Thinking With Animals

Octopus
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Can we ever get inside the mind of an animal? Can we really know how an octopus or a parrot thinks and experiences the world? We'll talk with some naturalists and philosophers who're trying, including Helen Macdonald and Peter Godfrey-Smith. And the fascinating story of Charles Foster's attempt to act like a badger, when he lived in a hole in the ground and ate worms.

Badger
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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.More

Length: 
10:14
Birdle
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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 now has a new avian companion — an ornery and very smart parrot.More

Length: 
9:20
Octopus
Articles

Philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith says the octopus is "probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.” It has no bones and most of its neurons are in its arms — not its brain. Can we ever fathom octopus consciousness?More

Length: 
10:35
Starling
Articles

Elena Passarello’s latest book, “Animals Strike Curious Poses,” is a journey through stories of the wild ones: the mammoths, spiders, birds and primates that have left their marks on our society. To the Best of Our Knowledge host Anne Strainchamps talked with Passarello about the “animal gaze” and the legacy of Mozart’s starling, among other animal tales.More

Length: 
16:18
Gorilla
Articles

Elena Passarello created “Koko” from the one-thousand word vocabulary of a gorilla who uses sign language. Her book is "Animals Strike Curious Poses."More

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