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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)
(hide most of this review)
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
Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation
“A fascinating exploration into the foundations of the human-animal bond and of our relationships with animals.
E. O. Wilson, Harvard University author of Biophilia
“An original, exceptionally interesting book. It is also a feel-good-about-ourselves book, and we surely need more of those in today’s strife-torn environment.”
“A warm exploration of the bond that might just keep humans sane ‘until our own species can settle down again and act civilized.'"
Barbara Smuts, author of Sex and Friendship in Baboons and Primate Societies
“Wide-ranging, fascinating, poignant and clearly heartfelt….Timely because if connects the human-animal bond to the latest work in neuroscience, animal behavior, and the relationship between these fields.”
Scientific American Mind, 1/27/09
“[A] heartwarming and fascinating book…Olmert makes a convincing case that we are better off with [animals] in our lives.”
“More proof of the astonishing intricacy of life’s interconnectivity.”
“Made for Each Other turns a bright light on animal-human relationships, and raises provocative questions about the relationship of biology and behavior."
Sante Fe New Mexican, 2/8/09
“[Olmert] comes to some fascinating conclusions.”
Boston Globe, 2/15/09
“A nice companion volume to Grandin’s...Olmert weaves together the evolution of the bond between people and animals with the latest science.”
The Bark, March/April 2009
“Olmert creates a compelling case for our seemingly innate attraction to animals.”
New Scientist, 3/14/09
“A fascinating, wide-ranging and easy read about the biology of the human-animal bond.”
“Meg Daley Olmert expertly sums up a slew of scientific studies that show oxytocin to have a hand in everything from the monogamous mating habits of prairies voles to the early relationship between a human mom and her newborn.”
Natural History, 4/09
“Meg Daley Olmert…has investigated the scientific and historical background of the bond between humans and their domestic animals, finding that it’s as socially complex and meditated as the love we humans have for each other.”
“Olmert calls on a wealth of behavioral psychology, zoology, and anthropology to explain the neuroscience behind the evolution of domestication and the mutual benefits of human-animal bonding.”
“Wide-ranging and well-researched…An entertaining and insightful book crammed with interesting science presented in a thoroughly accessible way. Olmert convincingly shows that the urge to connect with animals is deep in our nature, and she livens up her writing with engaging stories and intriguing tidbits of information that make for fascinating reading.”
Choice, September 2009 issue
“Engagingly written…Recommended. This is a ‘feel-good’ book about human-animal relationships.”
A Humane Nation, blog of Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society, 12/14/09
“Made for Each Other was for me the most stimulating book of the year…Olmert’s work associates her with the path-breaking thinking of E.O. Wilson.”
What Our Readers Are Saying
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