Cover image for Beyond words : what animals think and feel
Title:
Beyond words : what animals think and feel
Author:
Safina, Carl, 1955- , author.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2015.
Physical Description:
xiii, 461 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, map ; 25 cm
Summary:
"Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina's landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals. In Beyond Words, readers travel to Amboseli National Park in the threatened landscape of Kenya and witness struggling elephant families work out how to survive poaching and drought, then to Yellowstone National Park to observe wolves sort out the aftermath of one pack's personal tragedy, and finally plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in the crystalline waters of the Pacific Northwest. Beyond Words brings forth powerful and illuminating insight into the unique personalities of animals through extraordinary stories of animal joy, grief, jealousy, anger, and love. The similarity between human and nonhuman consciousness, self-awareness, and empathy calls us to re-evaluate how we interact with animals" --
General Note:
"A John Macrae Book."
Language:
English
Contents:
Into the mine field -- Trumpets of elephants. The big question ; The same basic plan ; Distinctly human? ; Deep and ancient circuits ; We are family ; Motherhood happens ; Do elephants love their babies? ; Elephant empathy ; Good grief ; I don't know how you say good-bye ; I say hello ; Holding back, letting go ; Troubled minds ; Ebony and ivory ; Where baby elephants come from -- Howls of wolves. Into the Pleistocene ; A perfect wolf ; Packing and unpacking ; The wolf named Six ; A shattering of promises ; In a time of truce ; Magnificent outcasts ; Where the wolf birds lead us ; Wolf music ; The hunter is a lonely heart ; A will to live ; Domestic servants ; Two ends of the same leash -- Whines and pet peeves. Never mind theory ; Sex, lies, and humiliated seabirds ; conceit and deceit ; Chuckles and wacky ideas ; Mirror, mirror ; And speaking of neurons ; People of an ancient nation -- Killer wails. Sea rex ; A more complex killer ; Just very sexual ; Inner visions ; Diverse minds ; Intelligent in what way? ; The social brain ; Woo-woo ; Helping in mind ; Do not disturb ; To have and to hold ; Expect personality ; A vision true and mighty -- Final scratch.
ISBN:
9780805098884
Format :
Book

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On Order

Summary

Summary

I wanted to know what they were experiencing, and why to us they feel so compelling, and so-close. This time I allowed myself to ask them the question that for a scientist was forbidden fruit: Who are you?

Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina's landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals. In Beyond Words , readers travel to Amboseli National Park in the threatened landscape of Kenya and witness struggling elephant families work out how to survive poaching and drought, then to Yellowstone National Park to observe wolves sort out the aftermath of one pack's personal tragedy, and finally plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in the crystalline waters of the Pacific Northwest.

Beyond Words brings forth powerful and illuminating insight into the unique personalities of animals through extraordinary stories of animal joy, grief, jealousy, anger, and love. The similarity between human and nonhuman consciousness, self-awareness, and empathy calls us to re-evaluate how we interact with animals. Wise, passionate, and eye-opening at every turn, Beyond Words is ultimately a graceful examination of humanity's place in the world.


Author Notes

Carl Safina is the vice president for Marine Conservation and founder of the Living Oceans Program at the National Audubon Society. He is also an adjunct professor at Yale. He lives in Islip, New York.


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Esteemed ecologist and superb writer Safina (The View from Lazy Point, 2010), recipient of MacArthur and Pew fellowships and a Lannan Literary Award, introduces us to the who animals those which, like our species, know who they are; they know who their family and friends are. They know their enemies. To illuminate the inner lives of some of these highly intelligent and socially advanced beings, Safina accompanies experts in the field and collects a treasury of captivating and affecting true animal stories. In Kenya, he is charmed by exuberant baby elephants and awestruck by the great matriarchs, discerning just how distinct each individual personality is and how each animal has close bonds to loved ones and specific roles in their communities as well as curiosity, valor, a sense of humor, empathy, memories, and capacities for problem-solving and leadership. The same holds for the powerfully expressive wolves he follows in Yellowstone and the smart and cooperative killer whales he watches in the ocean of the Pacific Northwest. With forays into neurology and diverse animal-behavior studies, Safina reveals that ours is just one of many powerful minds at work on Earth and that we share many profound traits with our fellow animals. By turns mesmerizing, thrilling, and tragic, Safina's enlightening inquiry into animal intelligence calls for a new, compassionate perspective before we unwittingly drive our precious animal kin into extinction.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2015 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Considering the fascination human beings have with animal behavior, it's little wonder so many books on the subject exist. Yet so many of these resources compare animal behavior with human behavior-apples to oranges-rather than comparing one type of animal behavior with another. Safina (Song for the Blue Ocean) chooses to concentrate on the latter approach to animal behavior, meeting up with animal behavior researchers in the field: first observing elephant families in Kenya, then the wolves of Yellowstone, and, finally, killer whale pods in the Pacific Northwest. In between his on-site adventures, Safina discusses the higher-intelligence characteristics of lemurs, chimpanzees, and domestic dogs, among others. In this mind-bending book, Safina takes the reader along with him on his adventures, enlightening and educating at each of his stops. Those interested in animal behavior, as well as anyone who has ever wondered about higher animal intelligence, will feel as if they're right next to the author, learning along with him. B&w illus. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Award-winning author Safina (nature & humanity, Stony Brook Univ.; The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World) explores, through anecdotes and scientific information, nonhuman animals and their sense of self. He believes that animals have an inner life; that they can think and feel, experience joy and grief, and recognize and communicate with family and friends; and that they are capable of empathy, reasoning, cooperation, and deception, among many other attributes. Safina interviews and accompanies in the field the foremost researchers of the behavior of elephants, wolves, and killer whales, learning about these creatures' lifestyles and relationships and observing how they experience their lives (he also includes examples from the lives of dolphins, apes, monkeys, birds, and even fish to support his premise). Following families of elephants, packs of wolves, and pods of whales, Safina introduces us to individuals and their myriad relationships. He shares information on the species' status in the wild and the conservation challenges they face. VERDICT This well-researched book is a fascinating and thought-provoking investigation of different ways of viewing nonhuman creatures and their inner lives and is recommended for everyone who is interested in those beings and their behavior. [See Prepub Alert, 2/2/15.]-Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

An award-winning ecologist, Safina (Stony Brook Univ.) has written a delightful, thought-provoking book on animal thoughts and feelings. Traditionally, animal behaviorists have not "allowed" animals to have the human attributes; through a multitude of examples, mostly from field observations, Safina destroys that idea. The book is divided into four sections (each with numerous brief chapters): these deal with elephants (primarily), wolves, general concepts (such as mind, conceit, and the neuronal bases of behaviors), and marine mammals (particularly killer whales). Safina describes how animals behave, and also relates patterns of human behavior to those of animals. He takes the viewpoint that since humans are animals, one can look at nonhuman animals to explain human patterns of behavior. The book includes a few black-and-white visuals: maps and, in a center section, plates of elephants, wolves, and killer whales. There is a notes chapter at the end; Safina lists by page numbers the sources associated with the ideas presented on a page. He also includes a general bibliographic chapter and a well-developed index. This is fascinating reading for all audiences. It joins the classic book on the topic, Donald Griffin's Animal Minds (CH, Dec'01, 39-2199), and many more recent works on the topic. Summing Up: Essential. All readers. --Larry Thomas Spencer, emeritus, Plymouth State University


Table of Contents

Prologue: Into the Mind Fieldp. 1
Part 1 Trumpets of Elephantsp. 5
The Big Questionp. 9
The Same Basic Brainp. 16
Distinctly Human?p. 25
Deep and Ancient Circuitsp. 31
We Are Familyp. 36
Motherhood Happensp. 42
Do Elephants Love Their Babies?p. 49
Elephant Empathyp. 58
Good Griefp. 66
I Don't Know How You Say Good-byep. 75
I Say Hellop. 86
Holding Back, Letting Gop. 95
Troubled Mindsp. 100
Ebony and Ivoryp. 108
Where Baby Elephants Come Fromp. 126
Part 2 Howls of Wolvesp. 137
Into the Pleistocenep. 139
A Perfect Wolfp. 143
Packing and Unpackingp. 151
The Wolf Named Sixp. 160
A Shattering of Promisesp. 167
In a Time of Trucep. 177
Magnificent Outcastsp. 183
Where the Wolf Birds Lead Usp. 191
Wolf Musicp. 200
The Hunter Is a Lonely Heartp. 210
A Will to Livep. 216
Domestic Servantsp. 221
Two Ends of the Same Leashp. 229
Part 3 Whines and Pet Peevesp. 241
Never Mind Theoryp. 243
Sex, Lies, and Humiliated Seabirdsp. 250
Conceit and Deceitp. 258
Chuckles and Wacky Ideasp. 266
Mirror, Mirrorp. 273
And Speaking of Neuronsp. 280
People of an Ancient Nationp. 286
Part 4 Killer Wailsp. 295
Sea Rexp. 297
A More Complex Killerp. 304
Just Very Sexualp. 308
Inner Visionsp. 316
Diverse Mindsp. 325
Intelligent in What Way?p. 336
The Social Brainp. 345
Woo-Woop. 351
Helping in Mindp. 367
Do Not Disturbp. 375
To Have and to Holdp. 383
Expect Personalityp. 392
A Vision True and Mightyp. 399
Epilogue: Final Scratchp. 410
Notesp. 413
Selected Bibliographyp. 437
Acknowledgmentsp. 439
Indexp. 443