Book Review: BITCH by Lucy Cooke

As a zoology student, Lucy Cooke was taught that the females of the species are exploited, weak, and passive. As a human animal, Cooke begged to differ. In Bitch: On the Female of the Species, she challenges this sexist mythology across species, from birds to primates to whales, showing that females can be just as sexually …

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Book Review: The Longest Story

Upon reading the synopsis, Richard Girling’s The Longest Story appears to take on an ambitious task: cover the relationship between humans and non-human animals throughout all of history in under 400 pages. Yet somehow Girling, a veteran environmental journalist, is successful. Though The Longest Story does almost exclusively favor Western humanity and culture, Girling provides …

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Culture is Home: Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace

Guest book review by Gene Helfman. MacArthur Fellow Carl Safina established himself among the legion of environmental journalists with his first book, the award-winning Song for the Blue Ocean. In Song, he detailed the causes of and solutions to declining fish populations, especially those overharvested in commercial fisheries. In (also award-winning) Eye of the Albatross, he lamented the …

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Book Review: The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

Studies of animal intelligence have demonstrated the impressive cognitive abilities of certain animals: rhesus macaques, crows, bottlenose dolphins, border collies.  Recently, there is another animal gaining increasing recognition for its intelligence: the octopus. The Soul of an Octopus is, as its subtitle aptly describes, “a surprising exploration into the wonders of consciousness.”  Written by Sy …

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Book Review: The Meaning of Birds by Simon Barnes

In The Meaning of Birds, Simon Barnes traces the history of birds—as well as humans’ relationships and interactions with them—over several millennia and across multiple continents. Barnes is a UK-based nature writer, so North American readers will enjoy an opportunity to become more familiar with Britain’s backyard birds, such as the wood pigeon, the Scottish …

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Book Review: What It’s Like to Be a Dog: And Other Adventures in Animal Neuroscience

I am forever wondering what my dog, Galen, is thinking. Sometimes I go nose to nose with her, stare into her brown eyes, and ponder what’s happening in that little brain of hers. In those moments, I presume she thinks either, “Why have you thrust your face in mine?” or “How about you give me …

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