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ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE?
by Frans De Waal (See other books by author)


Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc
Edition:
2016 Hardback, 352 pages

ISBN: 9780393246186
Item: DEG173
Ships the next business day.

Summary: From world-renowned biologist and primatologist Frans de Waal, a groundbreaking work on animal intelligence destined to become a classic.

Price: $27.95
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Expanded Description:

What separates your mind from an animal’s? Maybe you think it’s your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future - all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet’s preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition. Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long.

People often assume a cognitive ladder, from lower to higher forms, with our own intelligence at the top. But what if it is more like a bush, with cognition taking different forms that are often incomparable to ours? Would you presume yourself dumber than a squirrel because you’re less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns? Or would you judge your perception of your surroundings as more sophisticated than that of a echolocating bat? De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens our minds to the idea that animal minds are far more intricate and complex than we have assumed. De Waal’s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal-and human-intelligence.

32 illlustrations

I am a Dutch/American biologist, born in the Netherlands in 1948, having lived in the USA since 1981. My passion is primate behavior, and the comparison between primate and human behavior. I pursue the first as a scientist and the second as a writer of popular books. For me, there is nothing more logical than to look at human society through the lens of animal behavior.

I have a Ph. D. in zoology and ethology (the study of animal behavior) from the University of Utrecht, and now teach Psychology at Emory University, in Atlanta. My first book, "Chimpanzee Politics," compared the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. The book even reached the reading list of the congress in Washington. Ever since, I have drawn parallels between primate and human behavior, from aggression to morality and culture.

With my wife, Catherine, and our cats, we live in a forested area near Smoke Rise, in Georgia, a state we love. My daily work consists of teaching and research, which I do at America's oldest and largest primate center, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. I direct the Living Links Center there, which specializes in behavioral studies of monkeys and apes, mostly on social behavior and intelligence, so as to better understand human evolution. We do much of our work at a field station, outside of Atlanta, where the primates live in large open-air enclosures. All studies we conduct are behavioral and non-invasive. Our website offers videos, press releases, blogs, and so on: www.emory.edu/LIVING_LINKS

Since childhood, I have been an animal lover, and in fact -- even though my career has focused on primate behavior -- I am very much interested in all sorts of animals, including fish and birds, but also elephants and dolphins. My latest book on animal intelligence (Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?) reflects this broader interest, as it covers many different species.


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