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Made for Each Other: The Biology of the Human-Animal Bond (Merloyd Lawrence Book)by Meg Daley Olmert
Synopses & Reviews
Nothing turns a baby’s head more quickly than the sight or sound of an animal. This fascination is driven by the ancient chemical forces that first drew humans and animals together. It is also the same biology that transformed wolves into dogs and skittish horses into valiant comrades that would carry us into battle.
Made for Each Other is the first book to explain how this chemistry of attraction and attachment flows through—and between—all mammals to create the profound emotional bonds humans and animals still feel today.
Drawing on recent discoveries from neuroscience, evolutionary biology, behavioral psychology, archeology, as well as her own investigations, Meg Daley Olmert explains why the brain chemistry humans and animals trigger in each other also has a profound effect on our mental and physical well being.
This lively and original investigation asks what happens when the bond is severed. If thousands of years of caring for animals infused us with a biology that shaped our hearts and minds, do we dare turn our back on it? Daley Olmert makes a compelling and scientific case for what our hearts have always known, that we were, and always will be, made for each other.
As the Obama family gets ready to welcome a pet into the White House, a new book explores how humans came to let animals into their homes. Before man was top dog, argues Meg Daley Olmert in her insightful book, he was lunch. To avoid being eaten, our ancestors probably spent hours watching animals, "intuiting their next move, sensing their emotions and pain." These encounters, she... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) suggests, "could have sparked in the growing human heart and mind a rudimentary sense of connection." Like wolves, humans lived in packs and shared child-care duties. A lactating woman comforting a mewling pup might have instinctively let it suckle; more than one anthropologist has reported such behavior among tribes worldwide. Olmert also suggests that environmental conditions, such as ice ages, sometimes put humans and animals in such close proximity that they could either compete for resources or help each other. Eventually, she writes, the "chemistry flowing between the species was so strong it turned wolf into dog and humans into herders and breeders." To underscore modern humans' need for close contact with animals, Olmert stresses the positive responses to dogs among children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. And she suggests that such advances as milking genetically modified goats for a drug to treat human blood disorders "may bring the human-animal bond to its ultimate conclusion." Reviewed by Susan P. Williams, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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Book News Annotation:
Oxytocin is a hormone that has been implicated in romantic and maternal love. As a producer of nature documentaries for television who participated in research on the neurobiology of social bonding, Olmert examines the evidence for oxytocin as also being the basis for the evolution of the human-animal bond. Her interesting, general audience treatment concludes by noting the facilitators and barriers modern society poses for this relationship. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The first book to reveal the deep historical and biochemical roots of our connection with animals, and their connection with us.
About the Author
Meg Daley Olmert has developed and produced natural history and cultural documentaries for Smithsonian World, National Geographic Explorer, Discovery Channel and PBS. She and her husband live on the eastern shore of Maryland with their kayaking cats.
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