The Well-Connected Animal: Social Networks and the Wondrous Complexity of Animal Societies (Hardcover)

The Well-Connected Animal: Social Networks and the Wondrous Complexity of Animal Societies By Lee Alan Dugatkin Cover Image
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An engaging exploration of the wondrous social webs that permeate life in animal societies around the world.
It’s all about who you know. Whether vampire bats sharing blood meals for survival, field crickets remembering champion fighters, macaque monkeys forming grooming pacts after a deadly hurricane, or great tit birds learning the best way to steal milk—it pays to be well connected.

In this tour of the animal kingdom, evolutionary biologist Lee Alan Dugatkin reveals a new field of study, uncovering social networks that existed long before the dawn of human social media. He accessibly describes the latest findings from animal behavior, evolution, computer science, psychology, anthropology, genetics, and neurobiology, and incorporates interviews and insights from researchers he finds swimming with manta rays, avoiding pigeon poop, and stopping monkeys from stealing iPads. With Dugatkin as our guide, we investigate social networks in giraffes, elephants, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, whales, bats, and more. From animal networks in Australia and Asia to Africa, Europe, and the Americas, The Well-Connected Animal is an eye-opening exposé of wild friends, enemies, and everything in between.

About the Author

Lee Alan Dugatkin is an animal behaviorist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science in the Department of Biology at the University of Louisville. He is the author of more than one hundred and fifty papers and the author or coauthor of many books, including The Altruism Equation: Seven Scientists Search for the Origins of Goodness.

Praise For…

"This fascinating, easy-to-read work describes the how, what, and why of animal behavior, much of which is remarkably similar to humans. A must-purchase, this book presents what is easily the most intriguing, thorough explanation of animal behavior ever produced."
— Library Journal (starred review)

"An engaging exploration of the interconnectedness of the animal world. Our belief in human exceptionalism has long included the dogma that we are the only animals that create complex social networks—but we are wrong. In this compelling book, evolutionary biologist Dugatkin notes that while the study of complex non-human social networks is a fairly young discipline, new research is occurring at a rapid pace. . . . This book makes a fitting companion to Ed Yong’s An Immense World. An entertaining tour of what we learn as we eavesdrop on the non-human conversations all around us."
— Kirkus Reviews

"The Well-Connected Animal by Dugatkin studies how animals share information and resources through socializing, including how great tit birds learn to break into milk bottles and how vampire bats split meals."
— Publishers Weekly, Spring 2024 Adult Preview: Science

“Our understanding of animal societies expands at an ever-accelerating rate. In The Well-Connected Animal, evolutionary biologist Dugatkin demonstrates that whatever creature you are—from a giraffe to a Tasmanian devil—life is all about who you know.”
— Simon Ings

“One of the most talented biologists of our time lends fascinating insight into the most important part of our existence. By exploring the origins of our social connections, Dugatkin uncovers a world of cooperation, communication, and bonding in the animal kingdom that ultimately leads to ours. A beautifully written adventure into the secrets of the natural world.”
— Brian Hare, coauthor of "The Genius of Dogs"

“For many years, Dugatkin has been one of my 'go-to-guys' for learning about cutting edge research in animal behavior. The Well-Connected Animal is yet another one of his extremely thoughtful books, this time outlining what we know about social networks in diverse species, how the research is conducted, and where future studies should best focus. I’m sure many will be pleasantly surprised by the flexible, intricate, and varied social networks that many nonhumans form and use in their daily lives.”
— Marc Bekoff, author of "Dogs Demystified" and "The Emotional Lives of Animals"

“Long before the invention of Facebook and Twitter, animals discovered the value and peril of social networking. With engaging prose and sweeping scope, The Well-Connected Animal explores the intricate interactions that characterize animal societies and the equally compelling story of the scientists who study them.”
— Jonathan B. Losos, author of "The Cat’s Meow" and "Improbable Destinies"

“Scrupulously scientific but highly accessible. . . . A stunningly provocative reflection.”
— David P. Barash

“Sparkling. . . . A parable of the lessons that can emerge from unfettered science, if we have the courage to let it unfold.”
— Marlene Zuk

Product Details
ISBN: 9780226818788
ISBN-10: 0226818780
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: May 15th, 2024
Pages: 264
Language: English