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The Parrot in the Mirror: How evolving to be like birds makes us human (book)

flyzipper

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This is a rather intriguing (to me) upcoming book that's available now for pre-order.

Description

How similar are your choices, behaviors, and lifestyle to those of a parrot?

We humans are not like other mammals. We look like them, but we don't act like them. In fact, many of our defining human traits: our longevity, intelligence, monogamy and childrearing, and learning and language, all deep parts of what it means to be human, are far more similar to birds than to our fellow mammals. These similarities originate not from shared ancestors but from parallel histories. Our evolutionary stories have pushed humans and birds to the same solutions. In this book, Antone Martinho-Truswell explores these similarities to argue that we can learn a great deal about ourselves by thinking of the human species as 'the bird without feathers'.
This is also a book about convergent evolution - evolution that drives very different species to very similar outcomes and behaviors. The traits we share with birds but not mammals are the result of similar, specific pressures that demanded similar solutions - and exploring these similarities can help us understand both why we evolved to be the way we are, and also how very unusual some of our behaviors are in the animal kingdom, Drawing on a rich array of examples across the natural world, Martinho-Truswell also demonstrates the ways in which parrots are our biological mirror image; an evolutionary parallel to ourselves. In contemplating what we share with the birds, and especially the parrots, we understand how close nature came to creating another lineage of radical intelligence on Earth, and we also come to better understand ourselves.
  • Discusses the surprising similarities between human behavior and social interaction and the lives of birds
  • Analyses the process of convergent evolution which has led to these similarities, and considers what evolutionary pressures influenced the behavior of modern day humans and birds
  • Demonstrates the ways in which human behavior is both unusual and extreme in the animal kingdom
  • Explores the ways in which we can understand ourselves better by understanding birds.
ISBN: 9780198846109
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year of Publication: 2022/05/15

Source - Buteo Books: The Parrot in the Mirror: How evolving to be like birds makes us human
 

Tiel Feathers

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Thanks for sharing, that sounds good!
 

Zara

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Sounds like an interesting read :)
 

fashionfobie

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Great share! Thank you
 

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Sounds like a fascinating read. Thanks for sharing!
 

fashionfobie

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I like this book tread and I am going to share a few authors that people may enjoy.

Gisela Kaplan

Rosemary Low
(I am waiting for this one from the post! Can't wait.)
0001-1920w.jpg

Bernd Heinrich

Vinciane Despret
(the two books below are very interesting)
1646686038453.png 9781509547265.jpg
 

fashionfobie

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I have just finished reading The Parrot in the Mirror (2022). I am sad to say that I was disappointed with it. It is likely written for an audience fully unaware of birds, and it has a rather casual style in how it presents information, but these aren't necessarily faults. It is good for average people to get insights into birds. What I didn't like was that there were lots of swooping generalisations and an overuse of platitudes, especially in regards to the author's own views on human relationships. The author possibly could have omitted the histories on Darwin and Linnaeus as these histories were presented casually and followed a linear progression with singular personalities, that doesn't paint a clear history. Furthermore omitting these histories wouldn't have detracted from the author's discussion on taxonomies. It is difficult to make claims about anyone being the first, when all science is built on the exchange of knowledge from one another, and writing a history of Darwin without the mention of Wallace leaves the historian in me wanting. I would rate it 3/5 on a 5 scale. For the reason that I don't think I learned anything that I haven't read in other books, by the likes of ornithologists like Bernd Heinrich or Gisela Kaplan, and while Martinho-Truswell introduced a potentially interesting comparison between humans and birds, the book didn't deliver on this promise with new information.

Edit: I will add that the story of the blue tits robbing cream in Swaythling was a fun addition.

I would love to know what others thought of it.
 
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