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Where We Meet the World: The Story of the Senses (Hardcover)
The thrilling story of how our senses evolved and how they shape our encounters with the world
Our senses are what make life worth living. They allow us to appreciate a sip of an ice-cold drink, the sound of laughter, the touch of a lover. But only recently have incredible advances in sensory biology given us the ability to understand how and why our senses evolved as they have.
In Where We Meet the World, biologist Ashley Ward takes readers on a breathtaking tour of how our senses function. Ward looks at not only the five major senses—vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch—but also a host of other senses, such as balance and interoception, the sense of the body’s internal state. Drawing on new research, he explores how our senses interact with and regulate each other, and he uncovers what we can learn from how other animals—and even bacteria—encounter the world.
Full of warmth and humor, Where We Meet the World shows how new insights in biology transform our understanding of the relationship between ourselves and our environment, revealing the vibrancy—and strangeness—of both.
About the Author
Ashley Ward is a professor and director of the Animal Behaviour Lab at the University of Sydney, where he researches social behavior, learning, and communication in animals. His work has been published in top journals including PNAS, Biological Reviews, and Current Biology. The author of The Social Lives of Animals, he lives in Sydney.
"This eye-opening pop-science treatise… rhapsodizes about the power of the senses…[Ward] packs in innumerable fascinating details… The science illuminates the complex processes through which creatures make sense of their surroundings, and the delivery benefits greatly from the author’s stylish, evocative prose…This will change how readers see the world."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Enjoyable popular science.”—Kirkus
“a dazzling account of how we use sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell to navigate the world… The chapters on smell and taste showcase an eye for the extraordinary and a flair for explanation.”—Anjana Ahuja, Financial Times
“[a] jaunty, reader-friendly tour of the senses.”—Natalie Angier, The American Scholar
“illuminating and amusing” —The Mail on Sunday (UK)
“a wide-ranging and highly engaging read.”—The Observer (UK)
“a rollercoaster combination of science, cultural history, romance, philosophy and schoolboy humour.”—Katy Guest, The Guardian (UK)
“infectiously enthusiastic”—James McConnachie, Sunday Times (UK)
“It is nearly impossible to grasp what other animals smell, see, or feel. Ashley Ward’s dive into the way we and other species interpret the surrounding world offers astonishing insights.”—Frans de Waal, author of Mama’s Last Hug
“Absorbing, surprising and at times profound. After reading this, reality will never be quite the same.”—Dave Goulson, author of Silent Earth