Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
By Frans de Waal
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393353662, April 2017, 352pp.
The Short of It:
An interesting look at animal intelligence.
The Rest of It:
This was a fascinating read and also an interesting choice for a book club selection. Definitely not something I would have picked up on my own. Basically, Frans de Waal’s work involves experiments and tests to determine just how intelligent animals are and whether or not some of their intelligence is inferred by humans.
What I found interesting is how difference species would solve the same problem in different ways, given their exposure to certain situations and whether outside influences such as being fed before a study could affect the outcome. A lot of these experiments are food based so a chimpanzee who has been fed beforehand, may react differently than one who has not.
I have a dog. I think she is brilliant. I believe she has full thoughts and works through problems in a systematic manner. But after reading this book, I realize that most of her action is cued by me, unknowingly. The way I stand, the way I may look at a certain object are giving her clues on how to behave. Interesting, huh?
If you have any interest in animal intelligence at all then this book will fascinate you. Frans de Waal has a VERY interesting TED Talk on his work if you’d like to check it out.
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