“A moth will never know what a zebra finch hears in its song, a zebra finch will never feel the electric buzz of a black ghost knifefish, a knifefish will never see through the eyes of a mantis shrimp, a mantis shrimp will never smell the way a dog can, and a dog will never understand what it is to be a bat. We will never fully do any of these things either, but we are the only animal that can try.”
Ed Yong, An Immense World
As humans, we experience the world around us from our own fixed perspectives. Have you ever considered what a human looks like to an elephant? Or how the world around you might sound if you were a bird?
The earth teems with sights and textures, sounds and vibrations, smells and tastes, electric and magnetic fields. But every kind of animal, including humans, is enclosed within its own unique sensory bubble, perceiving but a tiny sliver of our immense world. Funny, rigorous, and suffused with the joy of discovery, An Immense World takes us on what Marcel Proust called “the only true voyage . . . not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes.”
Ed Yong is a Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer on the staff of The Atlantic, where he also won the George Polk Award for science reporting, among other honors. His first book, I Contain Multitudes, was a New York Times bestseller and won numerous awards. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, National Geographic, Wired, The New York Times, Scientific American, and more.
“Equal parts science and poetry: Yong guides us through the magic of the animal kingdom in ways that have unlocked something inside of me I didn’t know was there. I’ll never look at our planet the same way again.”