Auto Ads by Adsense

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Review: An Immense World

 An Immense World is Ed Yong's book about various senses in the animal kingdom. It's a surprisingly long book, covering how various animals see, smell, and feel very differently than we do. I read a short passage in it aloud to Boen about how a particular wasp could sting a cockroach in two places, one in its body, and one in its brain, in order to turn the cockroach into a zombie. Boen responded hugely positively to this and went around telling his friends about it.

The book is at its best when it covers senses that humans can't possibly have, such as echolocation (the book does describe a blind person who developed echolocation as a child), remote touch via electric field, sonar, and magnetic field detection senses. The book thoroughly describes how scientists involve prove the existence of those senses by manipulating them, and also explains why magnetic field detection is so hard to work with --- the earth's magnetic field is so weak that even hypothesizing how an animal could detect it is hard!

I enjoyed the book and thought it was worth reading, not just for the part about senses, but also some of the ancillary details about how marine mammals evolved and came to be so big. Recommended.

No comments: