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Introducing the Center for Humans and Nature

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I’m pleased to welcome a new contributor to EcoLit Books: The Center for Humans and Nature.

This is an amazing organization and I thought a Q&A would be a great way for you to get to know them.

What is the Center for Humans and Nature?
We are an organization based in Chicago that explores and promotes ethical thinking and dialogue—particularly as it pertains to ideas of environmental responsibility, ecological stewardship, and bettering the relationship between humans and nature.

What are your goals?
We believe that solutions to today’s challenges begin with big ideas. In order to inspire the great actions needed for transforming humanity’s relationship with nature, we share ideas that help us reimagine how to live responsibly on planet Earth. Our overarching goal is to share these ideas with students, teachers, conservationists, policy makers, and the larger thinking and caring community. We bring together philosophers, ecologists, artists, political scientists, anthropologists, poets, and economists, among others, to think creatively about how people can make better decisions—in relationship with each other and the whole community of life.

Can you tell us about a recent project/success story?
Our Questions for a Resilient Future series poses big-picture questions that explore and challenge our thinking about who we are and how we ought to relate to other living beings. Our most recent question is: What are our moral and civic responsibilities to water? Artists Betsy Damon and Patricia Johanson sparked the conversation with essays on reimagining a more responsible water infrastructure and valuing the essential connections between water and life. Others, including Lakota activist Tioksin Ghosthorse and Grand Chief Tamale Bwoya of the Buganda Kingdom, have added their voices on the importance of fostering a water ethic.

Beyond our Questions series, we also house an active and engaging storytelling blog called “City Creatures.” Connected to our City Creatures anthology (University of Chicago Press, 2015), this story forum invites people to submit and share their reflections on urban wildlife and how cities can offer opportunities for transformation, intimacy, and connection with other species and one other.

What projects do you have in the works?
We recently launched a new project called “Curations.” Inspired by a current event or topical conversation—such as ideas on identity and place or discussions around political polarization—we curate a collection of essays, videos, and question responses to highlight relevant insights from our diverse group of contributors.

We have also developed a new “Center Artist of the Month” series, and we are currently partnering with environmental youth organizations and university programs to share ideas from the next generation of nature-minded scientists, artists, and activists.

Additionally, we publish insightful articles in our triannual Minding Nature journal, and we create videos, organize events, and produce books by our staff and our Center fellows.

What books inspire you and do you feel deserve a wider audience?
Our individual reading lists are fairly diverse, but collectively Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac is probably our organization’s desert island book. We also love Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, Paul Taylor’s Respect for Nature, Lauret Savoy’s Trace, David Abram’s The Spell of the Sensuous, Simon Schama’s Landscape and Memory, and, of course, the many books by our friends and contributors.

To learn more visit The Center for Humans and Nature.

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A Q&A with author Jennifer Longo

Jennifer Longo is the author of the novel Up to this Pointe (learn more about the book here). Thanks to Jennifer for chatting with me about her wonderful book!

Q: Your author bio refers to your “obsessive love of Antarctica” — what led to this obsession?

A: Oh, my favorite topic! In 1998 I was in grad school doing research for a play about the history of photography, and I went to the Kodak website (on the new-fangled Interwebs). The entire site was devoted to Frank Hurley, Ernest Shackleton’s expedition photographer. All the plate glass negatives and photographs were there, and the images were just unbelievable – Antarctica was another planet. Those images led straight into my obsession. I read everything I could get my hands on about the Age of Exploration, Shackleton, and Antarctica in general. I’m just completely taken with the beauty and savage existence the animals, microorganisms, and people experience there, and how it all kind of exemplifies our lives on Earth in one beautiful continent. The sky and the water and the ice and the volcanoes are indescribably beautiful, it’s Nature basically showing off: Look how badass I can be!

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Q:  From the first lines of the book (“The thing about Antarctica that surprises me the most? The condoms. They’re absolutely everywhere.”) and throughout, you capture life at McMurdo Station so well, including not only all the natural beauty of winter in Antarctica but the quirky and often challenging reality of overwintering. What was your research process like, and did it include a visit to Antarctica?

A:  I am so sad to say I have not been to Antarctica; it remains a dream of mine. I did apply for the NSF Artists’ grant twice, but have not yet been accepted. So the research I did was relegated to the many excellent books, memoirs of scientists and artists living at the stations there, and talking with Winter Over-ers via Twitter and email. There are a ton of really wonderful documentaries, of course, about living at the stations during winter, and about the natural world there in all seasons. And I have a good friend who Wintered-Over twice – he was there as a civilian – and he provided that first line! He’d called me from McMurdo, I said, “I can’t believe you’re there, how is it?” and he’s all, “There are so many condoms – they’re everywhere!” This was like, fifteen years ago, and I thought “Huh. Well, there’s a story.”

Q: In your author’s note, you mention the difference between facts and truth in fiction, and how in reality, a teenager wouldn’t be allowed to overwinter in Antarctica. Were there any other facts you had to overlook or stretch in order to tell the truths of this story?

A: Oh my gosh, I love author’s notes! Some examples of truth-stretching involve the ballet world, like the students not knowing the status of the YAGP results and their teacher keeping it a mystery – with the internet that’s basically impossible! And I’m sure the day-to-day activities in Antarctica (could a brand-new arrival really be taken on a snow-mobile to a rookery right off the bat?) are not exactly as they occur. Having never been to Antarctica, I used the real details I got from interviews and books and documentaries, but a fiction writer, even a contemporary one, is still world-building, still storytelling with specific narrative structural building blocks, and so it will never be completely one hundred percent accurate. And it’s not supposed to be, so long as there’s no pretense that it isn’t fiction.

I wrote this Author’s Note specifically (in case anyone was interested) because of responses I got from my first book (Six Feet Over It). Some readers will take issue with contemporary books if the events in the plot don’t ring absolutely true to real life, or at least, real life as each individual reader understands it. (Oddly, the things in SFOI that some readers scoffed at the most were always the parts that were actually true, so that was funny.) I wanted to acknowledge and kind of get in front of people discrediting the story just because everything in it isn’t completely modeling real life – because, again, this is fiction. And I was also aware that citizens and scientists of Antarctica and people who dance for a living get (justifiably) mad when people write books about their home and take lazy, dumb liberties. So the note was really all about sharing the resources I used for research, so people could explore the actual truth of a life in Antarctica and in ballet, and still enjoy this fiction story based on those truths.

Q: This novel has such strong senses of place, both in San Francisco and Antarctica. What is it about these two places that made you choose them for the settings of this book?

A: I’ve begun every play and book I’ve ever written with place. These two places both spoke the same story to me – two different plots, same story, if that makes sense? Surviving after failure, thriving because of failure, exemplifies the story of both San Francisco and Antarctica. Both are incredibly beautiful, both demand a punishing amount of effort to live in their beauty, both have, and continue to, survive human destruction of their natural state, both are home to some of the planet’s most unique and striking creatures on the planet, and the people and animals who do thrive there are ones who are devoted to, and changed by them, for life.

 

Q: I loved the structure of this novel—the story of Harper’s arrival in Antarctica alternating with the slow reveal of what happened to inspire her to go south. How did you decide to tell the story this way?

A: I’m so glad you liked it! When we began telling the story in straight liner narrative, it felt stagnant; it didn’t move the way we wanted (“we” meaning my editor, agent, and I). We played around with past-tense reversed plot, and holding out with the mystery of the end of Harper’s career but in the end, we realized the mystery, or the fact of or reason why her dancing career did not happen, was totally beside the point. The story was how she accepted and lived with the the failure, and learned to let it change her. When we focused on that, the structure kind of revealed itself. It was so fun to write, good hard work to get there.

Q: Cam you tell us about what you’re working on now?

A: I am loving working on my new book! This one I’m writing for my daughter, and for my new home, the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. It involves adoption, thru-hiking, and holding on to who you know you are, no matter what people (even those who love you) try to make you mistrust about yourself. I am so grateful my editor lets me write these stories, which are not so typical, and that readers have found some comfort and humor and exploration in them, too. Thank you so much for having me today!

Visit Jennifer Longo’s website to learn more…and don’t miss Up to this Pointe!

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Introducing Zoomorphic

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It’s always exciting to see a new literary journal launch with a focus on environment writing.

So please welcome Zoomorphic, a new online journal founded by James Roberts and Susan Richardson and “dedicated to writing that deepens our connection with wildlife and the more-than-human world.”

I recently conducted a brief Q&A to learn a bit more.

Here we go…

Tell us a bit about Zoomorphic and how it came to be.

Susan and I had both been involved with the Dark Mountain Project, a creative community that shared our own environmental concerns. Susan has been writing about animals for a long time and has worked with many organisations such as WWF and Friends of the Earth. We are both deeply concerned about the level and rapidity of biodiversity loss and wanted to curate a space for a community of practice where writers and artists could create content that both celebrates and defends wild animals.

What types of writing are you looking for?

All types, as various as possible. Creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, essays. What we’re mostly looking for is writing that is accutely observed, that communicates clearly the author’s passion for the subject. We also want to work with conservationists and scientists and help them produce stories that can be enjoyed by non-scientific readers. What we don’t want to publish is stories that use animals as metaphors for people.

Tell us a bit about your background and writing.

I have been involved in a very wide range of literary and creative projects, starting out writing and producing plays, working on lots of multimedia projects commercially while also publishing poetry and essays in literary journals in the UK. I am a professional digital designer so I’m also responsible for the visual side of Zoomorphic.

What writers inspire you?

I’ll stick to living writers: The poet W.S. Merwin, whose work has been rooted in the earth for decades. He has managed to build a life around his practice that is utterly authentic. For me, he is the finest poet writing. In fiction, Cormac McCarthy, for much the same reasons. I agree with George Monbiot that The Road is the most powerful piece of environmental literature written for years. And I must mention Alice Oswald, who is a magician.

What advice do you have for writers of environmental prose?

My advice is that there has never been a better and a more urgent time for writing about the environment. We need many varied voices from all places and all backgrounds. Most of all, we need writing that is rooted in and that passionately defends the author’s own “square mile.”

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PS: Here is our growing list of literary outlets for environmental writers.

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Q&A with Barbara King, author of How Animals Grieve

 How Animals Grieve is an important book about the inner lives of animals.

In April, author Barbara King was kind enough to answer of a few of my questions about the book and what inspired her to write it and how people have reacted to it so far.

If you haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, please add it to your “must read” list.

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What inspired you to write this book?

It was the animal themselves who inspired me, as I gradually began truly to see the grief that may sear a survivor when death steals a loved one away. Elephants, apes, and dolphins, horses, rabbits, cats, dogs, some birds—depending on individual personalities and circumstances, all of these creatures (and more) tell us through their actions how profoundly they feel their lives.

In writing two of my earlier books, I started to find hints of animal mourning in the scientific literature. So I settled down to answer in How Animals Grieve the questions that compelled me the most, about the scope of animal grief, what does and doesn’t credibly count as grief, what animals’ grief means for our connection with other species.

I was particularly moved by the story of the two ducks Kohl and Harper. What story moved you the most?

Kohl and Harper opened my eyes wide. These two ducks, fragile in body and spirit after their rescue from a foie gras factory, formed an unshakable bond at Farm Sanctuary in New York State. Fast friends, they spend their days together. When Kohl was euthanized to spare him untreatable pain, Harper was allowed to watch. The only word for his response is “heartbroken,” not only on that specific day but for weeks. He never did recover. How many of us think about ducks in this light, as experiencing such bonds of friendship and loss? I hadn’t, but I do now.

An equally moving story for me was about Willa and Carson, two Siamese cat sisters who lived together for 14 years, at the home of good friends of mine. The sisters ate and slept together, enjoying sun patches and warm blankets as a pair. Carson developed some health problems, and one night was settled into a warm incubator at the vet’s office for treatment. She never woke up. At first, Willa seemed mildly distressed. Then she began seek out her sister in all their favorite places: as she roamed the house, she would pass by one of those favorite places and let out a keening sound. She was terribly sad, for a long time.

In each case, I find solace in thinking not just of the sadness, but also of the strong love that linked Kohl and Harper, and Willa and Carson—and knowing that in each case, loving humans surrounded the survivors and gave them as much comfort as they could.

Have readers contributed stories as well that you could share?

Oh yes. I’m slowly reading and responding to emails, because it’s an honor when people want to tell me about their own animals. This topic matters to people who love animals.

I will share a dog story from Cristina Chuecos who sent it to me by email last month. For almost a year now, Cristina’s 8 year old shih tzu, Milou, has been grieving for his friend Cobi, the older dog in the household who died at age 14 The two lived together for 7 years. Once, when Cobi needed surgery and was away from home, Milou’s distress was so great he would only eat when hand-fed.

When Cobi went into kidney and heart failure, his human family knew it was time to help him. Thus they left home, for the vet’s office, with Cobi and came home without. For a few days, Milou looked for Cobi but then he underwent what Chuecos calls “a deep personality” change from his usual upbeat demeanor, a change that persists. “Milou now spends his days sitting in the same spot, looking in the same direction, as if he was looking out a window,” Chuecos wrote me. “We have a three floor townhouse, and in every floor he sits in the same area, looking at the same spot. Occasionally he whimpers or growls. He is has been standing alert for hours at a time, looking at the same spot. I recently moved his bed to that area, so that at least he can lie down, and he has started taking breaks in what appears to be his watch. He only relaxes completely when we bring him up to lay down next to us on the sofa.”

Chuecos detailed for me a number of things she has tried in her efforts to help Milou, who is lucky to have such a loving and supportive caretaker. Milou’s sadness has perhaps eased somewhat, and I hope he will regain some of his previous joy in life.

You talk about the importance of allowing time for animals to grieve their dead companions. What additional recommendations would you offer to humans to help animals when one of their companions moves on?

I’m so impressed by the sanctuaries, farms, and zoos that encourage animal survivors to spend a bit of time with the body when a relative or friend dies. That’s a very enlightened approach. Although from my research I found that this helps only some survivors, it’s definitely worth a try. In terms of our companion animals, many—but again not all– respond with a fairly sudden uplift of emotion if a younger animal is brought into the home, after an appropriate time for quiet sadness. This strategy won’t be practical for everyone, but even occasional visits from “a therapy companion” to a grieving animal may help. Love and time are the best emotional medicine, as they are for people too. The thing to remember is that animals vary individual by individual, just as we do—some may not grieve at all.

What animals did you wish you had covered for the book but simply ran out of time or space or both?

The study of animal grief is so new that credible cases—those either published in the literature or offered by astute “animal people”–are still relatively few. I’m hoping that How Animals Grieve may help change that: a database of examples is now emerging due in part to the book and in large part also to scientists who more and more record animals’ response to death at their field or captive research sites. That said, I have an article to come out in the July edition of Scientific American magazine (on the stands in June) that includes a stunning example of giraffe grief that I became aware of after the book went to print.

As people become enlightened about animal grief, do you see any positive developments regarding animal welfare in general?

Yes, I do. As we come to know that many other animals love and grieve, we will, I believe, see them as creatures whose lives matter in their own right. How could we not, then, work to end the practice of using chimpanzees, cats, rabbits or other animals in biomedical laboratories? Of asking dolphins and whales to endure life in small tanks and to entertain us in shows? Of eating animals without a thought to the cow who gives birth but grieves when her babies are taken away for slaughter time and time again? We’re in the midst of a sea change in how we think and act towards animals.

How has the writing of this book changed your own relationship with animals?

I’ve always felt close to certain individual monkeys or apes whom I have observed or filmed or spent time with, and with our own (very many!) rescued cats. Now my sense of connection to animals has rippled out in an unexpected way. The tree in our front yard frequently hosts a raucous group of crows, and from what I have learned about corvids I now realize when they chatter, they’re expressing something (I’ve no idea what specifically) about their tight network of bonds. And during the writing of this book I stopped eating chicken and turkey, adding to my already-in-place practice of eating no beef, lamb, veal, or pork.

What’s your next writing project?

An exciting change in my life is underway: I’ve become a part-time freelance science writer. This year and next year, and perhaps beyond that, I am teaching only half-time in order to immerse in more writing. The College of William and Mary, where I’ve taught Anthropology for 25 years now, has been supportive of my efforts at public engagement through science. Now, I have the best of both worlds: in fall semester, I’m paid to teach a fabulous group of undergraduates about biological anthropology and primate behavior, and during spring semester through the summer, I’m making a go of it as a freelancer. At present, I’m busy with articles for science and literary magazines, and just barely starting a new book about animals, with a chapter underway about octopus. It’s too early to say more, but I’m blown away by octopus cognition and emotion!

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About Barbara King

Barbara J. King has taught Anthropology at the College of William and Mary since 1988. Originally focused on primate studies through her observations of wild monkeys in Kenya and captive apes, she now takes up intelligence and emotion in a wide variety of animals. She writes for NPR’s 13.7 Cosmos and Culture blog and the TLS. In Gloucester County, Virginia, she lives with her husband and many cats. Besides cat rescue, she enjoys attending her daughter’s college choral concerts and reading as much fiction as possible. Her website is www.barbarajking.com

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A Q&A with Virginia Morell, author of Animal Wise

A Q&A with Virginia Morell, author of Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures

 

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Q: One of my favorite stories from this book is about the archerfish—how they lined up in a row to look at everyone, and especially how they liked to spray water into the eyes (and noses, and gemstones) of researchers and visitors. Of all the research you did, what is your favorite animal story?

A: This is a tough question because I loved meeting all the animals. The archerfish were some of my favorites because I had not expected them to be so curious about me and other people, and of course, it was a hoot to have them “hunt” my eyes, etc. The shots they fire aren’t “spray”—they are hard, like a water bullet. You flinch when you’re hit. But if I had to pick only one animal as my favorite, I would choose Alex the African Gray Parrot. It was so remarkable and delightful to listen to him speak, especially when he chose to comment on the other parrots’ pronunciation (“Talk clearly! Talk clearly!”) or when he told Irene Pepperberg, his human colleague, “Wanna go tree.” That just broke my heart. He was molting the day I visited, which is a bothersome condition for birds, so he wasn’t feeling that great. And I was there—a stranger—which is always a bit scary for parrots because they are neophobic, afraid of new things and people. And he was quarreling a little bit with Irene. She spoke a little harshly to him at one point, which is when he asked to go to the tree. The tree was growing outside, but he could see it through a large window if she walked him down a hallway. You could see Irene’s eyes and face soften when he asked for the tree. She kissed the top of his head and walked him down the hall into the tree’s green light—a story I tell in my book.

Q: For me, one of the biggest and most delightful surprises in this book was learning that rats have such a great capacity for joy—that they’re playful and that they laugh when tickled. Which discovery about animals surprised you the most?

A: Like you, I loved the discovery that rats laugh; it just makes so much sense because they play, too. But until Jaak Panksepp discovered rat laughter in the 1990s, no one knew they did. We miss so much about animals—either because we can’t hear them, as with the rats’ laughter, or because we just think they are incapable of certain things, such as love. I still marvel at the discoveries that ants teach, earthworms make decisions, and that lab rats dream about how to solve their mazes. Maybe I was most surprised by Karl Berg’s study showing that green-rumped parrotlet parents name their chicks. Nothing like this had ever been found or suggested for any species of animal; it’s groundbreaking. And, although Berg still has some work to prove this definitively, I’m convinced he’ll nail it. Once you have a name—and can call the names of your friends and family as the parrots are doing (dolphins do this, too)—then there’s little reason that you shouldn’t be able to exchange information vocally—or even have a conversation, as Berg thinks the parrots are.

Q: In the chapter on birds, you captured a poignant moment with Alex, the famous gray parrot who had been raised in captivity: “‘Wanna go tree,’ Alex said in a tiny voice,” and yet he could only look at the tree from inside. So much of the research that shows proof of animal emotion and intelligence takes place in labs, with captive animals—did any of the researchers talk about this irony?

A: Yes, I did discuss this with several of the researchers. Like you, I was curious about why many of the animal cognition and emotion studies involve captive animals. Partly, it’s the history of the field. In its earliest days, it was mostly based on things that people (sometimes great scientists, such as Darwin) had observed in the field; some of these “anecdotes” were hard to believe, or so colored by anthropomorphism (such as saying ants have friends or play) that they spoiled this type of science for almost 100 years. Darwin also did experiments with captive animals. For instance, he gave earthworms a choice between materials (a thorny leaf versus a smoother one) for blocking their tunnels’ air holes—and was quite astonished to find that the worms actually made a decision between the two. Laboratory studies were often more convincing about animals’ abilities because researchers could control the conditions—just as Darwin did in that earthworm test. But lab studies also miss a great deal, and there is the moral question about keeping animals in captivity, especially those whose cognitive abilities seem closer to our own, such as the cetaceans and primates. Researchers are wrestling with this issue; some have called for an outright ban on captive studies, at least for apes and dolphins and whales. Others think that we will still learn more about their abilities by having captive populations; they argue that it’s largely because of these captive studies that we know how sentient these animals are—and that such studies provide necessary ammunition for arguing for more conservation areas and legal protections for these species. I think many of us in the general public are wrestling with the same issues. Look at all the attention the movie Blackfish, which is about the problems of keeping orcas in captivity, has drawn. I saw a recent headline in the business section of a newspaper wondering if this documentary is going to spell the end of the marine-mammals-on-display business. After writing my book, I realized that I no longer enjoy watching animals in captivity.

 

Q: After learning that trout have twenty-two pain receptors on their faces and heads, you wrote, despite having grown up fishing, “I wasn’t sure I would enjoy fishing again.” How has the knowledge that fish experience pain, as well as the other things you’ve learned about animals, changed the way you view the myriad ways animals are used, from fishing to animal testing to raising them for food?

A: Well, I haven’t been fishing since I met Victoria Braithwaite and listened to her discuss her group’s discovery that fish suffer pain. I do eat fish—so I can’t really claim any moral high ground here. And I would probably go fishing again, although with barbless hooks. We just haven’t been on the right type of camping trip, but may do one later this summer. If I do go fishing, I only want to catch stocked fish—not those hatched in the wild; wild populations need to recover from our overfishing. As for eating animals, again I cannot claim to be a vegetarian, although I eat far more fruit and vegetables than meat. I started cutting back on beef, pork, etc., about two decades ago for health reasons and now don’t enjoy that type of meat. I’m still fond of chicken, but find myself questioning if I shouldn’t stop eating that, too. However, I don’t think that my personal decisions are going to stop people from eating meat. That’s something that the human animal does, as do many other animals. We are different in that we raise most of our meat animals, so I think it is imperative that we give those animals a decent and good life. Using animals to test biomedical, pharmacological, and cosmetic products needs to stop. It is wrong.
Q: You write in your epilogue that, like us, animals “think and feel and experience the world…Now that we know this, will our relationship with them change?” What do you think are the societal and political implications of what you reveal in this book? Do you think it will inspire change?

A: I’ve actually received letters and emails, and had comments from friends, saying my book has changed them—which touches my heart. Some have even said they can no longer bring themselves to harm the ants they see in their kitchens. If readers come away from my book concerned about the ants in their kitchen, then I’ve done my job! After spending time with these scientists and writing about their research, I find I no longer think about animals in the same way. They’re not just stumbling through life; they have brains and minds, and they are using them to make decisions, form relationships, find homes and food—all of which we do, too. I think that perspective brings us much closer to the animal world—and I hope, makes us kinder and gentler toward the creatures in it.
Q: Anthropomorphism is clearly a concept that scientists seek to distance themselves from. Do you think scientists overcompensate at times in their efforts to keep emotion out of their experiments?

A: The scientists I met for my book study animals because they love them; they love biology, which is the study of life. All of them enjoy thinking about what it is like to be their study animal, whether it’s a fish or a wolf. And they sometimes get insights or ideas for tests to give their animals by thinking that way. It’s how Jaak Panksepp discovered that rats laugh. He saw that rats often have their  mouths open when they play—and he imagined that they must be laughing, just as our kids do when they play. Think of all the people who’ve worked with lab rats or had rats as pets—and finally one, a scientist, realized that they must be laughing. Now, to prove that, Panksepp had to draw back; he had to put aside his own thoughts and emotions. He had to figure out a way to show that the rats were in fact laughing—and that meant setting up a series of test situations to document when and how rats laugh, and to record their laughter in a way that would prove to others that this sound (which we cannot hear because it is out of our range) was laughter. It wasn’t easy to do, but that’s what science requires: a demonstration that stands up and can be repeated no matter who does it or where it’s done. So Panksepp had to figure out a way that other scientists (or anyone) could test their rats for laughter—and get the same results he had. It’s too easy to dismiss scientific thinking as cold or heartless, when in fact, it’s because of this type of rigor that we know these things about animals.
Q: As you’ve presented your book to audiences, what types of reactions have surprised you the most?

A: That people who’ve read it now worry about ants. Of course, not just ants, but that it affected them so deeply, they now take a second or third look when they come across ants—and all animals, I hope.
Q: What’s your next book project?

A: I have several ideas—but haven’t started focusing on one just yet.

 

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