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What Can We Learn About Community From Animals?

Two rhinos greet each other in this undated photo.
Courtesy of Caitlin O' Connell
Two rhinos greet each other in this undated photo.
Academic, author and photographer Caitlin O’ Connell is out with a new book that explores this. It’s called “Wild Rituals: 10 Lessons Animals Can Teach Us About Connection, Community, and Ourselves.”

What can we take away from understanding rituals that take place in both human and wild animal societies?

Academic, author and photographer Caitlin O’ Connell, who is also a San Diegan, is out with a new book that explores these rituals and delves into their importance. It’s called “Wild Rituals: 10 Lessons Animals Can Teach Us About Connection, Community, and Ourselves.”

A herd of elephants migrating is pictured in this undated photo.
Courtesy Caitlin O' Connell
A herd of elephants migrating is pictured in this undated photo.

O' Connell said that although she started writing the book prior to the pandemic, the reason for writing it was driven home by the pandemic.

“I was so struck by how important ritual is to the rest of the animal kingdom, that I realized there’s a lot of ritual that we tend to neglect,” she said. “I think the pandemic has made us realize what we’re losing by not being in person with each other, by not being able to smile at each other because we all have to wear masks to stay safe and hugging or shaking hands, those are really important greeting rituals that sometimes we take for granted.”

O' Connell is hosting a book club event with San Diego Science Writers Association on March 3 at 6:30 p.m.

She joined Midday Edition on Thursday to discuss what we can learn from the rituals we have in common with animals.