The Social Lives of Animals By Ashley Ward
From Book Reviews/Interviews

Author: Ashley Ward

Interviewed by Marc Bekoff, Psychology Today/Animal Emotions

Publisher: Basic Books (March 1, 2022)

Ashley Ward
The Social Lives of Animals
Available at

Interview with Marc Bekoff, Psychology Today/Animal Emotions

Cooperation in Animals: From Ants to Rats to Clusterflocks

A new book is a delightful and informative read about "all things animals."

  • The book aims to communicate Wardís enthusiasm for the science of animal behavior to a wide audience.
  • As more people live in urban environments, a separation between humans and the natural world can occur.

Given my keen interest in the social behavior of nonhuman animals (animals), especially the importance of cooperation and empathy in how they build societies rather than competitive and divisive interactions, I was immediately attracted to a new book by University of Sydney professor Ashley Ward called The Social Lives of Animals. When I read it, I wasn't let down and learned quite a bit about animals with whom I wasn't all that familiar.

Here's what Ashley had to say about his fascinating and easy-to-read tour through the animal kingdom.

Marc Bekoff: Why did you write The Social Lives of Animals?

AW: The book marries my passion for writing with my fascination for animals. The process of writing The Social Lives of Animals was an absolute joy, but my broader aim was to try and communicate my enthusiasm for the science of animal behaviour to a wide audience. Part of the process of my research at the University of Sydney is to produce academic papers that detail new scientific advances in the field. However, these papers are tailored to a relatively small audience of other researchers in my discipline. Consequently, so many fascinating discoveries fail to reach the publicís notice because we scientists often donít do a good enough job of publicising our findings, despite their inherently fascinating nature. I wanted to address this in my book, to engage with a wide range of readers, to share the wonderful things that are going on in the study of animal behaviour, and, hopefully, to make them as excited as I am about the subject.


About the Author:

Ashley Ward is a professor and director of the Animal Behavior Lab at the University of Sydney, where he researches social behavior, learning, and communication across the animal kingdom. His work has been published in top journals including PNAS, Biological Reviews, and Current Biology. He lives in Sydney.

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