The Octopus and the Orangutan: More True Tales of Animal Intrigue, Intelligence, and Ingenuity.
Though people think squirrels are ingenious and that birds and even fish can be clever, most of us, if we consider animal intelligence at all, tend to focus on primates. Linden formerly shared this bias, but no more. In a follow-up to The Parrot's Lament, he provides a wealth of anecdotal evidence that many animals have remarkable mental capabilities. He offers stories of orangutans, elephants, and octopuses that can pick locks and take apart cages and a dolphin that chastises its trainer. Many other scientists argue that these vignettes aren't scientific evidence of intelligence. Linden argues that that attitude is self-limiting. Animals "do their best thinking when it serves their purposes," not necessarily when scientists are studying them in a laboratory, Linden asserts. He says we should open our minds to the brainpower of animals, which is exhibited in the ways they deceive each other and us, trade and barter among themselves, and make tools. Dutton, 2002, 242 p., hardcover, $23.95.