Beastly Brains: Exploring How Animals Think, Talk, and Feel
Beastly Brains: Exploring How Animals Think, Talk, and Feel
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Annotation: Looks at what goes on inside the minds of animals and how learning to understand the intelligence of animals helps people to better understand their own.
Genre: Biology
Catalog Number: #127178
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 152 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-544-63335-0
ISBN 13: 978-0-544-63335-3
Dewey: 591.5
LCCN: 2015045421
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Castaldo explores the scientific evidence for animal intelligence, emotions, and communication--from early observational studies to contemporary experiments that show the cognitive capabilities of monkeys, dogs, dolphins, and crows. The ethics of animal-human interactions are also considered. The well-chosen photographs include close-ups that capture emotive facial expressions and action shots of behaviors that reveal thought processes. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Kirkus Reviews
An exploration of animal intelligence.Castaldo opens with a discussion of brainpower before summarizing historical thinking on animal cognition and then presenting evidence of it, in the form of a dizzying array of experiments on such subtopics as decision-making, empathy, a sense of fairness, and communication, among others. Candy-colored pastel shades and striking photographs make flipping the pages a pleasure, but actually reading them is something of a chore. Sidebars often appear out of sequence with the text and are of varying levels of utility, as is also the case with photo captions. Low points include a reference to the author's middle school report on dolphins and a photograph of a dolphin alone in a tank that's labeled, "A dolphin at the National Aquarium is studied by cognitive researchers." Chapters are broken up into subtopics with catchy headings ("The Hive Brain"; "Emo Rats") except when they are not, as with a relatively lengthy discussion of interspecies communication that wanders from bonobos to dolphins to Peter Gabriel to orangutans. The book's sense of its audience is uncertain. Profligate use of exclamation points and simplistic "what would you do" scenarios seem geared to younger readers, while the un-glossed use of such terms as "habeas corpus" and "prosocial," as well as a conceptually complex model of brain processing, assumes a fairly sophisticated audience. The book's high-interest topic is ill-served by its execution. (resources, glossary, source notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12-14)
Publishers Weekly
Castaldo (The Story of Seeds) presents a thought-provoking look at the minds and perceptions of animals, as well as the way human understanding of the subject has evolved, as she describes a series of studies designed to examine cognition in animals. On -Monkey Island--off the coast of Puerto Rico-researchers observed how monkeys exhibited humanlike tendencies when a form of -currency- was introduced into their community; dolphins have been shown to recognize themselves in mirrors; and dogs have displayed signs of jealousy in experiments. Castaldo makes the science behind the studies clear, particularly the moral ramifications with regard to human treatment of animals: -The issue is no longer accepting that animals think: it-s now the challenge of figuring out how they think and what we will do with that information.- Ages 12-up. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary. (Feb.)

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up&12; Calling all animal lovers! Whether students are working on a report or looking for a browsable title, this volume is just the ticket. Castaldo presents current research on how a variety of creatures, such as dolphins, dogs, elephants, and more, communicate, problem solve, feel, etc. The information is conveyed in an enticing way that is sure to spark the interest of aspiring naturalists and researchers. The extensive back matter elevates this work above other wild kingdom&12;related compendiums. VERDICT A fascinating take on animal science for tween and teen zoologists.&12; Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* With a menagerie of fascinating examples, Castaldo lays out the history of ideas about animal smarts before covering the myriad ways researchers evaluate intelligence. Each chapter highlights a component of intelligence, such as empathy, fairness, self-awareness, communication, and even planning for the future, many of which will surprise readers when attributed to animals. Moreover, the chapters build on each other; empathy, for instance, plays a major role in developing a sense of fairness, while "mental time travel," or the ability to distinguish between the present and the future, is key to solving problems with multiple steps. The main draw of this title, of course, is the illuminating ways the impressive array of animals demonstrates intelligence, from a hive of bumblebees deciding where to build a new nest to capuchin monkeys using money to dolphins recognizing themselves in a mirror. Castaldo's lucid text is complemented by plenty of full-color photos, an extensive list of source notes, citizen science opportunities, websites where students can see many of the animals in action, and a thought-­provoking conclusion about conservation. This eye-opening, cogent, and well-structured volume will enlighten students to both the richness of the animal kingdom and the nature of intelligence.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (1/1/17)
Horn Book (8/1/17)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (1/1/17)
Wilson's Junior High Catalog
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 141-148) and index.
Reading Level: 7.0
Interest Level: 7-12

In Beastly Brains , Castaldo delves into the minds of animals and explores animal empathy, communication, tool use, and social societies through interviews and historical anecdotes. Researchers from Charles Darwin to Jane Goodall have spent years analyzing the minds of animals, and today's science is revolutionizing old theories and uncovering surprising similarities to our own minds. Humans are not alone in our ability to think about ourselves, make plans, help each other, or even participate in deception. You'll think differently about the animals on this planet--maybe it's their world and we're just living in it!

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