Zoobiquity

  • by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, Kathryn Bowers
  • Narrated by Karen White
  • 12 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the spring of 2005, cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz was called to consult on an unusual patient: an Emperor tamarin at the Los Angeles Zoo. While examining the tiny monkey's sick heart, she learned that wild animals can die of a form of cardiac arrest brought on by extreme emotional stress. It was a syndrome identical to a human condition but one that veterinarians called by a different name and treated in innovative ways.
This remarkable medical parallel launched Natterson-Horowitz on a journey of discovery that reshaped her entire approach to medicine. She began to search for other connections between the human and animal worlds: Do animals get breast cancer, anxiety-induced fainting spells, sexually transmitted diseases? Do they suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, addiction?
The answers were astonishing. Dinosaurs suffered from brain cancer. Koalas catch chlamydia. Reindeer seek narcotic escape in hallucinogenic mushrooms. Stallions self-mutilate. Gorillas experience clinical depression.
Joining forces with science journalist Kathryn Bowers, Natterson-Horowitz employs fascinating case studies and meticulous scholarship to present a revelatory understanding of what animals can teach us about the human body and mind.
Zoobiquity; is the term the authors have coined to refer to a new, species-spanning approach to health. Delving into evolution, anthropology, sociology, biology, veterinary science, and zoology, they break down the walls between disciplines, redefining the boundaries of medicine.Zoobiquity explores how animal and human commonality can be used to diagnose, treat, and heal patients of all species. Both authoritative and accessible, offering cutting-edge research through captivating narratives, this provocative book encourages us to see our essential connection to all living beings.

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What the Critics Say

"If common ancestors with worms, fish, and apes lie in our past, then Zoobiquity points the way to our future. The connections we share with the rest of life on our planet are a source of beauty and, in Natterson-Horowitz and Bowers luminous new account, the inspiration for an emerging and powerful approach to human health.Zoobiquity is a book that explodes barriers and myths all in the purpose of bettering the human condition." (Neil Shubin, paleontologist and author of Your Inner Fish)
"Zoobiquity is full of fascinating stories of intersection between human and nonhuman medicine fish that faint; dinosaur cancers; human treatments that cure dogs of melanoma; lessons from adolescent elephant behavior that explain human teenagers. I was beguiled." (Atul Gawande, M.D.)
"Centered on an insight rich with consequences, this beautifully written book is loaded with fascinating material that makes a compelling case for viewing human health and disease comparatively. We have more to learn from other species than I had ever suspected. Gripping and memorably engaging, it belongs in the hands of anyone with an ounce of curiosity about the biological sources of the human condition." (Stephen Stearns, PhD., Edward P. Bass Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University)
"Fascinating reading about the similarities in both the physiology and behavior of people and animals." (Temple Grandin, Ph.D.)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Doesn't offer anything new, doesn't give credit wh

What disappointed you about Zoobiquity?

First off, I must admit that I have not yet finished the book. I'm only on the cancer section, and I'm not sure if I will finish it. Initially I was really excited to find this book (I have the kindle audio edition), because I'm a Laboratory Animal Veterinarian, so I encounter and appreciate comparative medicine on a daily basis. But almost immediately, I was turned off by the author's repetitive and nauseating writing style- overuse of adjectives, subjectivity, egotism, etc. Furthermore, this book so far has NOT offered anything new. I realize that most people may not realize this, because they are not in the field of comparative medicine. And I would have no problem if the author simply chose to present the information in a book that is accessible to the everyday person. The author does do this, but that is not all she does- she claims that she is taking a new, 'zoobiquitous' approach that few people if any have done before. In fact, this is not a new approach at all and is done every day through comparative medicine studies, namely animal research, which the author makes quite clear that she is opposed to. But it becomes obvious that in her opposition to animal research, she has failed to recognize the many benefits that comparative animal research has provided (although she does make reference to research findings, but does not mention that those findings came from animal research).

The entire book thus far exudes a sense of profoundness- as if the author is crossing uncharted territory. I feel like that is misleading to readers and does not give credit where credit is due- not only to the wildlife and zoo veterinarians, but also to the lab animal veterinarians who strive to uphold animal welfare while also contribute to the advancement of scientific and medical knowledge- in this case advancement that uses animals that have been selected as models of human diseases. The author paints a small picture of animal research as cold, uncaring, and unimportant. She portrays it as a field that uses genetically mutated animals that are completely unlike their natural counterparts. While research does use genetically engineered animals to serve as superior models of human diseases, animal research also uses natural animal models that include not only mice and rats, but dogs, cats, primates, frogs, birds, pigs, gerbils, snakes, horses- the list is endless. Many of her profound conclusions have already been concluded and put into practice in animal research.

It is true that MDs and DVMs need to work together to achieve a heightened quality of medicine that benefits both people and animals. But the author gives the impression that human and animal doctors are really not working together at all. But in fact, they are working together extensively in the field of research/laboratory animal medicine that the author chose to ignore. Not only does the author not incorporate this field in her writings, she explicitly expresses her distaste for animal research. I believe that in order to truly develop a zoobiquitous approach, you need to have an appreciation and understanding for all areas of scientific and medical advancement.

The author is correct about one thing though- that many MD's, especially specialists, have a superiority complex, inflated ego, etc. This complex is exemplified in her book.


How did the narrator detract from the book?

By not painting an objective, well-rounded picture


What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

anger, frustration, disappointment


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- jenny12345

Fascinating Book on Human & Animal Medicine

This book is incredibly well written and the material it covers is fascinating. Although I was hesitant at first about the main idea of this book (that animal and human medicine could be intimately connected and have a great deal to offer each other), the authors make a persuasive argument and have thoroughly convinced me! The book presents the connection between animals and humans in a very entertaining and often amusing way. All of the claims that the authors put forward are backed up by very reasonable research and examples, which only adds to the value of this book.

There is definitely a lot of medical jargon, but the authors do an excellent job in explaining any scientific terms that they use. I will be recommending this book to medical students, veterinarians, physicians, pet owners, and anyone interested in medicine. I am sure that they will not be disappointed.

My only complaint is that the reader mispronounces several words, but otherwise the performance is very good.
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- Zack

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-12-2012
  • Publisher: Random House Audio