crowyhead, July 24, 2007 (view all comments by crowyhead)
This book, for some reason, took me ages to get through -- I think I started reading it in April! It was still very good, just quite dense, and a hard one to sit down and read for a long time because of all of the information contained within. Heinrich has made an exhaustive study of the habits and quirks of ravens. His biggest area of interest is the measure of their intelligence; much of what ravens do seems incredibly brilliant to humans, but how much of it is innate, how much of it is learned behavior, and how much involves actual reasoning and planning? Heinrich is also fascinated by the many behaviors ravens engage in that don't seem to have any practical purpose, and spends considerable time trying to discern whether they are truly playing, or if there is something instinctual going on. Heinrich is incredibly rigorous in his studies, and thus draws very few hard and fast conclusions, but it is fascinating to realize just how intelligent and mysterious these relatively common birds are. If you are looking for a lighter, faster read on the subject, I recommend In the Company of Crows and Ravens by John M. Marzluff, Tony Angell, and Paul R. Ehrlich; it's less rigorous in terms of the science, but it's an enjoyable book nonetheless.
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LeanMeanJosephine, August 14, 2006 (view all comments by LeanMeanJosephine)
This book is utterly fascinating. Granted, it helps if you have some basis of interest in nature studies, ravens or birds, and/or brain physiology to find Heinrich's writing as riveting as I -- but, indeed, riveted you'll be! Heinrich covers a wealth of information about ravens and their habits, habitats, and astounding brains. These birds are truly remarkable, smart characters, and this book does them justice.
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by New York Times Book Review,
"Heinrich has a rare ability to embed dense scientific explications within graceful, lightfooted nature writing....The mind of Bernd Heinrich is a big, antic thing, like a raven, and meant to live outdoors."
by Edward O. Wilson,
"An amazing book by an amazing author. Heinrich has documented a level of intelligence and social sophistication rarely even dreamed to exist in birds."
by Baltimore Sun,
"Mind of the Raven combines a compelling exploration of the nature of consciousness with an unremittingly delicious jaunt in the woods....Heinrich is a grand storyteller."
by Library Journal,
"A fine, entertaining book for general readers, as well as an excellent resource for those seeking meticulously gathered and documented scientific information."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Left unsaid in this learned study is how many hours Heinrich sat motionless in the deep-space cold of a Maine winter to gather these observations. There lies the gauge of his enterprise, understanding, and passion."
by Los Angeles Times Book Review,
"Bernd Heinrich is one of the finest living examples of that strange hybrid: the science writer....No definition of God has ever made me feel as comfortable, small and important in the universe as Heinrich's insight into the mind of the raven."
The culmination of 35 years of research on dolphin and whale intelligence, The Dolphin in the Mirror is a journey inside the minds of both species and a plea that we treat them with the respect due to highly intelligent creatures.
A memoir by the worldand#8217;s leading dolphin and whale expert, revealing the extraordinary richness of these animalsand#8217; intelligence and exposing our terrible mistreatment of the smartest creatures in the sea.
For centuries, humans and dolphins have enjoyed a special relationship, evident not just in mythology and folklore but in many documented encounters. Some past cultures even worshipped dolphins and condemned anyone who killed or wounded of them. Yet in recent decades, a paradox: on the one hand, we have discovered extraordinary depths of dolphin intelligence and their emotional lives, to the point of glimpsing their self-consciousnessand#8212;on the other hand, in Japan, dolphins are slaughtered indiscriminately, and several nations keep them in cruel conditions.
Diana Reiss is one of the worldand#8217;s leading experts on dolphin intelligence who has helped lead the revolution in dolphin understanding for three decades. In addition, as an activist, she is a leading rescuer who helped inspire and served as an adviser for The Cove, and who continues to campaign against the annual Japanese slaughters. Here, she combines her science and activism to show us just how smart dolphins really are, and why we must stop mistreating them. Readers will be astonished at dolphinsand#8217; sonar capabilities; at their sophisticated, lifelong playfulness; at their emotional intelligence; and at their ability to bond with other species, including humans and even dogs! Her beloved companion dolphins, each with distinct personalities, create their own toys, type commands on a keyboard, tease and scold her playfully, and express their affection and delight. In Reissand#8217;s most famous experiments, she used a mirror to prove that dolphins are self-aware, and even self-conscious. TheDolphin in the Mirror is both a scientific revelation and a emotional eye-opener, revealing one of the greatest intelligences on Earth.
Dolphins arenand#8217;t just beloved, they are brilliant and conscious. So why do we treat them so terribly? Diana Reiss is one of the worldand#8217;s leading experts on dolphin intelligence. In addition, as a dolphin advocate, she is a leading rescuer who helped inspire and served as an adviser for the Oscar-winning filmThe Cove.Here, she combines her science and activism to show just how smart dolphins really are and why we must stop mistreating them. Readers will be astonished at their sophisticated lifelong creativity and playfulness, their emotional intelligence, their level of self-awareness, and their ability to communicate with humans. Her beloved mentor dolphins (as she calls them), each with distinct personalities, create their own toys, use underwater keyboards, tease and scold her playfully, and give us glimpses of their intelligence that often seem very familiar.The Dolphin in the Mirroris both a scientific revelation and an emotional eye-opener, revealing one of the greatest intelligences on the planet.
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