Sioux Falls Zoologists

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!"

The mirror test is an experiment developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. to determine whether an animal possesses the ability to recognize itself in a mirror. It is the primary indicator of self-awareness in non-human animals and marks entrance to the mirror stage by human children in developmental psychology. Animals that pass the mirror test are: Humans older than 18 mo, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Orangutans, Gorillas, Bottlenose Dolphins, Orcas (Killer Whales), Elephants, and European Magpies. Others showing signs of self-awareness are Pigs, some Gibbons, Rhesus Macaques, Capuchin Monkeys, some Corvids (Crows & Ravens) and Pigeons w/training. (Sorry Kitty!)

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse Animals in Translation for its
unique insights into how animals view their world.

Animals in Translation
Using Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior
By Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson

Animals in Translation (2005) - 356 pages
Animals in Translation at Amazon.com

Temple Grandin's Animals in Translation speaks in a clear voice of a woman who emerged from the other side of autism, bringing with her an extraordinary message about how animals think and feel.

Temple's professional training as an animal scientist and her history as a person with autism have given her a perspective like that of no other expert in the field. Standing at the intersection of animals and autism, she offers unparalleled observations and groundbreaking ideas about both.

Autistic people can often think the way animals think - in fact, Grandin and co-author Catherine Johnson see autism as a kind of way station on the road from animals to humans - putting autistic people in the perfect position to translate "animal talk." Temple is a faithful guide into their world, exploring animal pain, fear, aggression, love, friendship, communication, learning, and, yes, even animal genius. Not only are animals much smarter than anyone ever imagined, in some cases animals are out-and-out brilliant.

The sweep of Animals in Translation is immense, merging an animal scientist's thirty years of study with her keen perceptions as a person with autism - Temple sees what others cannot.

Among its provocative ideas , the book:

  • Argues that language is not a requirement for consciousness - and that animals do have consciousness.
  • Applies the autism theory of "hyper-sensitivity" to animals, showing that animals and autistic people are so sensitive to detail that they "can't see the forest for the trees" - a talent as well as a "deficit"
  • Explores the "interpreter" in the normal human brain that filters out detail, leaving people blind to much of the reality that surrounds them - a reality animals and autistic people see, sometimes all to clearly
  • Explains how animals have "superhuman" skills: animals have animal genius
  • Compares animals to autistic savants, declaring that animals may in fact be autistic savants, with special for genius that normal people do not possess and sometimes cannot even see
  • Examines how humans and animals use their emotions to think, to decide, and even to predict the future
  • Reveals the remarkable abilities of handicapped people and animals
  • Maintains that the single worst thing you can do to an animal is to make it afraid

Temple Grandin is like no other author on the subject of animals because of her training and because of her autism: understanding animals is in her blood and in her bones.

Temple Grandin earned her Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois, went on to become an associate professor at Colorado State University, and wrote two books on autism, including the seminal Thinking in Pictures. One of the most celebrated - and effective - animal advocates on the planet, Grandin revolutionized animal movement systems and spearheaded reform of the quality of life for the world's agricultural animals.

Catherine Johnson, Ph.D., is a writer specializing in neuropsychiatry and the brain and is the author of three previous books, including Shadow Syndromes with John J. Ratey. She lives with her husband and three sons in New York. Two of her sons have autism.

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Animals in Translation
Using Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior
By Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse Animals in Translation for its
unique insights into how animals view their world.