Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

Holt. Jul. 2015. 480p. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780805098884. $32; ebk. ISBN 9780805098891. NAT HIST
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.]

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