With “The Parrot’s Lament and other true tales of animal intrigue, intelligence and ingenuity“, author Eugene Linden tackles that topic animal researchers, scientists and writers everywhere try to steer clear of: defining animal intelligence without anthropomorphizing (assigning human qualities to) animals.
This, as you might imagine, tends to be a toughy. But Linden doesn’t seem to care….which of course makes him a writer after my own heart. 🙂
For instance, on the subject of intelligence – do animals have it? If so, do all animals have it or just some animals? What is intelligence? Is intelligence different in human beings than in non-human beings? What constitutes higher intelligence? How much “higher” than animals does human intelligence go? Do animals think? Do they feel? Do they know what we are thinking and feeling? Can we trust ourselves to accurately interpret their behavior and (at times) language in human language terms?
These questions and more romp and play and roam throughout the pages of Linden’s book, which is the first of two featuring stories of animal doing what they apparently do best – surprising the heck out of us!
(NOTE: The second book, which I haven’t read yet but am looking forward to, is called “The Octopus and the Orangutan: more tales of animal intrigue, intelligence and ingenuity”.)
Linden is consumed with the question of what makes us different from our non-human counterparts on this planet.
I am consumed with what makes us the same.
In “The Parrot’s Lament”, both questions are answered….sort of.
p.s. It is probably worth mentioning before you rush out and buy it that Linden’s book is not particularly parrot-rich in content. Bummer. But the stories are so worth reading just the same!
To learn more about “The Parrot’s Lament” and author Eugene Linden: http://www.eugenelinden.com/parrotslament.html