It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for the Audiobook – Animal Societies: How Co-Operation Conquered the Natural World by Ashley Ward.
Written and narrated by Ashley Ward, Professor of Animal Behaviour at the University of Sydney, Animal Societies takes listeners around the world to give an incredible insight into the intimate worlds of social animals. Perfect for fans of David Attenborough, Animal Societies explores how the study of animals’ social behaviour can reveal much about mankind’s own behaviour, including leadership, empathy and selflessness.
About the Author
Ashley Ward is Professor of Animal Behaviour at the University of Sydney and has travelled extensively for his research all over the world – studying lions and elephants in Kenya, whales in the Azores and Tonga, crows in Iceland and Nevada, and fish in Lincolnshire.
About the book
Animal Societies is a voyage of discovery across desert, forest, tundra and ocean to uncover the many benefits and intricacies of sociality in the animal kingdom.
Taking listeners on a journey from Aysgarth Falls to the Great Barrier Reef, Animal Societies explores the intimate worlds of social animals, demonstrating how studying their social behaviour provides insights to the development of such things as empathy, altruism, leadership and language. It’s clear that animals are not so far removed from us as we might imagine
In a time where humans are struggling to navigate cityscapes, isolation and a loneliness epidemic, Ward shows us that studying the social behaviour of animals offers a window into the evolutionary basis of our own species.
Ward makes animal behavioural science both a learning and a captivating listening experience. The personal thoughts are woven seamlessly into the more serious aspect of the book, which isn’t without its merits when it comes to science.
It’s quite curious how humans create this invisible barrier between themselves and animals. The hierarchy of living creatures – oh and humans must be perceived as different, because our evolution suggests a superiority. Not many think of comparing us to them. How can studying animal behaviour give us insights into societal roles, communities and behaviour? For some it’s hard to fathom the commonalities and comparisons.
I especially enjoyed the last chapter, which suggests that we can’t simply explain certain base instincts and behavioural patterns based on the echos of our ancestral dna. The differences in species and their responses to specific stimuli can help us to understand their behaviour and in turn ours.
It’s a fascinating read, and I can honestly say I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another book or read by Ward for educational purposes and for a read or listen that promises an expansion of knowledge, as opposed to trying to rein it in with mothball covered theories that support antiquated thought processes.
On a final note, which takes me back to the start of this audiobook and indeed Ward’s own travels. It might bring him some joy to know that where his journey was one of rejection and endurance at times, in regards to learning and sharing the same space with animals whilst doing so, that for younger generations it has become slightly easier to get access to this kind of learning and physical experience. Case in point when we spent a few weeks driving our daughter to Scarborough Sea Life Centre each day a few years ago so she could clean up smelly penguin poop and cut up baby chicks for the animals. Zoological careers and opportunities are evolving.
Listening Length – 13 hours and 36 minutes, Author – Ashley Ward, Narrator – Ashley Ward, Audible.co.uk Release Date – 23 April 2020, Publisher – Audible Studios, Program Type – Audiobook,Version – Unabridged, Language – English.