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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.

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Shell swap

5 minutes

Why are Caribbean hermit crabs lining up on a beach? For housing, of course

For most people, the words ‘hermit crab’ likely bring to mind shy, near-motionless crustaceans sitting in a cage in the corner of someone’s bedroom. In their natural habitats, however, hermit crabs are clever, highly social creatures capable of living more than 20 years. This excerpt from the award-winning BBC One nature documentary series Life follows a group of hermit crabs on a small Caribbean island off the coast of Belize. Faced with either finding new shells or baking to death under the intense heat of the sun, the group takes part in a mutually beneficial, oceanside housing swap that truly needs to be seen to be believed.

Director: John Brown

Producer: Ian Gray, Michael Gunton

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
The minds of plants

From the memories of flowers to the sociability of trees, the cognitive capacities of our vegetal cousins are all around us

Laura Ruggles

Essay/Earth Science
Life goes deeper

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