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Biology

AGE OF EMPATHY: NATURE'S LESSONS FOR A KINDER SOCIETY

AGE OF EMPATHY: NATURE'S LESSONS FOR A KINDER SOCIETY

Author: WAAL, FRANS DE
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In this thought-provoking book, the acclaimed author of Our Inner Ape examines how empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals, including humans.

Are we our brothers' keepers? Do we have an instinct for compassion? Or are we, as is often assumed, only on earth to serve our own survival and interests?

By studying social behaviors in animals, such as bonding, the herd instinct, the forming of trusting alliances, expressions of consolation, and conflict resolution, Frans de Waal demonstrates that animals-and humans-are preprogrammed to reach out. He has found that chimpanzees care for mates that are wounded by leopards, elephants offer reassuring rumbles to youngsters in distress, and dolphins support sick companions near the water's surface to prevent them from drowning. From day one humans have innate sensitivities to faces, bodies, and voices; we've been designed to feel for one another.

De Waal's theory runs counter to the assumption that humans are inherently selfish, which can be seen in the fields of politics, law, and finance. But he cites the public's outrage at the U.S. government's lack of empathy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as a significant shift in perspective-one that helped Barack Obama become elected and ushered in what perhaps could become an Age of Empathy. Through a better understanding of empathy's survival value in evolution, de Waal suggests, we can work together toward a more just society based on a more generous and accurate view of human nature.

Written in layman's prose with a wealth of anecdotes, wry humor, and incisive intelligence, The Age of Empathy is essential reading for our embattled times.

An important and timely message about the biological roots of human kindness.--Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape

ANIMAL BEAUTY: ON THE EVOLUTION OF BIOLOGICAL AESTHETICS

ANIMAL BEAUTY: ON THE EVOLUTION OF BIOLOGICAL AESTHETICS

Author: NUSSLEIN-VOLHARD, CHRISTIANE
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An illustrated exploration of colors and patterns in the animal kingdom, what they communicate, and how they function in the social life of animals.

Are animals able to appreciate what humans refer to as "beauty"? The term scarcely ever appears nowadays in a scientific description of living things, but we humans may nonetheless find the colors, patterns, and songs of animals to be beautiful in apparently the same way that we see beauty in works of art. In Animal Beauty, Nobel Prize-winning biologist Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard describes how the colors and patterns displayed by animals arise, what they communicate, and how they function in the social life of animals. Watercolor drawings illustrate these amazing instances of animal beauty.

Darwin addressed the topic of ornament in his 1871 book The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, and did not hesitate to engage with criteria of beauty, convinced that animals experienced color and ornament as attractive and agreeable in the same way that we do, and that the role this played in mate choice pointed to a "sexual selection" distinct from natural selection. Nüsslein-Volhard examines key examples of ornament and sexual selection in the animal kingdom and lays the groundwork for biological aesthetics. Noting that color patterns have not been a research priority--perhaps because they appeared to be nonessential luxuries rather than functional necessities--Nüsslein-Volhard looks at recent scientific developments on the topic. In part because of Nüsslein-Volhard's own research on the zebrafish, it is now possible to decipher the molecular genetic mechanisms that lead to production of colors in animal skin and its appendages and control its pattern and distribution.

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ANIMAL VIRUSES AND HUMANS, A NARROW DIVIDE

Author: ANDIMAN, WARREN A.
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"Frighteningly fascinating."--Booklist

"Gripping stories, filled with details that are in equal part delicious and disgusting, but always fascinating."--Lisa Sanders, MD, author of Every Patient Tells a Story and the New York Times Magazine "Diagnosis" column

"To reproduce promiscuously and to wreak havoc wherever they can find a home," this is the sole raison d'être of viruses writes Dr. Warren Andiman, an HIV/AIDS researcher who has been on the front lines battling infectious diseases for over forty years. In Animal Viruses and Humans: A Narrow Divide, Andiman traces the history of eight zoonotic viruses --deadly microbes that have made the leap directly from animals to human populations: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Swine influenza, Hantavirus, Monkeypox, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Rabies, Ebola, and Henipaviruses (Nipah and Hendra). He also illustrates the labor intensive and fascinating detective work that infectious disease specialists must do to uncover the source of an outbreak.

Andiman also looks to the future, envisioning the effects on zoonoses (diseases caused by zoonotic viruses) of climate change, microenvironmental damage, population shifts, and globalization. He reveals the steps that we can, and must, take to stem the spread of animal viruses, explaining, "The zoonoses I've chosen to write about . . . are meant to describe only a small sample of what is already out there but, more menacingly, what is inevitably on its way, in forms we can only imagine."

Warren Andiman, MD is professor emeritus of pediatrics and epidemiology at the Yale Schools of Medicine and Public Health.

ANIMALS MAKE US HUMAN

ANIMALS MAKE US HUMAN

Author: GRANDIN, TEMPLE
$15.95
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The best-selling animal advocate Temple Grandin offers the most exciting exploration of how animals feel since The Hidden Life of Dogs.

In her groundbreaking and best-selling book Animals in Translation, Temple Grandin drew on her own experience with autism as well as her distinguished career as an animal scientist to deliver extraordinary insights into how animals think, act, and feel. Now she builds on those insights to show us how to give our animals the best and happiest life--on their terms, not ours.

It's usually easy to pinpoint the cause of physical pain in animals, but to know what is causing them emotional distress is much harder. Drawing on the latest research and her own work, Grandin identifies the core emotional needs of animals. Then she explains how to fulfill them for dogs and cats, horses, farm animals, and zoo animals. Whether it's how to make the healthiest environment for the dog you must leave alone most of the day, how to keep pigs from being bored, or how to know if the lion pacing in the zoo is miserable or just exercising, Grandin teaches us to challenge our assumptions about animal contentment and honor our bond with our fellow creatures.

Animals Make Us Human is the culmination of almost thirty years of research, experimentation, and experience.

This is essential reading for anyone who's ever owned, cared for, or simply cared about an animal.

ANT AND THE PEACOCK

ANT AND THE PEACOCK

Author: CRONIN, HELENA
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The "ant" and the "peacock" stand for two puzzles in Darwinism--altruism and sexual selection. How can natural selection favor those, such as the worker ant, that renounce tooth and claw in favor of the public-spirited ways of the commune? And how can "peacocks"--flamboyant, ornamental and apparently useless--be tolerated by the grimly economical Darwinian reaper? Helena Cronin has a deep understanding of today's answers to these riddles and their roots in the nineteenth century; the analysis is new and exciting and the explanations lucid and compelling.
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APPETITE FOR WONDER, AN: THE MAKING OF A SCIENTIST

Author: DAWKINS, RICHARD
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An Appetite for Wonder is a disarming account of world-famous evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins's early life, from his childhood in colonial East Africa to the writing of one of the twentieth century's seminal works, The Selfish Gene.

ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE?

ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE?

Author: WAAL, FRANS DE
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Hailed as a classic, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? explores the oddities and complexities of animal cognition--in crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, chimpanzees, and bonobos--to reveal how smart animals really are, and how we've underestimated their abilities for too long. Did you know that octopuses use coconut shells as tools, that elephants classify humans by gender and language, and that there is a young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame? Fascinating, entertaining, and deeply informed, de Waal's landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal--and human--intelligence.

BIOLOGY AS IDEOLOGY

BIOLOGY AS IDEOLOGY

Author: LEWONTIN, RICHARD C.
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Following in the fashion of Stephen Jay Gould and Peter Medawar, one of the world's leading scientists examines how pure science is in fact shaped and guided by social and political needs and assumptions.
BLIND WATCHMAKER: WHY THE EVIDENCE OF EVOLUTION REVEALS A UNIVERSE WITHOUT DESIGN

BLIND WATCHMAKER: WHY THE EVIDENCE OF EVOLUTION REVEALS A UNIVERSE WITHOUT DESIGN

Author: DAWKINS, RICHARD
$18.95
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The Blind Watchmaker is the seminal text for understanding evolution today. In the eighteenth century, theologian William Paley developed a famous metaphor for creationism: that of the skilled watchmaker. In The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins crafts an elegant riposte to show that the complex process of Darwinian natural selection is unconscious and automatic. If natural selection can be said to play the role of a watchmaker in nature, it is a blind one--working without foresight or purpose.

In an eloquent, uniquely persuasive account of the theory of natural selection, Dawkins illustrates how simple organisms slowly change over time to create a world of enormous complexity, diversity, and beauty.

BLUEPRINT: HOW DNA MAKES US WHO WE ARE

BLUEPRINT: HOW DNA MAKES US WHO WE ARE

Author: PLOMIN, ROBERT
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A top behavioral geneticist makes the case that DNA inherited from our parents at the moment of conception can predict our psychological strengths and weaknesses.

In Blueprint, behavioral geneticist Robert Plomin describes how the DNA revolution has made DNA personal by giving us the power to predict our psychological strengths and weaknesses from birth. A century of genetic research shows that DNA differences inherited from our parents are the consistent lifelong sources of our psychological individuality--the blueprint that makes us who we are. Plomin reports that genetics explains more about the psychological differences among people than all other factors combined. Nature, not nurture, is what makes us who we are. Plomin explores the implications of these findings, drawing some provocative conclusions--among them that parenting styles don't really affect children's outcomes once genetics is taken into effect. This book offers readers a unique insider's view of the exciting synergies that came from combining genetics and psychology. The paperback edition has a new afterword by the author.