Book Reviews

Book Review in Nature

What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins

Jonathan Balcombe Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2016)
ISBN: 9780374288211

What A Fish Knows Book Cover - Small

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.

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Book Reviews

Open Letters Monthly – What A Fish Knows

Closing The Buffet

Review by Justin Hickey on Open Letters Monthly (June 01, 2016)

What A Fish Knows Book Cover - Small

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?

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Book Reviews

Fishes In Good Company

Book Review Of What A Fish Knows:

Paul Taunton’s list of must-read books for June in The National Post includes, “What A Fish Knows”:

What A Fish Knows Book Cover - SmallFrom big-bet debuts to money-in-the-bank authors – not to mention a book about fish that might change the way you feel about your favourite breaded filet – here’s the National Post’s Books Editor’s recommended reading for June.

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Book Reviews

Fangirl Nation On – What A Fish Knows

What A Fish Knows Puts Fish In The Limelight

Book Review on FanGirl Nation by Jessica Greenlee (June 01, 2016)

What A Fish Knows Book Cover - SmallJonathan 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.

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