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You can click to view my favorites for anthropology, biology, cognitive sciences, ethology, climate, evolution, brains, language, the future -- not to mention Patrick O'Brian novels and the Science Masters series.

Ethology and Animal Behavior

Richard Byrne, The Thinking Ape: Evolutionary Origins of Intelligence (Oxford Univ Press 1995).
Among other things, it has one of the best short summaries of the many attempts to teach animals the rudiments of language.

William H. Calvin, The Throwing Madonna: Essays on the Brain (McGraw-Hill 1983, Bantam 1991).
17 essays: The Throwing Madonna. The Lovable Cat: Mimicry Strikes Again. Woman the Toolmaker? Did Throwing Stones Lead to Bigger Brains? The Ratchets of Social Evolution. The Computer as Metaphor in Neurobiology. Last Year in Jerusalem. Computing Without Nerve Impulses. Aplysia, the Hare of the Ocean. Left Brain, Right Brain: Science or the New Phrenology? What to Do About Tic Douloureux. The Woodrow Wilson Story. Thinking Clearly About Schizophrenia. Of Cancer Pain, Magic Bullets, and Humor. Linguistics and the Brain’s Buffer. Probing Language Cortex: The Second Wave, and The Creation Myth, Updated: A Scenario for Humankind.
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Charles Darwin (edited by Paul Ekman), The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals 3rd Edition (Oxford Univ Prress, 1998 reprint).
Yes, ethology is another field that Charles Darwin helped to invent. Among the most readable of his books, it's alive with anecdotes, literary quotations and his own observations of his friends and children. Darwin spent a lot of time seeking out photographs of facial expressions to include in this book, and Paul Ekman (the modern expert on facial expression of emotion) makes a wonderful editor. amazon.com
Jane Goodall, The Chimpanzees of Gombe (Harvard University Press, 1986).
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James Gould and Carol Grant Gould, The Animal Mind (Scientific American Library, 1994).
        "What makes the wasp's behavior more like that of a computer than an architect is the lack of any comprehension of the goal. Instead, the insect focuses on a series of immediate tasks. This distinction between "local" tasks, which could be accomplished by innate programming alone, and "global" goals, which may require a more complete perspective and understanding of the need a behavior serves, will be crucial to our analyses of more complex behavior."
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anthropology, biology, cognitive sciences, ethology, climate, evolution, brains, language, the future -- not to mention Patrick O'Brian novels and the Science Masters series.

You can click on the topics to see a collection of favorite books on the subject.

Nicholas Humphrey, Consciousness Regained (Oxford University Press, 1983).
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Other books by Nick Humphrey in the Amazon.com database.

The Tangled Wing : Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit
by Melvin J. Konner (Freeman - April 2001)..
"Indecently elegant—a beautifully written book by any standard—and it's about language, love, lust, learning and all the rest of our apes-and-beyond nature…. Every behavioral biology topic reflects the enlightenment of the past two decades since this classic book first appeared." — William H. Calvin.

"Melvin Konner is. . . the nearest we have to a poet laureate of behavioral biology. This is an indispensable book." — Robert Sapolsky

Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and Roger Lewin, Kanzi (Wiley, 1994).
        "Comprehension demands an active intellectual process of listening to another party while trying to figure out, from a short burst of sounds, the other's meaning and intent both of which are always imperfectly conveyed. Production, by contrast, is simple. We know what we think and what we wish to mean. We don't have to figure out "what it is we mean," only how to say it. By contrast, when we listen to someone else, we not only have to determine what the other person is saying, but also what he or she means by what is said, without the insider's knowledge that the speaker has."
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The Ape and the Sushi Master: Cultural Reflections of a Primatologist
by Frans De Waal (Basic Books, 2001).


Frans de Waal, Frans Lanting, Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape (University of California Press 1997).
As The Atlantic Monthly said:
        What Professor de Waal describes is a society of mamma's boys, permanently subject to female control. It is also an erotic society, with sexual contacts conducted steadily, ingeniously, and with no discernible concern for sex or age. One of Mr. Lanting's many photographs sums up these apes rather well. It is of a male bonobo, standing straight as a palace sentry, well prepared for sexual action, and offering handfuls of sugarcane. Bonobo may lie at the root of civilized behavior.

Frans de Waal, Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong (Harvard UP 1996).
        "If carnivory was indeed the catalyst for the evolution of sharing, it is hard to escape the conclusion that human morality is steeped in animal blood. When we give money to begging strangers, ship food to starving people, or vote for measures that benefit the poor, we follow impulses shaped since the time our ancestors began to cluster around meat possessors. At the center of the original circle, we find a prize hard to get but desired by many... this small, sympathetic circle grew steadily to encompass all of humanity — if not in practice then at least in principle.... Given the circle's proposed origin, it is profoundly ironic that its expansion should culminate in a plea for vegetarianism."
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Frans de Waal, Peacemaking Among Primates (Harvard UP 1989).
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Frans de Waal, Chimpanzee Politics: Sex and Power Among the Apes (revised edition, Johns Hopkins University Press 1998).
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Other books by Frans de Waal in the Amazon.com database.

anthropology, biology, cognitive sciences, ethology, climate, evolution, brains, language, the future -- not to mention Patrick O'Brian novels and the Science Masters series.

You can click on the topics to see a collection of favorite books on the subject.

Jonathan Weiner, The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time (Knopf, 1994).
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Richard Wrangham, Dale Peterson, Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence (Houghton Mifflin, 1996).
From Kirkus Reviews , 08/15/96:
        "Forget Rousseau. Forget Konrad Lorenz. Wrangham and Peterson say that after 40 years of gorilla and chimpanzee watching, it is hard not to conclude that human males are but evolutionary heirs of male ape aggression. Our primate male cousins gang up to murder and rape, expand their territory (and genes), and fight to get to the top. But at the same time that MacArthur fellow Wrangham (Biological Anthropology/Harvard) and Peterson (Jane Goodall's coauthor on Visions of Caliban) present overwhelming (and depressing) evidence of male mayhem from observations in the wild, from history, from ethnography and politics, they are not die-hard biological determinists...."

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