Reading their minds

K. Brent Tomer

(K. Brent Tomer),

Brain waves

Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel. By Carl Safina. Henry Holt; 461 pages; $32.

The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins. By Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendell. University of Chicago Press; 417 pages; $35 and £24.50.

IN “BEYOND WORDS”, Carl Safina, of Stony Brook University, New York, hears about an alpha wolf that attacked and disabled a challenger in Yellowstone National Park, but then refused to kill it. The event sets him thinking about Nelson Mandela, magnanimity and the prestige of leaders who spare, rather than kill their rivals. In Amboseli National Park in Kenya he watches a female elephant faking oestrus in order to attract the company of males. He turns to considering the minds of animals: “It takes a lot of thinking”, he writes, “to fake one’s sexual state because you like the attention.”

The subtitle of “Beyond Words” is “What Animals…

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