Animal Biology for Scientists and Animal lovers
Edited by Julie A. Smith & Robert W. Mitchell
Columbia University Press, 35.00, 380 pages
“The authors in the current volume strive to explore, analyze, query, and generally poke at the perspectives of animals.”
This fascinating anthology, Experiencing Animal Minds, has twenty-one essays by twenty-five authors. It is an academic anthology, each essay complete with notes and list of references, yet many are interesting to read by any non-biologist fascinated by animals and animal-human interactions. The writing is scientific and quality varies widely. Some essays are easy to read, others have heavy-weight scientific writing only peer animal biologists will enjoy, understand and willing to plow through. This compilation by two editors, J. A. Smith and R. W. Mitchell, covers a wide spectrum focusing on animals and human encounters. Some of the essays are esoteric and some far out, such as “Can Animals Make ‘Art’”, with illustrations? A list of brief bios of the authors is listed at the end of the book; many are professors (not necessarily in animal biology), others are from non-profit organizations, artists, psychologists, an architect and so on. The animals studied are equally varied: chickens, chimps, monkeys, elephants, whales, horses, dolphins, beavers and dogs. Non-biologist will enjoy reading about the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, familiar to any dog lover. The index is thorough and well cross referenced. Animal biologist will benefit from this volume and plain animal lovers as well.
Reviewed By George Erdosh