Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? (Digital Audiobook)
Publication Date: April 24, 2016
From world-renowned biologist and primatologist Frans de Waal comes this groundbreaking work on animal intelligence destined to become a classic.
What separates your mind from an animal’s? Maybe you think it’s your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future―all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet’s preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have been eroded—or even disproved outright—by a revolution in the study of animal cognition.
Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are—and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long.
People often assume a cognitive ladder, from lower to higher forms, with our own intelligence at the top. But what if it is more like a bush, with cognition taking different, often incomparable, forms? Would you presume yourself dumber than a squirrel because you’re less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns? Or would you judge your perception of your surroundings as more sophisticated than that of a echolocating bat?
De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens our minds to the idea that animal minds are far more intricate and complex than we have assumed. De Waal’s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal―and human―intelligence.
About the Author
Frans de Waal, PhD, is a biologist and ethologist, world-renowned for his work on the social intelligence of primates. He has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and is the author of numerous books, including The Ape and the Sushi Master, which was named a New York Times Notable Book, Our Inner Ape, and Peacemaking among Primates, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award. De Waal is a Charles Howard Candler Professor of Primate Behavior at Emory University and the director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Center in Atlanta.