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Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Frans De Waal

Narrated By: Sean Runnette

Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks

Date: April 2016

Duration: 10 hours 37 minutes


From world-renowned biologist and primatologist Frans de Waal comes this groundbreaking work on animal intelligence destined to become a classic.

What separates your mind from an animal's? Maybe you think it's your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future?all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet's preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have been eroded-or even disproved outright-by a revolution in the study of animal cognition.

Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are-and how we've underestimated their abilities for too long.

People often assume a cognitive ladder, from lower to higher forms, with our own intelligence at the top. But what if it is more like a bush, with cognition taking different, often incomparable, forms? Would you presume yourself dumber than a squirrel because you're less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns? Or would you judge your perception of your surroundings as more sophisticated than that of a echolocating bat?

De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens our minds to the idea that animal minds are far more intricate and complex than we have assumed. De Waal's landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal?and human?intelligence.


  • Thomas Arends

    A lot of great information, and the narrator is great, but the book is made like its a systematic review, or summary of different articles. So it feels like there is no real storyline.

  • Kitty Taylor

    An interesting read. A little redundant at times when making his point, but altogether very enlightening. I loved the stories about the different animals and what trials they faced. Worth reading.

  • Cheryl Cockerham

    Good choices. Easy to use. Easy to search for books for myself and my son. I would recommend it to a friend.

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

by Frans De Waal

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Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, Frans De Waal