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  • Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

  • Written by: Frans de Waal
  • Narrated by: Sean Runnette
  • Length: 10 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (81 ratings)

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Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

Written by: Frans de Waal
Narrated by: Sean Runnette
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Publisher's Summary

From world-renowned biologist and primatologist Frans de Waal comes this groundbreaking work on animal intelligence destined to become a classic.

What separates your mind from an animal's? Maybe you think it's your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future - all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet's preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have been eroded - or even disproved outright - by a revolution in the study of animal cognition. Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame.

Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are - and how we've underestimated their abilities for too long. People often assume a cognitive ladder from lower to higher forms, with our own intelligence at the top. But what if it is more like a bush, with cognition taking different, often incomparable forms? Would you presume yourself dumber than a squirrel because you're less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns? Or would you judge your perception of your surroundings as more sophisticated than that of an echolocating bat?

De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens our minds to the idea that animal minds are far more intricate and complex than we have assumed. De Waal's landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal - and human - intelligence.

©2016 Frans de Waal (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

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Good listen

Makes you think about animals and history,
all the science that has been done.

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Pulling Back the Veil

Even among conservationists like myself, there is a widespread failure to fully appreciate the intelligence, sentience and emotional lives of animals. This ignorance can be comforting at times, putting distance between ourselves and the other minds we are so readily destroying. Reading this book brought the defining moral crisis of our age into sharp focus, and while at times it was difficult to see ourselves through this lens, author Frans de Waal has empowered us to lift the veil. I now live in a much more interesting world, where the wildlife I admire have mountains more depth. #Audible1

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Good read of a complex topic

Good read of a complex topic without unnecessary terminology and with interesting examples and discussions of alternative approaches.

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An Excellent Book

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The narration was clear and easy to understand. It's important that we move away from a human-centric way of judging our fellow earthlings and this book has some great arguments for empathy - a way of being that is so necessary in the world today.

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I loved it! The thought process and objectivity

I hunger to explore taboo topics! This was definately satiating that need. I hope there are other books out there. 😊Thank you!

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Loved this book

animals are incredible and this book proves it. I enjoyed it very much so I am going to read it again

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Are humans too stupid

At no point has there been one subject in the book where I’ve felt like anybody wouldn’t be smart enough to understand the behaviour of the animals. Unorganized, book… no real meaning. Obviously quite knowledgeable and experienced with animals writer , but very misleading title. The only place in the book that kind of resembles what the subject is about was at the end conclusion; a simple dumb paragraph about how in the future we’ll be able to analyse in depth the animals behaviours. This book is 1001 animals observations of their daily lives explained by short two minutes reports, nothing more. Very boring, I can’t believe I’ve finished it.

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