Who are we? What do we value? How do we live here?
Guided by parents, carers, teachers and siblings, we learn to answer these questions as we grow up. But it’s not just us. Many animals must learn to answer them too.
In Becoming Wild, Carl Safina reveals that culture, long thought exclusive to humankind, is abundant in the animal kingdom. Sperm whales in the Caribbean communicate through a system of clicks akin to Morse code, announcing which clan they belong to, which family and who they are individually. Among chimpanzees the obsession with male status may guarantee violence, even war, but they also have many ways to quell tensions.
As Safina shows, the better we understand the animals with whom we share this planet, the less different from us they seem.
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