The Zoologist’s Guide to the Galaxy: What Animals on Earth Reveal About Aliens—and Ourselves

Arik Kershenbaum. Penguin Press, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-1-984881-96-0
“That life exists elsewhere in the universe seems almost inevitable,” writes University of Cambridge zoologist Kershenbaum in his entertaining debut. To learn “a great deal about what aliens must be like, how they live, and how they behave,” he writes, humans only need to look closer at animals on Earth. The author discusses ways animals behave in response to their environment: “Most forms serve a function: birds are colourful to attract mates; elephants’ trunks are for manipulating food,” and concludes that there will be as great a diversity in forms on other planets as there is on Earth. By looking at different methods of animal communication, he explores the senses through which aliens could communicate: smell is unlikely and inconvenient, he writes, unless they’re very small, and extraterrestrial life will likely evolve to have vocal abilities, too. Rather than offer a fantastic version of extraterrestrial life, he gives readers something logical to consider, and in so doing provides insight on animals and humans as he explores how life, communication, and movement have evolved. This quirky study of biology is sure to please readers looking to learn about life on other planets, or even here on Earth. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/21/2020
Release date: 03/16/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-9848-8197-7
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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