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Beautiful Minds: The Parallel Lives of Great Apes & Dolphins, by Dr. Craig Stanford

Beautiful Minds: The Parallel Lives of Great Apes & Dolphins, by Dr. Craig Stanford

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Apes and dolphins: primates and cetaceans. Could any creatures appear to be more different? Yet both are large-brained intelligent mammals with complex communication and social interaction. In the first book to study apes and dolphins side by side, Maddalena Bearzi and Craig B. Stanford, a dolphin biologist and a primatologist who have spent their careers studying these animals in the wild, combine their insights with compelling results that teaches us about another large-brained mammal: Homo sapiens. Noting that apes and dolphins have had no common ancestor in nearly 100 million years, Bearzi and Stanford describe the parallel evolution that gave rise to their intelligence. They detail their subjects’ ability to develop family bonds, form alliances, and care for their young. They offer an understanding of their culture, politics, social structure, personality, and capacity for emotion. The resulting dual portrait — with striking overlaps in behavior — is key to understanding the nature of “beautiful minds.”

Dr. Craig Stanford is the co-director of the Jane Goodall Primate Research Center at the University of Southern California, where he is also a professor of biological anthropology. His previous books include Significant Others: The Ape-Human Continuum and the Quest for Human Nature and The Hunting Apes: Meat Eating and the Origins of Human Behavior.

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