Thursday, October 11, 2018

#CatThursday - #Authors and #Cats (77) Frans de Waal

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.

The second Cat Thursday of each month is Authors and Cats Thursday. Each time I will feature an author with their cat(s), pictured with a cat(s), or guest posts by cat loving authors who also (sometimes) write about cats.

I wanted to feature someone special this month since it's my birthday month. (I turn the big 5-0 on Monday!) I can't believe I have never heard of this author before. Now I'm really interested in reading his books. I couldn't believe my luck when I found images of him with his cats. 

Frans de Waal (b. October 29, 1948) has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. The author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, among many other works, he is the C. H. Candler Professor in Emory University’s Psychology Department and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia. (from Goodreads)

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 eroded, or even been disproven 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 forms that are often incomparable to ours? 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 a 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. 

Check out his other books on Goodreads.

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  1. I hope you have a wonderful birthday!!

  2. I can't believe he lives in Atlanta, Ga. I've seen this book different places. Now it looks more interesting. I like your book review.

  3. First, Happy Birthday! I remember 50--that was a good year :)

    I have never heard of this author, but I am putting the book on my GoodReads list, for sure. I got over a long time ago that we were the smartest beings on the planet!

  4. I've been wanting to read this book for awhile. Great author and cat profile!

  5. How fun to discover a new, interesting author!

  6. Haha, I love your idea of featuring authors with cats. If you've not already seen John Scalzi's twitter (or I think his cats now have their own twitter?) I'd recommend checking it out. I didn't end up writing a review of Are We Smart Enough, but I really enjoyed it :)

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