If you start with his first scientific publication as a Harvard freshman, Donald Griffin spent nearly seven decades doing scientific work. Over the course of his career, he accomplished two things that few scientists achieve in their lifetimes (Gross 2009). He discovered a previously unknown natural phenomenon that he named echolocation. Later in life, he accomplished something greater than that. He changed the way we understand the minds of nonhuman beings. He did neither of these things alone, but his intellectual prowess and unflagging dedication to mustering evidence convinced many of us, including some of the skeptics that inevitably raise objections as science progresses.
Born in Southampton on Long Island in 1915, Donald Griffin was an only child (Griffin 1998). His family moved to the countryside near Scarsdale, New York, then, after his father’s retirement for health reasons, to Barnstable, Massachusetts. Griffin’s early education combined stints of...
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