Animal Societies

How Co-Operation Conquered the Natural World
Narrated by: Ashley Ward
Length: 13 hrs and 36 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In our modern world of social media and relentless technological advancement, we are more connected than ever before. Though the scale of this connectivity is new, the instinctive desire to gather with our own kind has ancient roots. We can see the origins of our own societies in the social behaviour of the animals that share the planet with us. What’s more, human characteristics such as altruism, empathy, leadership and language can also be witnessed among animal groups. 

Join Biologist Ashley Ward as he takes listeners into the intimate worlds of social animals. Journeying from Aysgarth Falls to the Great Barrier Reef, it becomes 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 insights valuable in their own right as well as a window into the evolutionary basis of our own species.

©2020 Ashley Ward (P)2020 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Animal Societies

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Great book

The book was really captivating, well researched, with a great performance. A lot interesting new information and well organized. Even though it did not have many reviews and the author is not a very well known scientist, this book is really great, so don’t let yourself influenced but that.

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  • hhj
  • 05-09-20

Definitely my book of the year

I don't have enough positive adjectives to express just how much this book lightened my lockdown. Serious scholarship is at its heart but it's also often very funny without ever overdoing the humour. The stinky ditch encounter with a laconic dog-walker in Lincolnshire caused my husband to laugh so much that he nearly fell off his chair. It's beautifully and expressively read by the author who has a warm Northern accent. He is clearly someone who really loves his line of work. There's very good occasional use of sound effects and music, which to be honest, would normally irritate me in an audiobook but it's done with a light touch. It's wide-ranging...Hyenas, termites, sticklebacks, naked mole rats, whales, apes and plenty more inbetween. Do yourself a favour and give it a listen. I loved it. Alert for those who are mortally offended by the occasional swearword. There's a few in there but it's never inappropriate. I bet David Attenborough swears too on the odd occasion.

41 people found this helpful

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  • A. Wilson
  • 05-23-20

Funny, interesting, factual - a wonderful book!

I loved this book, the perfect blend of personal experience, humour, and animal adventure - it has everything anyone interested in animals would want to 'see' in a book. Ashley Ward is a renowned expert in animal behaviour based in Australia and his knowledge and enthusiasm come across in every chapter. Covering everything from muddy UK ditches to Antarctica and all the animals in between, I found myself binge listening to the book in just a few sittings. Ward's reading the book himself with a northern accent suits the book perfectly and you can sense the jovial humour he has when he retells stories from his many adventures. I enjoyed this book thoroughly and will be listening to it again soon I’m sure.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-05-20

A must for all ages

Absolutely enthralling and the depths the author went to to describe it wonderful and clear

11 people found this helpful

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  • C. Walker Jr.
  • 06-22-20

Incredible!

I’ve purchased and listened to hundreds of audio books and enjoyed them all, but this book ranks among the very, very best! Thank you Ashley 😄 I hope you put it into print, complete with colored photos, so I can give copies to James, Sonny and Kit, 3 of my animal-loving grandchildren.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amy
  • 06-15-20

so so so so so brilliant

Now I can annoy everyone I know with amazing facts about cockroaches, orcas, bonobos and humans!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-23-20

Fascinating, funny and factual! A must-read!!

I absolutely adored this book! The author is clearly a very warm and funny person, with incredible passion and knowledge of their field. As a research biologist working in the field of animal behaviour myself, I was extremely impressed by the breadth and depth of knowledge and insight the author demonstrates. In a popular science book which attempts to tackle the full gamut of social behaviour across the animal kingdom, while also synthesising this information to draw insights about what we as humans can learn from animal societies, one might reasonably expect for the subject matter to be either simplified to the point of inaccuracy or burdensome in its excessive factual completeness. Remarkably, the author manages to expertly tread this line, making the book incredibly informative, but also wonderfully entertaining and thought-provoking, as well as being very funny at opportune times. I especially appreciated the emphasis placed on animals which may not typically be considered charming or cute enough to receive significant interest from the general public, but nonetheless offer fascinating case-studies of animal sociality. The insights offered on how these animals reflect humanity are insightful and thought-provoking without being overbearing or obnoxious. Fellow scientists are often the harshest critics of any endeavour in popular science, and as such I approached this book with a degree of scepticism. Having just finished the book, I am thrilled to admit that I have nothing but praise for it! I learned much more than I expected, and enjoyed it immensely from beginning to end. A must-read!!!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Peggy4
  • 06-21-20

Fascinating

I really enjoyed this book. It is so interesting and lots to learn about even if you know quite a bit of biology or natural history. It is written in a most engaging way too, and read by the author which conveys his own fascination with the subject.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-03-20

Fascinating...

Thoroughly enjoyed this from beginning to end. Liberally strewn with first hand accounts and relevant research findings both past and present. Never overwhelms you with detail or fails to give you enough. A pleasant calming voice to listen to in addition. Who knew krill were so interesting....

3 people found this helpful

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  • Diwotti
  • 06-24-20

A gem of a natural history book

This is a wonderful natural history book. It makes you think more about our natural world, and our relationship with the animals that we share this planet with. It is also beautifully read by it's author. Recommended.

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  • sammyrina
  • 06-24-20

The wonderful world of Animals!

Wonderful insights and fascinating detail all delivered by the charismatic Ashley Ward. A top read for animal lovers!

2 people found this helpful

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  • TMS
  • 05-28-20

Beautiful, deep, and funny

I loved this book. It is a beautifully read and written examination of animal societies, ranging through denizens of the oceans, social insects, and land mammals, including our closest relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos. The author, Ashley Ward, balances humour, fact, and his personal experiences with animals with a wonderfully deft touch. The book has the quality of a David Attenborough documentary series, with slightly more swearing!