Knowing Animals

June 11, 2017
(was 09.04.2016)

Can we ever get inside the mind of an animal? Can we really know how a chimp or a parrot thinks and experiences the world? We'll talk with some naturalists and scientists who're trying, including Helen Macdonald and Frans de Waal. And the fascinating story of Charles Foster's attempt to live like a badger, when he lived in a hole in the ground and ate worms.

  1. Living Like A Beast

    What's it like to be a badger? British naturalist Charles Foster wanted to know, so he dug a burrow and lived in the darkness, eating worms. Yup, it was kind of disgusting, but he says the experience brought him closer to the wildness within himself.

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  2. Helen Macdonald and "Birdle" the Parrot

    Helen Macdonald's book "H is for Hawk" turned her goshawk Mabel into one of the most memorable literary characters of recent years. Mabel is no longer with her, but Helen tells Anne Strainchamps about her new avian companion - an ornery and very smart parrot.

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  3. Inside Animal Minds

    What separates your mind from an animal's? It's a question we've all asked, but renowned primatologist Frans de Waal says there's no point trying to rank who's smarter or dumber in the animal world. In fact, he believes there's no clear dividing line between humans and the rest of the animal world.

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  4. Douglas Adams' Survival Guilt

    Jennifer Jacquet recommends "Last Chance to See" by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine.

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  5. Searching for the Last Unicorn

    Finding the horns of a saola - a large ox-like mammal on the Laos-Vietnam border - was one of the great biological discoveries of the 20th century. But no biologist has actually seen the saola in the wild, which has given the animal an almost mythical status. That's why biologist William Robichaud and writer William deBuys call it "the last unicorn."

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