The Internet of Animals
Discovering the Collective Intelligence of Life on Earth
- ISBN: 9781771649599
- Tags: All Books, Animals, Keith Gaddis, Martin Wikelski, Nature & Environment, Science, Technology,
- Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
- Published On: 5/14/2024
- 272 Pages
An illuminating account of animal migration and the stunning new science that reveals the source of their infinite, untapped knowledge.
What do animals know that we don’t? Why do rats flee before an earthquake and birds before a hurricane? In The Internet of Animals, renowned scientist Martin Wikelski convincingly argues that animals possess a unique “sixth sense” that humans are only beginning to grasp …
All we need to do is give animals a voice and our perception of the world could change forever. That’s what author Martin Wikelski and his team of scientists believe and this book shares their story for the first time. As they tag animals around the world with miniscule tracking devices, they link their movements to a space station that taps into the ‘internet of animals’: an astonishing network of information made up of thousands of animals communicating with each other and their environments. Called the International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space, or ICARUS, this phenomenal project is poised to change our world.
Down on the ground, Wikelski describes animals’ sixth sense first-hand. On Africa’s Serengeti plains, he watches columns of migrating wildebeests and zebras stretching 50 miles long, with each animal knowing the quality of grass consumed at the front of the line—even those straggling behind. In South America, Flamingoes head south just when they sense the weather changing thousands of miles away in the Andes. And in Angola, a flock of cuckoos meet only to separate—one going to the UK, one to Western Russia, and the other to Mongola—based on unique information about each destination.
As Wikelski shares his deep love of animals and what they can tell us, he describes each group’s unique culture. Yes, animals have culture, just like humans. Their migratory rhythms are not triggered by genes encoded in their DNA but by elaborate cultures that are long established. What does this mean for us? It means that, by paying attention to animal cultures, we can learn more about our environments. We can better prepare for natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes. Most of all, we can learn to live alongside animals in harmony for the betterment of our future, their future, and the future of the planet.
Martin Wikelski is the director of the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and honorary professor of ornithology at the University of Konstanz. Previously, he was a research fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, assistant professor at the University of Illinois and associate professor at Princeton.
Keith Gaddis is the program manager for NASA’s Biological Diversity and Ecological Forecasting programs. An ecologist and biogeographer by training, he is a vocal advocate for the use of science in public decision-making.