Book Recommendations: Animal Intelligence and Emotional Life


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Kanzi: the Ape at the Brink of the Human Mind

by E. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Roger Lewin (Contributor), Savage Sue Rumbaugh

The story of a pigmy chimpanzee who communicates by punching symbols on a keyboard and who understands spoken English.  


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When Elephants Weep: the Emotional Lives of Animals

by Susan McCarthy (contributor), Jeffrey Masson

A study of the complex emotional lives of animals.  The book provides fascinating insights into animal emotion, and offers a compelling analysis of the ways in which humans treat other animals.  


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Bird Brains: the Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies and Jays

by Candace C. Savage

Members of the crow family have powers of abstraction, memory and creativity that put them on a par with many mammals - even higher primates.  Bird Brains presents these birds, together with a large collection of colour photographs.     


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Animal Thinking

by Donald R. Griffin

If animals think, what do they think about?   Do they use intelligence simply to take care of business - to find food and avoid predators - or do they also imagine?  We know that some play; but do they fantasize?


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Animal Minds

by Donald R. Griffin

Griffin gives examples of foraging behaviour, predatory tactics, artifact construction and tool use, and the experimental psychology of animal cognition.  He gives us instances of animals communicating vocally and symbolically, revealing some of the surprising intricacies of their thoughts and feelings. 


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The Animal Mind (Scientific American Library, Vol. 51)

by James L. Gould, Carol Grant Gould

Taking a fresh look at the evidence on animal capacities for perception, thought and language, the Goulds show how scientists attempt to distinguish actions that go beyond the innate or automatically learned.   They describe a number of animal behaviours - some revealed to be more or less pre-programmed, some seemingly proof of a well-developed mental life. 


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Through a Window: my Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe

by Jane Goodall

Through a Window is the dramatic saga of thirty years in the life of a community.  It reads like a novel, but it is one of the most important scientific works ever published.  The community is Gombe, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, where the principal residents are chimpanzees.