the inner lives of animals

2d86f7d8-2c56-11e8-b7e0-bf91416644a64Jennie Erin Smith at the TLS:

The German forester Peter Wohlleben shares Young’s conviction that animal beh­aviour is often rooted in individual character and choice. In The Inner Life of Animals, a follow-up to his book on trees, Wohlleben’s subjects are woodland creatures: red deer, squirrels, boar, mice and ravens, along with domestic animals he has raised. He has seen courageous fawns, depressed does, conniving roosters. Unlike Young, he is anxious to show that his observations are objectively valid. To give them heft, he highlights findings from the past decade or so, many of them by German and Austrian researchers.

Writing about bees, Wohlleben recalls his experience as a keeper to attest that “there’s a lot more going on inside their little heads” than the conventional wisdom would have it. Bees will attack people who have annoyed them in the past, while allowing trusted ones to approach, he says. He cites research by a Berlin neurobiologist that subverts the old notion that a hive of bees acts as a collective super-organism. In fact, individual bees are capable of a limited form of decision-making and planning, Wohlleben writes, and they are “self-aware”.

more here.