An Immense World by Ed Yong

September 1, 2023 (by Leah)

This book is jam packed with interesting facts about the animals around us. Each species has its own Umwelt, a German word meaning environment that is used to describe a specific part of their perceptual world. Each animal adapts to its unique umwelt based on its specific needs around survival - eating/hunting, protection, mating, communication etc. We often think other animals perceive the world as we do and this book illuminates how wrong this assumption can be. The author writes in an engaging manner with each chapter dedicated to a different sense (some of which humans don’t even have!). I found the information fascinating but don’t be expecting a page turner - this book is meant to be pondered, reread and pondered some more. It’s for anyone who enjoys factual information and is curious about the world around them.

Did you know the snout on the star nosed mole is so efficient (the largest part of its brain is dedicated to its sensory capabilities) that it can sort through objects to determine which are food as quickly as we blink an eye? Or that sea otters have more hairs in 1 square centimeter than humans have on their whole head?