Cognitive Ethology: The Minds of Other Animals: Essays in Honor of Donald R. Griffin

By Donald R. Griffin; Carolyn A. Ristau | Go to book overview

PREFACE

This book is dedicated to Donald R. Griffin. He has been a teacher, a colleague, and a most perceptive friend to those of us who have had the very fortunate opportunity of working with him. His creativity and infectious enthusiasm coupled with his wary critical faculties, have made him a formidable scientist.

He is the scientist who demonstrated that bats navigate, even find minute prey, by very high pitched sound waves (sonar) -- a seemingly mysterious sense, insensible to humans that Don Griffin investigated with diligence, intuition, and new technology. He likewise probed bird navigation through heavy cloud conditions in which the normal visual cues that might guide the birds are not available. By using tracking radar, he determined that migrating birds, although they usually attempt to avoid flying blind, can nevertheless orient correctly in clouds. The sensory basis for this ability still remains in large part an unsolved mystery.

It should not, therefore, be considered out of character for him to have explored and inspired others to explore yet another realm, out of the ken of the usual -- animal cognition and mental experience. He created the field of cognitive ethology, an exploration of the mental experiences of animals, particularly as they behave in their natural environment in the course of their normal lives. The field had its beginnings in areas such as comparative psychology, classical ethology, laboratory experimental psychology, and philosophy of science.

So we present this set of papers in his honor. The collection does not pretend to be a broad sample of the researchers studying animal cognition. It is instead, in part, contributions from scientists who have been associated

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