Book: Second Nature

Second Nature Featured Image

The Inner Lives of Animals

About The Book:

Second Nature Book CoverFor centuries we believed that humans were the only ones that mattered. The idea that animals had feelings was either dismissed or considered heresy. Today, that’s all changing.

New scientific studies of animal behavior reveal perceptions, intelligences, awareness and social skills that would have been deemed fantasy a generation ago. The implications make our troubled relationship to animals one of the most pressing moral issues of our time.

Jonathan Balcombe, animal behaviorist and author of the critically acclaimed Pleasurable Kingdom, draws on the latest research, observational studies and personal anecdotes to reveal the full gamut of animal experience―from emotions, to problem solving, to moral judgment.

Balcombe challenges the widely held idea that nature is red in tooth and claw, highlighting animal traits we have disregarded until now: their nuanced understanding of social dynamics, their consideration for others, and their strong tendency to avoid violent conflict.

Did you know that dogs recognize unfairness and that rats practice random acts of kindness? Did you know that chimpanzees can trounce humans in short-term memory games? Or that fishes distinguish good guys from cheaters, and that birds are susceptible to mood swings such as depression and optimism?

With vivid stories and entertaining anecdotes, Balcombe gives the human pedestal a strong shake while opening the door into the inner lives of the animals themselves.


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Testimonials:

 

Balcombe builds a compelling case for blurring the line between animal and human perception, thereby questioning the prevailing scientific orthodoxy that humans alone possess the ability to reason.

Publishers Weekly


Graceful prose makes this an excellent introduction to the examination of animal minds.

Booklist


In this engaging book, Balcombe marshals wide-ranging and up-to-date evidence to demonstrate that animals do indeed experience the world as richly as us and may well feel and suffer more intensely than we do.

NewScientist


This book was so interesting and accessible that I almost felt guilty reading it at work.

The Reporter (Population Connection)