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Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of our Fellow Creatures [Kindle Edition]

Virginia Morell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Did you know that ants teach, earthworms make decisions, rats love to be tickled, and chimps mourn? That some dogs have 1000-word vocabularies and that birds practise songs in their sleep? That crows improvise tools and moths remember living as caterpillars? Animal Wise takes the reader on an exhilarating, eye-opening journey into the hearts and minds of animals, from ants to chimpanzees, dogs to dolphins -- via archerfish, elephants and wolves. A prolific contributor to National Geographic among other publications, Morell shows that individuality, self-awareness and feeling are far more widespread in the animal kingdom -- and among the scientific community -- than many believe. Combining scientific rigour and storytelling verve, Animal Wise brings the world of nature brilliantly to life in a nuanced, moving and original appreciation of the human-animal bond.

Product Description


'A journey to the centre of the animal mind'
Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation

'A delightful exploration of how animals think... Morell makes a fascinating, convincing case that even primitive animals give some thought to their actions.'
Kirkus Reviews

'Anyone who reads this book will be changed forever in their view of life on earth.'
Richard Leakey, author of The Sixth Extinction

'The scientific expertise Virginia Morell provides to this very important subject, and the way she ties this in with the researchers who know their animals -- because knowing them is their life work -- make this an important book and a great read.'
Bernd Heinrich, author of Life Everlasting

'This enthralling book might change the way we perceive other species who share the planet with us... A compelling read.'
Bark magazine

'From ants to apes, Animal Wise covers wide-ranging scientific research on the cognitive and emotional capacities of many different nonhuman animals. Morell writes clearly and concisely, and this easy read will surely be good for animals because we must use what we know about them to make their lives better in an increasingly human dominated world.'
Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals

'Virginia Morell enters the world of animals with respect and insight and with the compelling argument that our lives differ only in degree... [A] fascinating, timely, and important book.'
George B. Schaller, Wildlife Conservation Society --...

About the Author

Virginia Morell is a correspondent for Science and a contributor to National Geographic, Smithsonian, and Condé Nast Traveler, among other publications. She is also the author of Ancestral Passions, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and Blue Nile.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 980 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307461440
  • Publisher: Old Street Publishing (28 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #385,038 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking into the minds of others 15 April 2013
By M. D. Holley TOP 1000 REVIEWER
How to get inside the conscious minds of non humans?

Each chapter of this book describes Virgina Morell's time spent among a particular group of scientists, each studying a different species. In this way, she sets up the perfect structure for her book. Each team has its own peculiar slant, and this makes the book much more rounded than it could ever have been if a single scientist had put forward his or her point of view. Morell is a wonderful storyteller, and I found myself drawn emotionally into the lives of the various characters she meets, both human and non human.

My favourite chapters were those on dolphins, elephants and most especially dogs. I was astonished to realise that no one had properly researched dogs until very recently. The most amazing discoveries are the ones right under our noses - the dog chapter is a real surprise (I won't say why - buy the book and read it!).

Unlike some other books on this subject, Morell does not over do her conclusion, and keeps a light touch throughout. The implications of all this are deep, and I doubt we'll be able to work it out in our generation. Perhaps the next chapter of human history will describe how we came to terms with it all.

After finishing the book I went into the local woods to experience the parallel bird universe out there.

Totally recommended!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Niki Collins-queen, Author TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Noted science writer Virginia Morell introduces us to the work of the world's most amazing pioneer animal-cognition researchers in her book, "Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures." She explores how this rapidly evolving, controversial field has overturned many of the old notions about why animals behave as they do. Her reports are a moving exploration into the hearts and minds and the surprising intelligence and sensitivity of wild and domesticated animals.
Dazzling discoveries include how dolphins and chimps are astute social thinkers, whales and cows have accents and regional dialects, ants teach, fish feel physical pain, archer fish are sharp-shooters, earthworms make decisions, chimps, crows and fish improvise tools, blue jays plan ahead, and elephants and chimps grieve. Many animals develop health issues from stress and may even die after loosing a mate. Some go through a year or two of mourning.
Morell says the research shows that dogs could solve problems as wolves do but they have a special desire to cooperate and work with their masters. For dogs humans are more important than anything else. Some dogs have been found to have a thousand-word vocabulary.
Most scientists believe that primates and other animals like whales and dolphins have a culture. Not everything is genetically inherited but learned. Researchers found different populations within species have their own way of doing things. For example passive teaching is the norm in chimpanzee society. A happy chimp is one that is living in a complex society with his fellows.
Morell uses the story of Keo, a 50- year-old chimpanzee in a Chicago zoo to illustrate the ever-changing human view of what it means to be an animal in captivity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, good written 22 Jan. 2014
By Sowa
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Amazing book, I am not only animal lover but also behaviorist. I love the way this book is written. Full of scientfic details but good eand easy for everybody to read. Morell shows the world of animal mind as the paralel to ours, human one. No better nor worse, different but full of wisdom.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Morell goes on great adventures, following many of the world's top researchers on animal intelligence through jungles, tropical bays, or university research facilities in many nations. She covers the slowly developing analysis of parakeet twitters, dolphin calls, rat laughter, patterns of dog behavior, and the better-than-human feats of memory by gorillas. In each case she coveys the beauty and mystery of the animals while explaining the complexity of research that is more challenging than decoding unknown human languages. I enjoyed the book a lot. Hard to see any animal as an "it" after reading this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 24 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a detailed description of the science that has developed to see what and how animals think and feel. The experiments described are very clever and bring amazing results. There is no question that after reading this human beings should realise that this planet does not belong just to people, but to every living thing on it. Animals have feelings too!
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