Everything you ever wanted to know about how animals live together, and what that means for us.
Some animal societies hold a mirror up to the human world: elephants hold funerals for departed family members. Pinyon jays run collective creches. Rats will go out of their way to help a cold, wet stranger. Other lifestyles can seem intensely alien. Take locusts, surging over the land in their millions, unable to slow down for a moment because the hungry ranks behind will literally bite their legs off if they don't stay one step ahead (actually, you might know a few people like that).
But no matter how offputting an animal might be, behavioural scientist Ashley Ward can usually find something worth celebrating. Travelling the world from the Serengeti to the frozen Antarctic ocean, with stops in the muddy fields and streams of his native northern Yorkshire, he brings his curious eye and infectious humour right down to their level. The result is a world-expanding, myth-busting tour of some of nature's greatest marvels, in delightfully broad-minded company.
Born in Yorkshire, Ashley Ward is a professor in Animal Behaviour at the University of Sydney, the culmination of a career spent studying the behaviour of animals from tiny Antarctic krill to mammals, including humans. He has published over 100 scientific journal articles and a highly cited academic book Sociality: The Behaviour of GroupLiving Animals.
Zoology & animal sciences