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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

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The art of flying (short version)

2 minutes

One of the most wondrous markers of the end of the day is a murmuration of starlings

The flight of a starling flock at dusk, know as a murmuration, is one of nature’s most beguiling sights. Blurring the line between the individual and the group, murmurations involve synchronised swooping patterns to ward off predators and exchange information in a manner that’s still something of a mystery to scientists. This two-minute excerpt from the Dutch filmmaker Jan van Ijken’s short documentary The Art of Flying follows a spectacular aerial performance from a massive, shape-shifting starling flock over an open field in the Netherlands.

Director: Jan van Ijken

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/Biology
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Essay/Earth Science
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The Earth is not a solid mass of rock: its hot, dark, fractured subsurface is home to weird and wonderful life forms

Gaetan Borgonie & Maggie Lau