When You Become The Music

I finished reading the book The Inner Life of Animals: Surprising Observations of a Hidden World https://www.amazon.in/Inner-Life-Animals-Surprising-Observations-ebook/dp/B01N9YNANU

I had read the author’s Hidden Life Of Trees and I had liked it very much. So it was natural to pick this book. I liked this one too. Maybe not as much as the earlier book.

The author talks about feelings, pains, memories, etc. in animals and birds. And things like consciousness, too. For example, he talks about things like mirror test.

I had decided not to underline anything in this book. The author has a simple style of writing and underlining/note-taking seems killjoy during a re-read. So have not underlined anything as such.

But a couple of things I remember:

People experience closeness due to hormone secretions (for example, the bond between partners is strengthened by secretions in brain after sexual intercourse). But animals also have similar mechanisms. When a human mother nurses her baby, the bond strengthens. And becomes so strong that these bonds can last lifetime. He mentions that in case of goats the mother has to lick its baby dry soon after giving birth. If the slime dries out, the mother refuses to accept the baby. Because the act of licking its baby, and possibly the taste of that slime triggers love in the mother’s case. Then he discusses if animals can learn to love just like human learn to love in absence of natural bond (for example adopting a child).

The book is filled with many such discussions.

He mentions two mares their family keeps. The elder horse is 24yrs old and the younger one is three years younger. These two along with the family pet dogs, crows, goats, etc. pop up every now and then and the discussion is first hand experience with some science background. At one place he mentions that the younger mare sometimes takes her time when they are feeding her. She passes the time running here and there first and so generally they let her be and in fact punish her if she doesn’t promptly come to feed. She does not mind the punishment because on these occasions she is in playful mood. But if, by the time she wants her food, the older mare is there and she’s has seen her, the younger one shies and the author says you can tell she is ashamed of her childish behavior because it was caught by the elder member and she shies like a schoolgirl. (I remembered this paragraph because it was so real- like happening before my eyes- the mare running here and there before arriving for the allotted ration, etc.)

Again, in this book as well, not too many new things. But learned quite a few things. A very simple read. The author does not seem as expert in this area as he seems to be in the subject of trees. But the book is worth recommending.

The internet would not be half so interesting without cats and dogs. Some of tweets I liked on twitter. (The post title is from the tweet below.)




And lastly, a story on quora:




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