In the Company of Crows and Ravens
by John M. Marzluff and Tony Angell
"Crows and people share similar traits and social strategies. To a surprising extent, to know the crow is to know ourselves." — from the Preface
From the cave walls at Lascaux to the last painting by Van Gogh, from the works of Shakespeare to those of Mark Twain, there is clear evidence that crows and ravens influence human culture. Yet this influence is not unidirectional, say the authors of this fascinating book: people profoundly influence crow culture, ecology, and evolution as well.
John Marzluff and Tony Angell examine the often surprising ways that crows and humans interact. The authors contend that those interactions reflect a process of "cultural coevolution." They offer a challenging new view of the human-crow dynamic—a view that may change our thinking not only about crows but also about ourselves.
Featuring more than 100 original drawings, the book takes a close look at the influences people have had on the lives of crows throughout history and at the significant ways crows have altered human lives. In the Company of Crows and Ravens illuminates the entwined histories of crows and people and concludes with an intriguing discussion of the crow-human relationship and how our attitudes toward crows may affect our cultural trajectory.
"Marzluff (wildlife science, Coll. of Forest Resources, Univ. of Washington) and artist Angell aim for readers to get to know the 'whole animal.' To that end, these intrepid researchers go to extraordinary lengths, even eating crow (literally: they claim it is scrumptious). Their book offers a satellite view of the corvid bird family, but pays particular attention to the American Crow-its evolution, biology, complex social rituals, tool-handling capabilities, and communication skills. The authors are especially interested in the changing relationships between humans and corvids across time and place, how our culture has affected crows, and how crow 'culture' has affected us. In particular, they advance the idea of 'cultural coevolution,' wherein interaction between corvids and humans leads to social learning and the evolution of each group's culture." — Library Journal