A New York Times bestseller: "A passionate and convincing case for the sophistication of nonhuman minds." Alison Gopnik, The Atlantic
Hailed as a classic, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? explores the oddities and complexities of animal cognitionin crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, chimpanzees, and bonobosto reveal how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long. Did you know that octopuses use coconut shells as tools, that elephants classify humans by gender and language, and that there is a young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame? Fascinating, entertaining, and deeply informed, de Waal’s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animaland humanintelligence.
|Publisher:||Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Frans de Waal has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. The author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, among many other works, he is the C. H. Candler Professor in Emory University’s Psychology Department and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Table of Contents
1 Magic Wells 7
2 A Tale of Two Schools 29
3 Cognitive Ripples 63
4 Talk to Me 95
5 The Measure of All Things 119
6 Social Skills 165
7 Time Will Tell 205
8 Of Mirrors and Jars 235
9 Evolutionary Cognition 265
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An interesting look at animal intelligence. This was a fascinating read and also an interesting choice for a book club selection. Definitely not something I would have picked up on my own. Basically, Frans de Waal’s work involves experiments and tests to determine just how intelligent animals are and whether or not some of their intelligence is inferred by humans. What I found interesting is how difference species would solve the same problem in different ways, given their exposure to certain situations and whether outside influences such as being fed before a study could affect the outcome. A lot of these experiments are food based so a chimpanzee who has been fed beforehand, may react differently than one who has not. I have a dog. I think she is brilliant. I believe she has full thoughts and works through problems in a systematic manner. But after reading this book, I realize that most of her action is cued by me, unknowingly. The way I stand, the way I may look at a certain object are giving her clues on how to behave. Interesting, huh? If you have any interest in animal intelligence at all then this book will fascinate you. Frans de Waal has a VERY interesting TED Talk on his work if you’d like to check it out.
A crustacean and a fish had learned to play a rules-based game when I first observed them, alone, in a 3-4m3 (barren - boring) marine aquarium. I have not recorded this observation (about ten repeats over three weeks), so I'm hoping someone will recreate the conditions, see what happens, and report it. The place: the Blackpool (public) Aquarium. The fish: a large-mouthed, bottom-living Percid about 36cm total length; the Crustacean: a large (for the Irish Sea) Hermit Crab, probably Pagurus sp. with two suitable whelk shells (Buccinum sp). The game started (possibly triggered by the crab investigating the free shell) with the fish approaching the crab+extra shell. By not changing shells, the fish backed off a little, then a little more until it was at a critical distance from the crab. "Critical" meaning just "safe" for the crab to move to the free shell with the fish threatening to catch it, but always just missing. The "rule" of the game was "nobody gets hurt" - just excited. Anyone interested in replicating this? Details c/o firstname.lastname@example.org. And I have an observation about a depressed Goldfish getting relief by teaming up with a non-fish companion. Great to see animal behaviour getting its day in the sun with stunning new titles from Frans and others.
It's not a hierarchy when everyone's unique
Mr. De Waal uses a lot of quotes and also tries to get us to understand Ethology before he goes in deep with his wonderful and insightful stories about how cognitive animals truly are. One quote is from a German physicist, Werner Heisenberg: "What we observe is not nature itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning." Mr. De Waal said that animals often know only what they need to know (which sounds a lot like our jobs). And I love this one from Konrad Lorenz: "I believe that one could not investigate animals effectively without an intuitive understanding grounded in love and respect." De Waal states that the challenge is to find tests that fit an animal's temperament, interests, anatomy, and sensory capabilities. Faced with negative outcomes, we need to pay close attention to differences in motivation and attention. I, myself, can understand his point with my ADHD, I, as a human, face the same dilemmas. I get what he means. The points that really interest me is what Mr. De Waal talks about Ethology, New to science. He says that the great novelty of technology was to bring the perspective of morphology and anatomy to bear on behavior. He also says that before scientists test any animal, they need to know it's typical behavior. These are just a few of the points he makes about this new, brilliant field of study. I wish to thank W.W. Norton & Company and NetGalley for giving me a free copy of this book to read and give my honest review.