Human Animal

Human Animal : The Mystery of Man's Behaviour

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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 120 x 180mm
  • Random House Children's Publishers UK
  • Corgi Childrens
  • London, United Kingdom
  • German
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • Ill.
  • 0552091359
  • 9780552091350

Review Text

Two forces are at work in today's biology. One concerns the ultimate atomization of biological processes; the other presses vigorously for more detailed observations of animals and people in their natural setting at work or play. Hans Hass' book, in this very readable translation from the German, is an exemplary summary of the latter approach. Beginning with a fine example-full survey of the animal behavior literature, he moves on to discuss the results of a unique study he and Dr. Irenaeus Eibl-Eibesfeldt of the Max Planck institute of Behavioral Physiology at Seewiesen undertook. They simply photographed people all over the world: bathing in the Ganges, eating in Samoa, arguing in South Italy, bowing in Japan. They used a camera that could be pointed in one direction while actually filming action. They then altered the speed of the footage to perceive if patterns emerged. The idea had been Hass's who had earlier explored aquatic life in this way. The deductions based on this approach plus other speculations make up the second part of the volume. The whole area of non-verbal communication is enriched in this way as Hass unfolds data on the universality of certain gestures, head-shaking or nodding, eyebrows raised or hands folded, and links them to patterns in animal behavior. There are also many assumptions about instincts, drives, imprinting in man, displacement behavior and essential sexual differences which will make some professional readers (certainly women's liberation groups) writhe. But you can read his analyses and speculations on curiosity, imagination, religion, politics and art with pleasure while sometimes reserving judgment. (Kirkus Reviews)show more