CORVALLIS, Ore. - Virginia Morell, author of the new book, "Animal Wise," will give insights into the inner world of animals during a talk at Oregon State University on Thursday, March 7.

The free, public event begins at 7 p.m. in the Construction & Engineering Hall of the LaSells Stewart Center on the OSU campus.

Covering a range of topics, ranging from how earthworms make decisions to how birds practice songs in their sleep, Morell will take audience members on an exploration into the hearts and minds of wild and domesticated animals.

Morell's is the first book of its kind to look at a range of animals - from the smallest insects to the largest mammals - and to ask the question: How has evolution selected for the expression of intelligence and emotion?

"Animal Wise" transports readers to field sites and laboratories around the world, introducing readers to pioneering animal-cognition researchers and their surprisingly intelligent and sensitive subjects. She explores how this rapidly evolving, controversial field has only recently overturned old notions about why animals behave as they do. Morell also probes the moral and ethical dilemmas of recognizing that even "lesser animals" have cognitive abilities such as memory, feelings, personality, and self-awareness - traits that many once believed were unique to human beings.

Morell is a Medford-based science writer who has written for National Geographic, Science, Smithsonian and other publications. She is also the author of "Ancestral Passions," a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

"Animal Wise" will be released Feb. 26 by Crown Publishing/Random House. Morell's talk is sponsored by OSU's Spring Creek Project.

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Charles Goodrich, 541-737-6198