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Thinking bees, ice-skating buffaloes, dreaming rats, happy foxes, ecstatic elephants, despondent dolphins—in Minding Animals, Marc Bekoff takes us on an exhilarating tour of the emotional and mental world of animals, where we meet creatures who do amazing things and whose lives are filled with mysteries.
Following in the footsteps of Konrad Lorenz and Niko Tinbergen, Bekoff has spent the last 30 years studying animals of every stripe—from coyotes in Wyoming to penguins in Antarctica. He draws on this vast experience, as well as on the observations of other naturalists, to offer readers fascinating stories of animal behavior, including grooming and gossip, self-medication, feeding patterns, dreaming, dominance, and mating behavior. Many of these stories are truly incredible—chimpanzees medicating themselves with herbal remedies, elephants clearly mourning a dead group member—but this is not simply a catalog of amazing animal tales, for Bekoff also sheds light on many of the more serious issues surrounding animals. He offers a thought-provoking look at animal cognition, intelligence, and consciousness and he presents vivid examples of animal passions, highlighting the deep emotional lives of our animal kin. All this serves as background for his thoughtful conclusions about humility and animal protection and animal well-being, where he urges a new paradigm of respect, grace, compassion, and love for all animals.
Marc Bekoff has gone deep into the minds, hearts, spirits, and souls of animals, giving him profound insight into their lives, and no small insight into ours. Minding Animals is an important contribution to our understanding of animal consciousness, a major work that will be a must read for anyone who loves nature.
|1||Chasing Coyotes and Moving "Yellow Snow"||3|
|2||Representing and Misrepresenting Animals||40|
|3||The Richness of Behavioral Diversity: A Potpourri of Animal Behavior||56|
|4||Animal Minds and What's in Them||84|
|5||Animal Emotions: Passionate Natures and Animal Feelings||100|
|6||Play, Cooperation, and the Evolution of Social Morality: Foundations of Fairness||120|
|7||Animal Welfare, Animal Rights, and Animal Protection||133|
|8||Human Intrusions into Animals' Lives||162|
|9||Science, Nature, and Heart: Minding Animals and Redecorating Nature||174|
|10||Animals and Theology: Stepping Lightly with Grace, Humility, Respect, Compassion, and Love||193|
"Hey man, what are you doing with that yellow snow?" I told the hiker I was studying urine-marking in dogs, needed the urine to do my study to see how dogs made sense of scents, and continued on. He looked at me like I was the weirdest person he had ever seen and hurried away.
I wrote Minding Animals because I have lots of fun and love doing what I do for a living. I'm eager to share with readers the fascinating knowledge that my colleagues and I have accumulated about animal behavior and animal minds. I'm very interested in animal cognition and animal emotions because learning about what animals think about and how and what they feel, their passions, is critical to learning about them as individuals living in their own and human-dominated worlds. This book follows some of my others, including Species of Mind (with Colin Allen), Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare Strolling with Our Kin, and The Smile of a Dolphin: Remarkable Accounts of Animal Emotions. Many books about animals are written by people who don't study them firsthand, but a view from within provides unique insights not only into animals but also into those who study them. Minding Animals also considers a wide range of animals. I weave together anecdotes and empirical scientific data into readable and reliable discussions of amazing and awe-inspiring animal behavior.
I've always wanted to know what animals are thinking and feeling. I grew up in a home that was full of compassion and love, and my parents tell me I've always "minded animals." "Minding animals" means two things. First, it refers to caring for other animal beings, respecting them for who they are, appreciating their own world views, and wondering what and how they are feeling and why.
I've spent the past three decades studying the social behavior of a variety of animals, including coyotes, wolves, dogs, and penguins and other birds and have done research in places ranging from Jackson, Wyoming, to Antarctica. My main focus has been on social organization, communication, play behavior, emotions, cognition (animal intelligence and animal consciousness), and animal protection, well-being, and ethics.
I also discuss challenging questions about our never-ending intrusions into nature. I'm especially interested in our efforts to "redecorate" nature by moving animals from place to place. I argue that we need a more socially responsible, compassionate, and holistic science if we're to make progress solving the problems we've created all over our planet. I've long been a hands-on activist, so I stress the importance of proactive, compassionate activism: getting out and doing something.
After all is said and done, the notion of "interrelationship" is very important to me. I long for the time when all life is woven into a seamless tapestry of respect, compassion, humility, grace, and love. Love is the answer, no matter how fluffy it sounds. I'm an unwavering optimist, and this is how I maintain unflagging hope. (Marc Bekoff)
Posted June 26, 2004
This book is so amazing, so riveting & so very insightful. I purchased it for leisurely reading, but ended up devouring it in 2 nights. The author is truly gifted & of sound education, not to mention heart. I will definately be reading all of his material henceforth!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.