In our fast-paced, human-centered lives, we are often oblivious to the remarkable capacities of so many animal species, like those of our underwater cousins: fish. Article: The Globe And Mail, […]
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Fishes Have Feelings Too: The Inner Lives Of Our Underwater Cousins:
When you think about fish, it’s probably at dinnertime.
Author Jonathan Balcombe, on the other hand, spends a lot of time pondering the emotional lives of fish.
Balcombe, who serves as the director of animal sentience for the Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy, tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that humans are closer to understanding fish than ever before.
What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins
Jonathan Balcombe Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2016)
More than 30,000 species of fish — about half of all vertebrates — roam global waters. And as ethologist Jonathan Balcombe notes in this engrossing study, breakthroughs are revealing sophisticated piscine behaviours.
Balcombe glides from perception and cognition to tool use, pausing at marvels such as ocular migration in flounders and the capacity of the frillfin goby (Bathygobius soporator) to memorize the topography of the intertidal zone.
While diving off the Micronesian archipelago of Pulau, evolutionary biologist Giacomo Bernardi witnessed something unusual and was lucky enough to capture it on film.
An orange-dotted tuskfish (Choerodon anchorago) uncovered a clam buried in the sand by blowing water at it, picked up the mollusk in its mouth and carried it to a large rock 30 yards away. Then, using several rapid head flicks and well-timed releases, the fish eventually cracked open the clam against the rock.
In the ensuing 20 minutes, the tuskfish ate three clams, using the same sequence of behaviors to smash them.
Interview On: The Colin McEnroe Show (WNPRadio)
Animal rights have come a long way over the last century, providing, of course, we’re not talking about fish. While other vertebrates have slowly been recognized as social, feeling, even sentient beings, fish remain good for three things: owning, catching and eating.
It’s All About Food:
Interview of Jonathan by Caryn Hartglass on 9th June 2016 regarding his latest book, “What A Fish Knows” and related topics.
Closing The Buffet
Review by Justin Hickey on Open Letters Monthly (June 01, 2016)
In 1949, Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz introduced his concept of the “baby schema,” which theorized that the large eyes, shorter snouts, and round wobbly heads of infant animals trigger caregiving urges in their parents.
That this phenomenon crosses species lines is irrefutable, considering how much time we spend cooing at puppies and kittens—true fur babies—and any adult creature possessing a hint of benign fluffiness.
If Lorenz were alive today, he’d nod in sage commiseration at our vast internet cache of videos and memes celebrating owls, raccoons, pigs, hedgehogs, rabbits, and ducklings (to name a few, in this reviewer’s order of Descending Cuddliness).
How about fishes?
What A Fish Knows Puts Fish In The Limelight
Book Review on FanGirl Nation by Jessica Greenlee (June 01, 2016)
Jonathan Balcombe is talking about not only What a Fish Knows but how they know it, what they experience, and the question of whether or not they qualify as self-aware, sentient beings.His answer to that last is an emphatic “yes,” and he has the studies to back his conclusion.
Throughout the book, he examines fish senses, intelligence, social and family lives, and concludes with a chapter on fishing. He also points out that not all fishes are alike and we have not come close to studying the wide variety out there.
The book is fascinating, bringing to light an astonishing number of unexpected revelations about fish.
What Are Animals Thinking?
Interview Date: Monday 5th April 2010
Interviewer: Nell Boase
Jonathan Balcombe discusses animal emotions and whether non-humans can be virtuous.
His new book Second Nature – The Inner Lives Of Animals is out now.
The Opinion Pages – New York Times:
Published: May 19 2011
To the Editor:
David Brooks draws an unfair line between humans and other animals.
Virtue is widespread in nature. Studies have found that chimpanzees show spontaneous helping behavior toward humans and fellow chimps. They also console victims of violence and show gratitude for favors. Chickens, prairie dogs, songbirds and others sound the alarm at an approaching predator, heightening personal risk by drawing attention to themselves.