Before I wrote Beauty in the Beasts, some of the researchers I interviewed told me that animals didn’t think. The idea, I suppose, was that they were machines, groping through life and blindly following instincts hardwired into their brains. In Beauty and the Beasts, I wanted to show that far more than instincts drives animal behavior, and nothing forces animals to carry out their often amazing acts of kindness, cooperation, and courage. Rather, animals are as free as we are, and they can choose to do good. They decide whether or not to drag someone out of a burning building or to jump in front of an ongoing car to protect a child they love. And, just like us, animals can be as decent toward strangers and members of a different species as they are to their family and friends.