201 | Ed Yong on How Animals Sense the World

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All of us construct models of the world, and update them on the basis of evidence brought to us by our senses. Scientists try to be more rigorous about it, but we all do it. It’s natural that this process will depend on what form that sensory input takes. We know that animals, for example, are typically better or worse than humans at sight, hearing, and so on. And as Ed Yong points out in his new book, it goes far beyond that, as many animals use completely different sensory modalities, from echolocation to direct sensing of electric fields. We talk about what those different capabilities might mean for the animal’s-eye (and -ear, etc.) view of the world.

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Ed Yong received Masters and Bachelors degrees in zoology from Cambridge University, and an M.Phil. in biochemistry from University College London. He is currently a staff writer for The Atlantic. His work has appeared in National Geographic, the New Yorker, Wired, the New York Times, and elsewhere. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in explanatory journalism for his coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among his other awards are the George Polk award for science reporting and the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award for in-depth reporting. His new book is An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us.

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