In a world where we usually measure animals by human standards, I take us into the inner lives of animals themselves; witnessing their profound capacity for perception, thought and emotion; showing why the word “it” is often inappropriate as we discover who they really are.
Weaving decades of observations of actual families of free-living creatures with new discoveries about brain functioning, I bring us inside their lives and minds, breaching many commonly held boundaries between humans and other animals. In Beyond Words, readers travel the wilds of Africa to visit some of the last great elephant gatherings, and follow as free-living wolves of Yellowstone National Park sort out the aftermath of their personal tragedy. Then we plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in waters of the Pacific Northwest. We spend quality time, too, with dogs and falcons and ravens and dozens of other denizens; and consider how the human mind originated.
In this book readers explore astonishing new discoveries about the similarities in our consciousness, self-awareness, empathy, non-verbal communication, imitation, teaching, the roots of aesthetics and music, and a surprising capacity for grief widespread among elephants, wolves, whales, and even certain birds. Turns out, animals think and feel a lot like people do; after all, people are animals.
I’m passionate about this topic. I’ve worked hard to provide a graceful examination of how animals truly think and feel, and to show what really does—and what should—make us human.
Publication date: June 2015