A rat will go out of its way to help a stranger in need. Lions have adopted the calves of their prey. Ants farm fungus in cooperatives. Why do we continue to believe that life in the animal kingdom is ruled by competition? 
In The Social Lives of Animals, biologist Ashley Ward takes us on a wild tour across the globe as he searches for a more accurate picture of how animals build societies. Ward drops in on a termite mating ritual (while his guides snack on the subjects), visits freelance baboon goatherds, and swims with a mixed family of whales and dolphins. Along the way, Ward shows that the social impulses we’ve long thought separated humans from other animals might actually be our strongest connection to them.  

Insightful, engaging, and often hilarious, The Social Lives of Animals demonstrates that you can learn more about animals by studying how they work together than by how they compete.  

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Reader Reviews


“The Social Lives of Animals offers a great antidote to the dog-eat-dog view of nature that we grew up with. Ashley Ward takes the reader on a personal journey of discovery to make clear that animals often depend on cooperation for survival.”
 —Frans de Waal, author of Mama’s Last Hug
"On the face of it, Ashley Ward’s book is a lighthearted tour of animal social lives, a compendium of surprising revelations about a wide assortment of creatures, from krill to pinyon jays to sperm whales. Who knew, for instance, that keeping tabs on relationships is so vital to a sheep that it can recognize the faces of at least 50 members of its flock, or that a cockroach raised in isolation will never form normal bonds with others of its kind, and will remain forever at the margins of cockroach society? (Who knew, for that matter, that there even is such a thing as cockroach society?) A big part of the book’s appeal is just the strangeness and sophistication of this world of animal interactions, a nexus of cooperation and conflict that is all around us and yet mostly remains hidden from our view. Ward’s stories compel us to see social animals, not just as marvels, but as kindred spirits. He wants us to empathize with them as fellow navigators of the unpredictable landscape of relationships. And, with a light hand, he succeeds."—Alan de Queiroz, author of The Monkey's Voyage
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