Animal Wise takes us on an odyssey into the inner world of animals, from ants to elephants to wolves, and from sharp-shooting archerfish to pods of dolphins. With 30 years of experience covering the sciences, Virgina Morell uses her gifts as a story-teller to transport us to field sites and laboratories around the world, introducing us to pioneering animal-cognition researchers and their surprisingly intelligent and sensitive subjects; the unique personalities of the pioneering researchers involved; the moral and ethical issues raised; and the dilemmas involving how we can accurately uncover animals' cognitive abilities like memory, feelings, personality and self-awareness – traits that many in the 20th century felt were unique only to human beings. By standing behaviourism on its head, She explores how this rapidly evolving, controversial field has only recently overturned old notions about why animals behave as they do. She probes the moral and ethical dilemmas of recognizing that even “lesser animals” have cognitive abilities such as memory, feelings, personality, and self-awareness--traits that many in the twentieth century felt were unique to human beings.
There are stories about the researchers and their creative studies involving slugs, chimps, voles, hummingbirds, ants and many other creatures.
Most people have no idea that dolphins are self-aware, rats love to be tickled, chimps grieve, killer whales have cultures, and octopuses have personalities, dogs have extensive vocabularies and birds practice songs in their sleep. Voles love, jays plan ahead. A moth remembers its life as a caterpillar.
Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures takes us on this journey into the minds and emotions of animals through the unusual, bright, and committed researchers who study them.