Jon Mooallem is the author of "Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America."

Why you should listen

What do we see when we look at wild animals -- do we respond to human-like traits, or thrill to the idea of their utter unfamiliarity? Jon Mooallem's book, Wild Ones , examines our relationship with wild animals both familiar and feral, telling stories of the North American environmental movement from its unlikely birth, and following three species who've come to symbolize our complicated relationship with whatever "nature" even means anymore.

Mooallem has written about everything from the murder of Hawaiian monk seals, to Idahoan utopians, to the world’s most famous ventriloquist, to the sad, secret history of the invention of the high five. A recent piece, "American Hippopotamus," was an Atavist story on, really, a plan in 1910 to jumpstart the hippopotamus ranching industry in America.

What others say

“[Mooallem] does a better job than almost anyone at taking obscure and often amusing phenomenon…and spinning tales that ponder their deeper meanings.” — New Yorker

Jon Mooallem’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Jon Mooallem

We humans

When words and pictures work together

May 27, 2014

Giving a good presentation is much harder than it looks. Speakers have to figure out what they want to say and what they want a viewer to grasp -- and then decide how to bring the two together in a compelling manner. In his TED Talk, Jon Mooallem used whimsical illustrations to make a serious point. Check them out.

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Live from TED

The strange story of the teddy bear: Jon Mooallem at TED2014

March 19, 2014

In 1902, bears in the United States were symbols of all the dangers of the frontier. Bears were called “murderers” for their tendency to attack livestock, and they were being systematically killed by the federal government. That was, until President Theodore Roosevelt traveled to Mississippi on a hunting trip. Roosevelt had finished for the day, […]

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Live from TEDGlobal

Us: The speakers in session 5 of TED2014

March 19, 2014

Who are we? What are we doing here? Such thoughts plague more than just angst-filled teenagers. In this session, speakers take a piercing look at these and other complex questions, challenging preconceived notions of who we really are (let’s not forget microbes), how the brain works — and how consciousness fits into the equation. Here […]

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