The Smile of a Dolphin: Remarkable Accounts of Animal Emotions

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Marc Bekoff
Discovery Books, 2000 - Nature - 224 pages
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Who among us has not looked into the eyes of a beloved pet and seen a special understanding or witnessed animals in the wild behaving in ways that suggest there's more to their experience than mere instinctive response to their surroundings? "The Smile of a Dolphin: Remarkable Accounts of Animal Emotions" is a unique, illustrated book that takes an intriguing look at the issue of animal emotions through the combined support of hard scientific data and field observation.

"The Smile of a Dolphin" begins with an introductory essay that takes the reader deep into the nature of animal cognition and behavior. In it, cognitive ethologist and author Marc Bekoff addresses the most fundamental issue in the field of animal emotions studies. How does one define emotion? What are the basic areas of animal mental experiences? Can we draw a line that separates species that experience emotion from those that do not? How far have science and technology progressed toward confirming what many people, including researchers already strongly believe?

The chapters that follow cover major areas of emotion: fear, happiness, parental love, courtship and pair bonding, grief and sadness, anger and aggression, as well as other higher emotions of jealousy, resentment, shame, embarrassment, and compassion. Each chapter is prefaced by an overview written by Bekoff, which is then followed by a series of captivating commentaries by today's most respected animal behavior and cognition experts, including Roger Fouts, Frans de Waal, Jane Goodall, and Cynthia Moss. Riveting firsthand observations cover a wide range of animal behavior and reactions, from the maternal devotion of an elephant mother to a pleasure-seekingiguana to the self-imposed isolation of a chimpanzee who has suffered the loss of a relative.

In addition to its stellar list of contributions, what distinguishes this book from others in the field are the accompanying 120 images by top wildlife photographers. Specially culled and reviewed, these captured moments provide visual support of an already powerful narrative. Whether it is the haunting sight of an elephant tenderly examining the bones of a relative, the image of a baboon mother lovingly caressing its infant, or the frozen terror of a zebra losing its fight for survival, nothing can compare with the impact of a passionate photograph.

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FOREWORD Stephen Jay Gould

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