A piping plover feigns a broken wing to lure a predator away from her nest. A vervet monkey "cries wolf" and misleads his neighbors. A sea otter uses a stone to break open abalone shells. Communicating, using tools, making tactical gestures and strategic moves, animals often display what looks to us like conscious, even calculated behavior. In this riveting book, Donald Griffin, a pioneer in the study of animal behavior, investigates the mystery of the animal mind. He makes a persuasive argument (highly controversial in some scientific circles) that animals do think. Building on his groundbreaking work in The Question of Animal Awareness and Animal Thinking, Griffin brings together what we now know about animal cognition. He draws on the last decade's research in animal behavior, the philosophy of mind, and cognitive science to broaden our understanding of the nature and potential of animal minds. In species ranging from bees to dolphins to chimpanzees, Griffin shows us examples of foraging behavior, predatory tactics, artifact construction, tool use, and the experimental psychology of animal cognition. He gives us instances of animals communicating vocally and symbolically and reveals some of the surprising intricacies of their social arrangements. As in earlier works, Griffin explores the curious taboo among ethologists that has caused scientists for half a century to ignore the possibility that animals have conscious experience. The communicative signals of animals provide a revealing "window" on their thoughts and feelings, and scientific investigation may soon tell us what it is like, subjectively, to be an animal. Indeed, Griffin argues, animals may one day be able to communicate their thoughts directly and explicitly, once we are prepared to listen.
Communicating, using tools, making tactical gestures and strategic moves, animals often display what looks like conscious, even calculated behavior. Building on his work in The Question of Animal Awareness and Animal Thinking, Griffin brings together what is currently known about animal cognition, and makes a persuasive argument (highly controversial in some scientific circles) that animals do think. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)