Book Recommendations

Details on a Major New Discovery included in a New Afterword  Why do we look the way we do? Neil Shubin, the paleontologist and professor of anatomy who co-discovered Tiktaalik, the “fish with hands,” tells the story of our bodies as you've never heard it before. By examining fossils and DNA, he shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our heads are organized like long-extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genomes look and function like those of worms and bacteria. Your Inner Fish makes us look at ourselves and our world in an illuminating new light. This is science writing at its finest—enlightening, accessible and told with irresistible enthusiasm.

More Than Human by Tim Flach

I saw this book the other day and was totally blown away.  If you love coffee table books, this is a must have.

Award-winning photographer Tim Flach has spent years inquiring into the essential bond we have with animals. Now he presents the culmination of a career-long endeavor, an extraordinary body of work in which each image is more striking and powerful than the last.
Just as did Flach’s highly acclaimed previous books, Equus and Dogs, More than Human will amaze and inspire, in a constant affirmation of the animal, whether it be rare or common, powerful or defenseless, odd or majestic. The book showcases a menagerie of creatures—pandas, tigers, bats, lions, orangutans, cobras, bullfrogs, chimpanzees, wolves, porcupines, elephants, owls, armadillos, among many others—as they have never been seen before. Shedding light on Flach’s images will be an accessible collection of texts, written and edited by author Lewis Blackwell.

Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence  by Dale Peterson and Richard Wrangham

One of the most interesting books you'll ever read.

Whatever their virtues, men are more violent than women. Why do men kill, rape, and wage war, and what can we do about it? Drawing on the latest discoveries about human evolution and about our closest living relatives, the great apes, Demonic Males offers some startling new answers. Dramatic, vivid, and firmly grounded in meticulous research, this book will change the way you see the world. As the San Francisco Chronicle said, it "dares to dig for the roots of a contentious and complicated subject that makes up much of our daily news."

Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds   by Bernd Heinrich

Heinrich's passion for ravens has led him around the world in his research. Mind of the Raven follows an exotic journey—from New England to Germany, and from Montana to Baffin Island in the high Arctic—offering dazzling accounts of how science works in the field, filtered through the eyes of a passionate observer of nature. Each new discovery and insight into raven behavior is thrilling to read, at once lyrical and scientific.

The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy - and Why They Matter  by Marc Bekoff

Based on award-winning scientist Marc Bekoff’s years studying social communication in a wide range of species, this important book shows that animals have rich emotional lives. Bekoff skillfully blends extraordinary stories of animal joy, empathy, grief, embarrassment, anger, and love with the latest scientific research confirming the existence of emotions that common sense and experience have long implied. Filled with Bekoff’s light humor and touching stories, The Emotional Lives of Animals is a clarion call for reassessing both how we view animals and how we treat them.

Our Inner Ape:  A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are
by Frans de Waal

From "one of the world's greatest experts on primate behavior" (Desmond Morris) comes a look at the most provocative aspects of human nature-power, sex, violence, kindness, and morality-through our closest cousins. For nearly twenty years, Frans De Waal has studied both the famously aggressive chimpanzee and the egalitarian, matriarchal bonobo, two species whose DNA is nearly identical to ours. The result is an engrossing narrative that reveals what their behavior can teach us about ourselves.

Bonobo:  The Forgotten Ape
by Frans de Waal and Frans Lanting

In the first book to combine and compare data from captivity and the field, Frans de Waal, a world-renowned primatologist, and Frans Lanting, an internationally acclaimed wildlife photographer, present the most up-to-date perspective available on the bonobo. Eight superb full-color photo essays offer a rare view of the bonobo in its native habitat in the rain forests of Zaire as well as in zoos and research facilities. Additional photographs and highlighted interviews with leading bonobo experts complement the text. This book points the way to viable alternatives to male-based models of human evolution and will add considerably to debates on the origin of our species. Anyone interested in primates, gender issues, evolutionary psychology, and exceptional wildlife photography will find a fascinating companion in Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape.

Planet Without Apes
by Craig B. Stanford

Planet Without Apes demands that we consider whether we can live with the consequences of wiping our closest relatives off the face of the Earth. Leading primatologist Craig Stanford warns that extinction of the great apes—chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans—threatens to become a reality within just a few human generations. We are on the verge of losing the last links to our evolutionary past, and to all the biological knowledge about ourselves that would die along with them. The crisis we face is tantamount to standing aside while our last extended family members vanish from the planet.  Stanford sees great apes as not only intelligent but also possessed of a culture: both toolmakers and social beings capable of passing cultural knowledge down through generations.  Even the most environmentally concerned observers are unaware of many specific threats faced by great apes. Stanford fills us in, and then tells us how we can redirect the course of an otherwise bleak future.