- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Columbia University Press (May 17, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0231178328
- ISBN-13: 978-0231178327
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #467,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Not So Different: Finding Human Nature in Animals
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Not So Different lucidly and entertainingly reminds us just how much of us there is in other mammals and vertebrates―and how much of them there is in us. You may never think of yourself in quite the same way again.(Ian Tattersall, American Museum of Natural History)
In a beautifully written and very readable book, Nathan H. Lents provides compelling evidence that animals are not that different from us, making it difficult to argue that there is a vast gulf between us and the rest of the animals. As Lents artfully shows, that gulf just does not exist.(Con Slobodchikoff, author of Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals)
As someone who has studied animal behavior and cognitive ethology and animal emotions for many decades, I have always been fascinated by the similarities and differences between humans and other animals. In Not So Different, Nathan H. Lents focuses on the similarities, and readers will discover that humans and nonhumans share numerous traits, some of which might seem rather surprising, but the existence of which can be readily explained by well-accepted evolutionary arguments and considerations of the social worlds of the animals involved, something Lents does very well.(Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals and Rewilding our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence)
Nathan H. Lents has put together a comprehensive look at animal counterparts of human emotions and thoughts. The scope and quantity of his examples make a compelling argument for zoological precursors to nearly all human sentiments and many cognitive capabilities. His book is a charming read for general audiences that will also find value in the biology courses of high school and university curricula.(Joan Roughgarden, author of Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People)
Thoroughly enjoyable and accessible.... Whether Lents is discussing love, grief, greed, or envy, he provides ample evidence that animals have a rich inner life.(Publishers Weekly (starred review))
About the Author
Nathan H. Lents is professor of molecular biology and director of the biology and cell and molecular biology programs at John Jay College of the City University of New York. His work has been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular Cell, and the American Journal of Physiology, as well as the Journal of College Science Teaching and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He also maintains The Human Evolution Blog and writes most of its content.
Top Customer Reviews
If you're interested in human behavior (and human nature) but the idea of reading an academic tome on the subject is daunting, this is a book worth picking up. The author is a specialist, but he doesn't bog this down in cryptic AcademiaSpeak. Instead, he's written an interesting, smart, clear, and even fun book on this subject that should appeal to a wide readership.
Experiments in social behaviour of chimps are cited, such as being rewarded for a task with either carrot or grape, and protesting if they only got the carrot or if they could see another chimp only getting carrot when they got a grape. Lents calls this intolerance of injustice, and notes that we are now observing it in many animals like dogs. I see it in cats and horses. I'm aware of plenty of experiments that were not covered by the book, such as when monkeys given currency started using it to buy food and were soon paying one another for sex. Some great clips of Sapolsky's work with baboons can be found on YouTube, not mentioned in the book.
Animals also mourn, whether death or separation. They offer glamour and fitness as an incentive to mate, just as humans promote goods with a glamorous model. They reflect human behaviour in many other ways, or do we reflect theirs? An interesting comment is from Stuart Brown, a leading expert on play, who says that play is not the opposite of work, but the opposite of depression. I can well believe this. Again we see play in many animals, even if they don't need it to learn hunting.
I am not sure who the intended reader would be. Anyone who understands animals already, doesn't remain to be convinced by this book. Anyone involved in studying animal psychology surely has better access to such studies as are mentioned. The most likely reader is someone who already sees human nature in their animals and wants to learn more.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant informative book with lots of research to back it up.Published 13 days ago by Nancy J Szabo
Definitely a great read and a book that you can grab in the search of self discovery.Published 6 months ago by Team Siles