Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Beastly Brains

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Beastly Brains

Article excerpt

Beastly Brains By Nancy F. Castaldo. $16.99. 152 pp. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Boston, MA. 2017. ISBN: 9780544633353. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Anthropomorphism is difficult to avoid when playing with your puppy or admiring a dolphin swimming in the distance. Researchers in the field of animal cognition must go to great lengths to establish procedures and chronicle observations without inferring human responses. In this book, the reader gains insight into the current research and the historical perspective that has laid the foundation of the study of animal cognition.

"For a scientist, knowing the question to ask is as important as finding the answers," says Dr. Diana Reiss. Her study of dolphin communication began with field observations of behaviors called an ethogram. The scientific method--with its origins traced back to Aristotle, Bacon, and Galileo--is used throughout animal cognition studies.

Dr. Laurie Santos compares cognitive behaviors of humans and monkeys. Through the Comparative Cognition Laboratory at Yale, she experiments and conducts research in the Caribbean on Monkey Island.

Dr. Karl von Frisch studied the behavior of bees. Initially, he hypothesized that the bees communicated fragrance for finding food. He redesigned the experiment, and 20 years later, he was able to determine the bees were actually communicating location. …

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