Ashley Ward, The Social Lives of Animals (2022)
Author: Ashley Ward
Title: The Social Lives of Animals
The first book of 2023, yay!
Ward’s The Social Lives of Animals delivers exactly what it promises – a highly interesting, sometimes humorous, sometimes dead serious account on the social aspects of animal lives. It’s a very good popular science book, full of fun facts and anecdotes made more engrossing by the fact that many of them were witnessed first-hand by the author. As Ward is a professor of biology, there is a certain hierarchy detectable in the storytelling, a slow journey through the animal kingdom following the growing social complexity of behaviour: from the invertebrate toward vertebrates, and among these, from fish to mammals. The natural science lens is visible in other aspects of the book, as well – Ward judiciously spices his account with more scientific terms, taking care to explain what each means and why it is important. It is a highly entertaining, educational book and while maybe a tad less jaw-dropping and more anecdotal than I expected, it’s still a great resource for those interested in animal ethology. Ward is a great storyteller and possesses a wealth of data he itches to share with everybody. His enthusiasm is palpable, as is his knowledge. There’s humour, horror, sadness and joy, and loads of fun facts about a host of animals as varied as krill, termites, humpback whales, cockroaches, gorillas and vampire bats. I, for once, will never look at tits (erm, the birds) the same way.Continue reading “Ashley Ward, The Social Lives of Animals (2022)”