Divorce Among the Gulls: An Uncommon Look at Human Nature

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9780060974718: Divorce Among the Gulls: An Uncommon Look at Human Nature

The idea that there is some common cause in the workings of the human and animal mind is often ridiculed and dismissed as anthropomorphism. But, asks William Jordan, what if the intellectual establishment has it backwards? What if, instead of attributing human motives to animals, we paid more attention to the animal motives in humans? Divorce Among the Gulls is a startling exploration of this notion.

Jordan combines a storyteller's imagination and wit with a scientist's uncompromising attention to fact. Whether in a meditation on the extraordinary lives of insects beneath a canopy of alfalfa or in an explanation of the battle between male and female seagulls over which will incubate their eggs, Jordan eagerly throws open the door to his topsy-turvy view of the universe. Throughout, he evokes a sense of the fundamental kinship that yokes us all, human and animal, to the natural world. Divorce Among the Gulls is a thought-provoking and gracefully written essay.

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About the Author:

William Jordan has a B.A. in vertebrate zoology and a Ph.D. in entomology. His essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Smithsonian Science 80, and Wigwag. He lives in Culver City, California.

From Publishers Weekly:

Biologist Jordan here observes medfly courtship, gorilla motherhood, sea gull nesting squabbles and other remarkable activities in the animal world. Wherever he looks, he finds parallels with human behavior, and he speculates that the human mind is actually an extension of the animal mind. Whether he writes of fruit bats emerging eerily from a eucalyptus grove at dusk, the magical universe of insects in a field of alfalfa or a rat on a power line silhouetted against the moon, Jordan's prose is scintillating, for he has a poet's ability to enchant and a naturalist's talent for opening our eyes to the wonders of the animal world. Above all, he succeeds in making us humble about human reasoning capacity, for it may not be as original or as beneficial as we like to think.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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