the most important part of an animal is its anima, its vital spirit, on which is based its character and all the peculiarities by which it most concerns us. Yet most scientific books which treat of animals leave this out altogether, and what they describe are as it were phenomena of dead matter. -- Henry David Thoreau
For my Mother, and for Michael who loves dogs, cats, and all the wild creatures. And for our pets, Buck and Nini, who stayed close while I wrote.
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Animals have minds.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307461440, Hardcover)

Noted science writer Virginia Morell explores the frontiers of research on animal cognition and emotion, offering a surprising and moving exploration into the hearts and minds of wild and domesticated animals.
   Did you know that ants teach, earthworms make decisions, rats love to be tickled, and chimps grieve?  Did you know that some dogs have thousand-word vocabularies and that birds practice songs in their sleep? That crows improvise tools, blue jays plan ahead, and moths remember living as caterpillars?

   Animal Wise takes us on a dazzling odyssey into the inner world of animals, from ants to elephants to wolves, and from sharp-shooting archerfish to pods of dolphins that rumble like rival street gangs.  With 30 years of experience covering the sciences, Morell uses her formidable gifts as a story-teller to transport us to field sites and laboratories around the world, introducing us to pioneering animal-cognition researchers and their surprisingly intelligent and sensitive subjects.  She explores how this rapidly evolving, controversial field has only recently overturned old notions about why animals behave as they do.  She probes the moral and ethical dilemmas  of recognizing that even “lesser animals”  have cognitive abilities such as  memory, feelings, personality, and self-awareness--traits that many in the twentieth century felt were unique  to human beings.

   By standing behaviorism on its head, Morell brings the world of nature brilliantly alive in a nuanced, deeply felt appreciation of the human-animal bond, and she shares her admiration for the men and women who have simultaneously chipped away at what we think makes us distinctive while offering a glimpse of where our own abilities come from.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:30 -0400)

Explores the frontiers of research on animal cognition and emotion, offering a surprising examination into the hearts and minds of wild and domesticated animals.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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