WILD HERITAGE by Sally Carrighar


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If controversy arises among the general public from this lively essay certainly a cozy controversy it will be, for what could be more entertaining than investigating animal behavior in the light of our own murky behavior patterns. Miss Carrighar's thesis --that the study of animal ethology reveals tendencies in ourselves that we would otherwise not suspect --has found takers recently, judging by the bibliography, and in the author's grab bag of recent experimentation are instances of proof positive for the layman, if not the scientist. With wit and enthusiasm the author outlines some animal behavior to raise questions or an eyebrow -- animal parenthood, sex practices, aggression and play, often making reference to human behavior. One of the most fascinating sections is concerned with the ""evolution"" of mating behavior as observed in monkeys, with neurotic and hostile relations between male and female arising from the emergence of the female as a sex object solely. The author also investigates the possibility that animal play --a release from instinct compulsion -- in some animals gives rise to appreciation of aesthetic values. The tendency of scientists in the past to accuse the ethologist of anthropomorphism is deplored, and the reader, overwhelmed with anecdotes about precocious monkeys and porcupines may deplore in return, but this exuberant fling among our furry and scaly brothers is fun and sure to hit the TV panels.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1965
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin