What A Fish Knows

What A Fish Knows

The Inner Lives Of Our Underwater Cousins

Book - 2016
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"The author of Second Nature challenges popular misconceptions to explore the complex lives of the planet's diverse fish species, drawing on the latest understandings in animal behavior and biology to reveal their self-awareness, elaborate courtship rituals and cooperative intelligence,"--NoveList.
Publisher: New York :, Scientific American/Farrar, Straus, and Giroux,, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780374288211
Branch Call Number: 597.15 Balcombe
Characteristics: viii, 288 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates :,color illustrations ;,22 cm


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SFPL_danielay May 16, 2017

At a time when fish are considered to not even be able to feel pain, Balcombe shows them to be smart creatures exquisitely adapted to their watery habitat. The book is full of amazing studies done on fish which show them to be fooled by some of the same optical illusions as humans, surpass primates on some cognitive thinking tests and to even communicate across species for the purpose of collaborative hunting. Engagingly written and mostly free of scientific jargon, this book is for everybody who wants to know more about these creatures we mostly encounter behind glass or dead on our dinner plates.

PimaLib_NormS Mar 22, 2017

Who knows what a fish knows? Maybe Jonathan Balcombe does. He has authored a new book, “What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins”. Citing numerous scientific studies from around the world, Balcombe writes that fish are sentient beings, capable of much more than humans had previously believed. We used to think that fish felt no pain, had no feelings, no ability to think and learn, and were purely instinctive in their activities. So, it was okay to lure them into biting a barbed hook and yank them out of the water. They don’t feel anything, right? Why did we think that? Was it because fish have a blank, unblinking look that reveals absolutely nothing? That they, to us, are silent? That they live and breathe underwater? Fish are so unlike us, it is difficult to believe there can be much of anything in common with them. The science, as written by Jonathan Balcombe, reveals that fish have personalities and emotions; they can and do learn to cooperate for the common good, and it has been proven that some fish know how to use tools. Fish and humans took different evolutionary paths, and there will always be a prey/predator relationship between us, but there are areas of commonality that are worth exploring. “What a Fish Knows” does just that.

The book explained how fish act in the world. they explained fish can feel fear, anger and happiness. Did you know fish can also be fooled by optical illusions? I was a little surprised and aghast at what i read. The next Tona sandwich i had i realized that fish probably had a higher I.Q> than i did. But, over all, it was interesting to learn the intellect of fish.

-Emerson, age 13

Aug 22, 2016

Very interesting read. It is though a great example of a common flaw of some, or perhaps many scientists these days. The author believes things about fish (based on his personal feelings and emotion) and then arranges the science and much hear say evidence neatly to support his pre conceived notions. He would have you believe, as he apparently does, that your pet guppy is on a intellectual plane shared by higher animals.. including apes and humans. As I said, the book is an interesting and well written work but you may find some of the conclusions to be a bit of a stretch. Worth the read...and you can decide for yourself :)

Aug 10, 2016

Very well written, perhaps more than you wanted to know abut fish in parts. Definitely will increase your compassion for these creatures.


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