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O's 2012 Summer Reading List

No matter your mood, there's a great book to suit it. Don't forget to print the full list here!
Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing
Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D

Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing

320 pages; Knopf
When they're feeling amorous, females of some species adopt a stance called lordosis—lower back arched, rear end tipped up and out—not unlike the posture of women in stilettos. Coincidence? Maybe not, according to the authors of Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing. Cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, MD, and medical writer Kathryn Bowers outline surprising traits humans share with the rest of the world's creatures. The obesity epidemic, for example, spans species: Twenty-five to 50 percent of cats and dogs in the United States are overweight or obese, rats in urban Baltimore are getting fatter every decade, and some pet tortoises are growing too chubby to pop out of their shells. Meanwhile, female pigs forced into stressful situations sometimes starve themselves until they are emaciated, much like anorexics. The authors also show that adolescents throughout the animal kingdom—whether sea otters diving into the Pacific Ocean's shark-infested Red Triangle or capuchin monkeys picking fights with bigger adults—seem hardwired for risky behavior. And when a horse or cow gets hooked on the intoxicating "locoweed" that grows freely in the American West, others in the group are likely to follow its example. It turns out humans may literally have a herd mentality.
— Karen Holt

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