Talking to the animals
Three new books delve into how wrong we might be about what we think we know about other animals.
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? (W.W. Norton) by Frans de Waal is a renowned primatologist's look at whether our assumption that we top the cognitive ladder is correct, given new science about the intelligence of bats, octopuses, chimps and more.
The Genius of Birds (Penguin Press) by Jennifer Ackerman is a sometimes funny, often astonishing look at new research into avian behavior, memory and social structure that suggests "bird brain" may in fact be a compliment.
Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon (Knopf) by Bronwen Dickey is a thoughtful, deeply researched look at how the breed that was once one of America's most beloved and popular dogs became its most demonized — and how much social class has to do with it.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor