The Creative Lives of Animals
Published by: NYU Press
Imprint: New York University Press
Sales Date: 2022-11-22
Published: November 2022
304 Pages, 6.28 x 9.25 x 0.80 in
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The surprising, fascinating, and remarkable ways that animals use creativity to thrive in their habitats
Most of us view animals through a very narrow lens, seeing only bits and pieces of beings that seem mostly peripheral to our lives. However, whether animals are building a shelter, seducing a mate, or inventing a new game, animals? creative choices affect their social, cultural, and environmental worlds.
The Creative Lives of Animals offers readers intimate glimpses of creativity in the lives of animals, from elephants to alligators to ants. Drawing on a growing body of scientific research, Carol Gigliotti unpacks examples of creativity demonstrated by animals through the lens of the creative process, an important component of creative behavior, and offers new thinking on animal intelligence, emotion, and self-awareness. With examples of the elaborate dams built by beavers or the lavishly decorated bowers of bowerbirds, Gigliotti provides a new perspective on animals as agents in their own lives, as valuable contributors to their world and ours, and as guides in understanding how creativity may contribute to conserving the natural world. Presenting a powerful argument for the importance of recognizing animals as individuals and as creators of a healthy, biodiverse world, this book offers insights into both the established and emerging questions about the creativity of animals.
"The Creative Lives of Animals is a game-changer. Carol Gigliotti shows how important creativity ?improvisation and invention?is in a wide variety of contexts including expressing different emotions, playing, socially communicating with others, courting, mating, and raising children, and designing and engineering animals' homes. Easy-to-read and science-based, The Creative Lives of Animals will be of interest to a broad audience including researchers and non-researchers alike, and surely will change the ways in which humans view and treat the fascinating animals with whom we share our magnificent planet." Marc Bekoff, author of Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do
"In her marvelous book, Gigliotti reveals the astonishing depth and genius of animal creativity, demolishing a common view of animals as little more than robots mindlessly enacting the scripts given to them by Nature. Drawing on a century of ethological findings, the author shows how animals bring deep intelligence, emotions, and even an aesthetic sensibility to bear on their daily challenges. Animals are shown to be not mere ?types,? but creative individuals and artists of their own lives. This is the rare work that opens our eyes to worlds of experience and being that would otherwise remain hidden from us." John Sanbonmatsu, author of Critical Theory and Animal Liberation
"The Creative Lives of Animals is smart, original, and well-written. Gigliotti topples one of the last remaining conceits about what distinguishes humans from nonhuman animals: the aptitude for creative expression and aesthetic appreciation. The Creative Lives of Animals is masterfully researched, and will surely make vital contributions to debates not only in animal studies but also in the philosophy of mind and even performance studies. At the same time, the writing sparkles, and the book overflows with stories so accessible and well-crafted that the book deserves wide readership. This is a work that has the potential to fundamentally change the way we think about animals--and ourselves." Colin Jerolmack, author of The Global Pigeon