Peter Beamish’s Dancing With Nature makes an adventure out of explaining new theories in human-animal communications. The narrative begins aboard the vessel Ceres, with Beamish and five others departing their home in Trinity, Newfoundland to travel along the island’s east coast to Labrador. The motley crew of scientists, naturalists, one teenager, and a photographer set out to communicate with migrating humpback and fin whales and are equipped with a precious cargo of underwater sound transmitters to do the job.
An extensive traveler with a Ph.D. in Bioacoustical Oceanography and his own laboratory, Ceta-Research Inc., Beamish is not new to writing on the topic of human-animal communications. His previous publications include Dancing with Whales and TIME. While whales remain the focus of this narrative, Beamish also brings in profound instances of communication between humans and foxes, eagles, moose and bears.
In addition to taking readers along on a series of exciting outdoor adventures, including polar bear sightings and the rescue of a beached whale, Beamish discusses the concept of “Rhythm Based Time,” or RBT, an understanding of time that focuses on the present moment of a communication rather than how it relates to the past or future. Whales, evidently, communicate in this mode more often than humans do. The researchers aboard Ceres seek out whales not only to observe them but also to gain a greater understanding of RBT and to test the hypothesis that RBT is linked to altruistic versus evolutionary, fight-or-flight behaviors.
Dancing with Nature contains many beautiful moments shared between humans and animals, and Beamish has a great way of bringing them to life. The text contains a few grammatical and punctuation issues, and the delivery of scientific detail through dialogue makes the science often difficult to understand. Even so, animal lovers are likely to enjoy this book, as will anyone else who wishes to revel in the power of cross-species communications.