Quirks & Quarks

What Animals Think and Feel

Marine Ecologist and writer Carl Safina investigates animal personalities, their emotional lives and how similar their experiences of pain, pleasure and fear might be to our own.

How similar are the experiences of animals to those of humans?

Carl Safina (Carl's Crew, cc-by-sa-3.0)
Traditionally, equating the mental experiences of humans and non-humans has been taboo for many scientists. Assigning human emotions to animals has been regarded as speculative and subjective.
But in his new book, Beyond Words, What Animals Think and Feel, science writer and noted animal conservationist Dr Carl Safina explores the unique personalities of elephants, killer whales and wolves, through stories that suggest similarities to humans in areas of consciousness, self-awareness and empathy. He says that understanding how animals think and feel is critical to their future and ours.  

Related Links

- Beyond Words - What Animals Think and Feel
The Safina Center, Stony Brook University
New York Times review
Psychology Today review
Vancouver Sun story about Carl Safina, Miley Cyrus and the BC wolf cull