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 The White Bone for, even though a
novel, delving deep into the minds and behavior of Elephants.

The White Bone
By Barbara Gowdy

The White Bone (2000) - 330 pages
The White Bone at Amazon.com

A tour de force of the imagination, The White Bone is a thrilling journey into the minds of African elephants as they struggle to survive in a land racked by drought and slaughter. The story is told by a young cow named Mud, who at the novel's opening has survived an attack on her family by ivory poachers. She finds herself at the center of a desperate quest for the White Bone: an object of mythic power that if found might lead the herd to safety and survival.

A thrilling journey into the minds of African elephants as they struggle to survive.

If, as many recent nonfiction bestsellers have revealed, animals possess emotions and awareness, they must also have stories. In The White Bone, a novel imagined entirely from the perspective of African elephants, Barbara Gowdy creates a world whole and separate that yet illuminates our own.

For years, young Mud and her family have roamed the high grasses, swamps, and deserts of the sub-Sahara. Now the earth is scorched by drought, and the mutilated bodies of family and friends lie scattered on the ground, shot down by ivory hunters. Nothing-not the once familiar terrain, or the age-old rhythms of life, or even memory itself-seems reliable anymore. Yet a slim prophecy of hope is passed on from water hole to waterhole: the sacred white bone of legend will point the elephants toward the Safe Place. And so begins a quest through Africa's vast and perilous plains-until at last the survivors face a decisive trial of loyalty and courage.

In The White Bone, Barbara Gowdy performs a feat of imagination virtually unparalleled in modern fiction. Plunged into an alien landscape, we orient ourselves in elephant time, elephant space, elephant consciousness and begin to feel, as Gowdy puts it, "what it would be like to be that big and gentle, to be that imperiled, and to have that prodigious memory."

Barbara Gowdy is the author of five previous books, including Minister Sandman and We So Seldom Look on Love, and she has twice been a finalist for both the Governor General's Award and the Griller Prize. She lives in Toronto, Canada.

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The White Bone
By Barbara Gowdy

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse The White Bone for, even though a
novel, delving deep into the minds and behavior of Elephants.