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Zoology

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  1. 10.6 hrs • 8/1/2016 • Unabridged

    A brilliantly engaging guide to the reproductive habits of creatures great and small, based on the author’s popular web series Wild Sex, which has received over fourteen million views Birds do it, bees do it―every member of the animal kingdom does it, from fruit flies to blue whales. But if you think humans have a tough time dating, try having to do it while being hunted down by predators against a backdrop of unpredictable and life-threatening conditions. The animal kingdom is a wild place—and it’s got mating habits to match. The sex lives of our animal cousins are fiendishly difficult, infinitely varied, often incredibly violent—and absolutely fascinating. In Wild Sex, Dr. Carin Bondar takes listeners on an enthralling tour of the animal kingdom as she explores the diverse world of sex in the wild. She looks at the evolution of sexual organs (and how they’ve shaped social hierarchies), tactics of seduction, and the mechanics of sex. She investigates a wide range of topics, from whether animals experience pleasure from sex to what happens when females hold the reproductive power. Along the way, she encounters razor-sharp penises, murderous carnal cannibals, and spontaneous chemical warfare in an epic battle between the sexes. The resulting book is titillating, exhilarating, amusing, petrifying, alluring―and absolutely guaranteed to make you think about sex in a whole new way.

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    Wild Sex by Dr. Carin Bondar

    Wild Sex

    10.6 hrs • 8/1/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 10.6 hrs • 4/25/2016 • Unabridged

    From world-renowned biologist and primatologist Frans de Waal comes this groundbreaking work on animal intelligence destined to become a classic.What separates your mind from an animal’s? Maybe you think it’s your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future―all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet’s preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have been eroded—or even disproved outright—by a revolution in the study of animal cognition.Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are—and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long.People often assume a cognitive ladder, from lower to higher forms, with our own intelligence at the top. But what if it is more like a bush, with cognition taking different, often incomparable, forms? Would you presume yourself dumber than a squirrel because you’re less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns? Or would you judge your perception of your surroundings as more sophisticated than that of a echolocating bat?De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens our minds to the idea that animal minds are far more intricate and complex than we have assumed. De Waal’s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal―and human―intelligence.

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    Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal
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  3. 10.8 hrs • 8/4/2015 • Unabridged

    In this extraordinary follow-up to the critically acclaimed The Lucifer Principle, Howard Bloom—one of today’s preeminent thinkers—offers us a bold rewrite of the evolutionary saga. He shows how plants and animals (including humans) have evolved together as components of a worldwide learning machine. He describes the network of life on Earth as one that is, in fact, a “complex adaptive system,” a global brain in which each of us plays a sometimes conscious, sometimes unknowing role. And he reveals that the World Wide Web is just the latest step in the development of this brain. These are theories as important as they are radical. Informed by twenty years of interdisciplinary research, Bloom takes us on a spellbinding journey back to the big bang to let us see how its fires forged primordial sociality. As he brings us back via surprising routes, we see how our earliest bacterial ancestors built multitrillion-member research-and-development teams a full 3.5 billion years ago. We watch him unravel the previously unrecognized strands of interconnectedness woven by crowds of trilobites, hunting packs of dinosaurs, flocks of flying lizards, troops of baboons making communal decisions, and adventurous tribes of protohumans spreading across continents but still linked by primitive forms of information networking. We soon find ourselves reconsidering our place in the world. Along the way, Bloom offers us exhilarating insights into the strange tricks of body and mind that have organized a variety of life forms: spiny lobsters, which, during the Paleozoic Era, participated in communal marching rituals; and bees, which, during the age of dinosaurs, conducted collective brainwork. This fascinating tour continues on to the sometimes brutal subculture wars that have spurred the growth of human civilization since the Stone Age. Bloom shows us how culture shapes our infant brains, immersing us in a matrix of truth and mass delusion that we think of as reality. Global Brain is more than just a brilliantly original contribution to the ongoing debate on the inner workings of evolution; it is a “grand vision,” says the eminent evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson, a work that transforms our very view of who we are and why.

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    Global Brain by Howard Bloom

    Global Brain

    10.8 hrs • 8/4/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    5.6 hrs • 6/2/2015 • Unabridged

    A rare memoir of extraordinary, mesmerizing brilliance—and a Swedish bestseller—by an entomologist fascinated with the natural world and the hidden wonders of life, and which asks: What is it that drives the obsessively curious to exploration and the practice of collecting? Warm and humorous, self-deprecating and contemplative, The Fly Trap is a meditation on solitude, stillness, and the observation of beauty—be it found among insects or in art. Weaving a fascinating web of associations, histories, and personal memories, the book begins with Fredrik Sjöberg’s own experience as an entomologist on a tranquil, remote Swedish island and pulls in the tales of past heroic scientific expeditions to Burma and the wilderness of Kamchatka. As confounded by his unusual love of collecting flies as anyone, Sjöberg pauses to reflect on a range of ideas—the passage of time, art, freedom—drawing into dialogue writers such as Bruce Chatwin and D. H. Lawrence, and the lives of collectors such as René Edmond Malaise, inventor of the Malaise trap. From the everyday to the exotic, The Fly Trap revels in the wonders of the natural world.

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    The Fly Trap by Fredrik Sjöberg

    The Fly Trap

    Translated by Thomas Teal
    Read by Robert Fass
    5.6 hrs • 6/2/15 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
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  5. 9.2 hrs • 5/12/2015 • Unabridged

    In this astonishing book from the author of the bestselling memoir The Good Good Pig, Sy Montgomery explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus—a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature—and the remarkable connections it makes with humans. Sy Montgomery’s popular 2011 Orion magazine piece, “Deep Intellect,” about her friendship with a sensitive, sweet-natured octopus named Athena and the grief she felt at her death, went viral, indicating the widespread fascination with these mysterious, almost alien-like creatures. Since then Sy has practiced true immersion journalism, from New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, pursuing these wild, solitary shapeshifters. Octopuses have varied personalities and intelligence they show in myriad ways: endless trickery to escape enclosures and get food; jetting water playfully to bounce objects like balls; and evading caretakers by using a scoop net as a trampoline and running around the floor on eight arms. But with a beak like a parrot, venom like a snake, and a tongue covered with teeth, how can such a being know anything? And what sort of thoughts could it think? The intelligence of dogs, birds, and chimpanzees was only recently accepted by scientists, who are now establishing the intelligence of the octopus, watching them solve problems and deciphering the meaning of their color-changing camouflage techniques. Montgomery chronicles this growing appreciation of the octopus, but also tells a love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about consciousness and the meeting of two very different minds.

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    The Soul of an Octopus

    9.2 hrs • 5/12/15 • Unabridged
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  6. 8.3 hrs • 3/24/2015 • Unabridged

    Over the course of two decades, John Hargrove worked with twenty different whales on two continents and at two of SeaWorld’s United States facilities. For Hargrove, becoming an orca trainer fulfilled a childhood dream. However, as his experience with the whales deepened, Hargrove came to doubt that their needs could ever be met in captivity. When two fellow trainers were killed by orcas in marine parks, Hargrove decided that SeaWorld’s wildly popular programs were both detrimental to the whales and ultimately unsafe for trainers. After leaving SeaWorld, Hargrove became one of the stars of the controversial documentary Blackfish. The outcry over the treatment of SeaWorld’s orca has now expanded beyond the outlines sketched by the award-winning documentary, with Hargrove contributing his expertise to an advocacy movement that is convincing both federal and state governments to act. In Beneath the Surface, Hargrove paints a compelling portrait of these highly intelligent and social creatures, including his favorite whales, Takara and her mother Kasatka, two of the most dominant orcas in SeaWorld. He includes vibrant descriptions of the lives of orcas in the wild, contrasting their freedom in the ocean with their lives in SeaWorld.   Hargrove’s journey is one that humanity has just begun to take—toward the realization that the relationship between the human and animal worlds must be radically rethought.

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    Beneath the Surface

    8.3 hrs • 3/24/15 • Unabridged
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  7. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    4.8 hrs • 12/23/2014 • Unabridged

    In 1976 a deadly virus emerged from the Congo forest. As swiftly as it came, it disappeared, leaving no trace. Over the four decades since, the Ebola virus disease has emerged sporadically, each time to devastating effect. It can kill up to ninety percent of its victims. In between these outbreaks, it is untraceable, hiding deep in the jungle. The search is on to find Ebola’s elusive host animal, and until we find it, Ebola will continue to strike. Acclaimed science writer and explorer David Quammen first encountered the virus while he was traveling in the jungles of Gabon with local men whose village had been devastated by a recent outbreak. Here he tells the story of Ebola—its past, present, and its unknowable future.

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    Ebola

    4.8 hrs • 12/23/14 • Unabridged
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  8. 7.3 hrs • 11/11/2014 • Unabridged

    The story behind the stunning, extreme weapons we see in the animal world—teeth and horns and claws—and what they can tell us about the way humans develop and use arms and other weapons In Animal Weapons, Douglas Emlen takes us outside the lab and deep into the forests and jungles where he’s been studying animal weapons in nature for years, to explain the processes behind the most intriguing and curious examples of extreme animal weapons—fish with mouths larger than their bodies and bugs whose heads are so packed with muscle they don’t have room for eyes. As singular and strange as some of the weapons we encounter on these pages are, we learn that similar factors set their evolution in motion. Emlen uses these patterns to draw parallels to the way we humans develop and employ our own weapons, and have since battle began. He looks at everything from our armor and camouflage to the evolution of the rifle and the structures human populations have built across different regions and eras to protect their homes and communities. Animal Weapons brings us the complete story of how weapons reach their most outsized, dramatic potential, and what the results we witness in the animal world can tell us about our own relationship with weapons of all kinds.

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    Animal Weapons

    7.3 hrs • 11/11/14 • Unabridged
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  9. 7.8 hrs • 6/1/2014 • Unabridged

    The story of evolution as you’ve never heard it before What is the easiest way to tell species apart? Check their genitals. Researching private parts was long considered taboo, but scientists are now beginning to understand that the wild diversity of sex organs across species can tell us a lot about evolution. Menno Schilthuizen invites listeners to join him as he uncovers the ways the shapes and functions of genitalia have been molded by complex Darwinian struggles: penises that have lost their spines but evolved appendages to displace sperm; female orgasms that select or reject semen from males, in turn subtly modifying the females’ genital shape. We learn why spiders masturbate into miniature webs, discover she-dungflies that store sperm from attractive males in their bellies, and see how, when it comes to outlandish appendages and bizarre behaviors, humans are downright boring. Nature’s Nether Regions joyfully demonstrates that the more we learn about the multiform private parts of animals, the more we understand our own unique place in the great diversity of life.

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    Nature’s Nether Regions

    7.8 hrs • 6/1/14 • Unabridged
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  10. 6.4 hrs • 6/24/2013 • Unabridged

    Journalist Emily Anthes takes listeners from petri dish to pet store as she explores how biotechnology is shaping the future of our furry and feathered friends.

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    Frankenstein's Cat

    6.4 hrs • 6/24/13 • Unabridged
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  11. 14.5 hrs • 3/22/2013 • Unabridged

    Temple Grandin’s professional training as an animal scientist and her history as a person with autism have given her a perspective like that of no other expert in the field. Grandin and coauthor Catherine Johnson present their powerful theory that autistic people can often think the way animals think—putting autistic people in the perfect position to translate “animal talk.” Exploring animal pain, fear, aggression, love, friendship, communication, learning, and, even animal genius, Grandin is a faithful guide into their world. Animals in Translation reveals that animals are much smarter than anyone ever imagined, and Grandin, standing at the intersection of autism and animals, offers unparalleled observations and extraordinary ideas about both.

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    Animals in Translation

    14.5 hrs • 3/22/13 • Unabridged
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  12. 10.9 hrs • 2/26/2013 • Unabridged

    Noted science writer Virginia Morell explores the frontiers of research on animal cognition and emotion, offering a surprising and moving exploration into the hearts and minds of wild and domesticated animals. Did you know that ants teach, earthworms make decisions, rats love to be tickled, and chimps grieve? Did you know that some dogs have thousand-word vocabularies and that birds practice songs in their sleep? That crows improvise tools, blue jays plan ahead, and moths remember living as caterpillars? Animal Wise takes us on a dazzling odyssey into the inner world of animals, from ants to elephants to wolves, and from sharp-shooting archer fish to pods of dolphins that rumble like rival street gangs. With 30 years of experience covering the sciences, Morell uses her formidable gifts as a story-teller to transport us to field sites and laboratories around the world, introducing us to pioneering animal-cognition researchers and their surprisingly intelligent and sensitive subjects. She explores how this rapidly evolving, controversial field has only recently overturned old notions about why animals behave as they do. She probes the moral and ethical dilemmas of recognizing that even “lesser animals”  have cognitive abilities such as  memory, feelings, personality, and self-awareness—traits that many in the twentieth century felt were unique to human beings. By standing behaviorism on its head, Morell brings the world of nature brilliantly alive in a nuanced, deeply felt appreciation of the bond between humans and animals, and shares her admiration for the men and women who have simultaneously chipped away at what we think makes us distinctive while offering a glimpse of where our own abilities come from.

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    Animal Wise

    10.9 hrs • 2/26/13 • Unabridged
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  13. 6.3 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Abridged

    Jane Goodall has been blessed with faith, resolve, and purpose. From a little girl inspired by Tarzan, she became the woman who worked alongside famed paleontologist Dr. Louis Leakey, accomplished scientific breakthroughs in Gombe, and ultimately became a champion of the environment. The journey has not been without its crises; she endured the horrors of World War II, assaults on the integrity of her work, a hostage-taking at Gombe, and her husband’s slow, agonizing death. But throughout, her religious convictions have helped her survive—and Jane Goodall’s pursuit of science has enhanced, not eroded, her belief in God. In this biography, she candidly shares her life, as well as the Gombe chimpanzees she introduced to the world nearly forty years ago. She gives us convincing reasons why each of us can and must open up to the saints within ourselves. At one with nature and challenged by the man-made dangers of environmental destruction, inequality, materialism, and genocide, Dr. Goodall offers insight into her perceptions of these threats and celebrates the people who are working for Earth’s renewal. Here, indeed, is Reason for Hope.

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    Reason for Hope

    6.3 hrs • 7/15/12 • Abridged
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  14. 5.7 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    On September 6, 2007, an African Grey parrot named Alex died prematurely at age thirty-one. His last words to his owner, Irene Pepperberg, were "You be good. I love you." What would normally be a quiet, very private event was, in Alex's case, headline news. Over the thirty years they had worked together, Alex and Irene had become famous—two pioneers who opened an unprecedented window into the hidden yet vast world of animal minds. Alex's brain was the size of a shelled walnut, and when Irene and Alex first met, birds were not believed to possess any potential for language, consciousness, or anything remotely comparable to human intelligence. Yet, over the years, Alex proved many things. He could add. He could sound out words. He understood concepts like bigger, smaller, more, fewer, and none. He was capable of thought and intention. Together, Alex and Irene uncovered a startling reality: We live in a world populated by thinking, conscious creatures. The fame that resulted was extraordinary. Yet there was a side to their relationship that never made the papers. They were emotionally connected to one another. They shared a deep bond far beyond science. Alex missed Irene when she was away. He was jealous when she paid attention to other parrots, or even people. He liked to show her who was boss. He loved to dance. He sometimes became bored by the repetition of his tests, and played jokes on her. Sometimes they sniped at each other. Yet nearly every day, they each said, "I love you." Alex and Irene stayed together through thick and thin—despite sneers from experts, extraordinary financial sacrifices, and a nomadic existence from one univer­sity to another. The story of their thirty-year adventure is equally a landmark of scientific achievement and of an unforgettable human-animal bond.

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    Alex & Me

    5.7 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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  15. 2 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5 (2)
    12.4 hrs • 6/12/2012 • Unabridged

    In the spring of 2005, cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz was called to consult on an unusual patient: an Emperor tamarin at the Los Angeles Zoo. While examining the tiny monkey’s sick heart, she learned that wild animals can die of a form of cardiac arrest brought on by extreme emotional stress. It was a syndrome identical to a human condition but one that veterinarians called by a different name, and treated in innovative ways. This remarkable medical parallel launched Natterson-Horowitz on a journey of discovery that reshaped her entire approach to medicine. She began to search for other connections between the human and animal worlds: Do animals get breast cancer, anxiety-induced fainting spells, sexually transmitted diseases? Do they suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, addiction? The answers were astonishing. Dinosaurs suffered from brain cancer. Koalas catch chlamydia. Reindeer seek narcotic escape in hallucinogenic mushrooms. Stallions self-mutilate. Gorillas experience clinical depression. Joining forces with science journalist Kathryn Bowers, Natterson-Horowitz employs fascinating case studies and meticulous scholarship to present a revelatory understanding of what animals can teach us about the human body and mind. “Zoobiquity” is the term the authors have coined to refer to a new, species-spanning approach to health. Delving into evolution, anthropology, sociology, biology, veterinary science, and zoology, they break down the walls between disciplines, redefining the boundaries of medicine. Zoobiquity explores how animal and human commonality can be used to diagnose, treat, and heal patients of all species. Both authoritative and accessible, offering cutting-edge research through captivating narratives, this provocative book encourages us to see our essential connection to all living beings.

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    Zoobiquity

    12.4 hrs • 6/12/12 • Unabridged
    2 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5 (2)
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  16. 8.3 hrs • 4/1/2008 • Unabridged

    One of the most brilliant biologists of our time and a charismatic daredevil, Dr. Joe Slowinski had been obsessed with venomous snakes since his youth. In 2001, Slowinski led a team of young scientists deep into the wilds of Burma on a final tragic expedition. Immediately after being bitten by the many-banded krait, the deadliest serpent in Asia, Joe knew his life was in grave and imminent peril. Thus began one of the most remarkable wilderness rescue attempts of modern times, as Joe’s teammates kept him alive for thirty hours by mouth-to-mouth respiration. The Snake Charmer is at once a brilliant biography, a pulse-pounding adventure story, an exotic travel book, and a fascinating introduction to the bizarre world of snake science.

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    The Snake Charmer by Jamie James

    The Snake Charmer

    8.3 hrs • 4/1/08 • Unabridged
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