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Credit: Tibor Nagy

Credit: Tibor Nagy

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To understand the limits of human senses, look to the wild world of animal cognition

While it might seem like your sensory experience is capturing the outside world as it truly is, science tells a very different story – that you’re taking in only a small, subjective slice. To better understand this truth, we can look to the creatures around us, including the ones you’re maybe keeping as companions. Working from ideas discussed in his book An Immense World: A Journey Through the Animal Kingdom’s Extraordinary Senses (2022), in this lecture at the Royal Institution in London, the Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Ed Yong guides viewers through the vast and eclectic sensory experiences of animals. Exploring the concept of umwelt – or ‘the sensory bubble that each species exists in’ – Yong takes the audience through everything from the smell and sight experience of dogs, to the electrically powered navigation abilities of the black ghost knifefish.

15 November 2022
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