Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration

Overview

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Richly illustrated and delightfully written, Journey to the Ants combines autobiography and scientific lore to convey the excitement and pleasure the study of ants can offer. Bert Hölldobler and E. O. Wilson interweave their personal adventures with the social lives of ants, building, from the first minute observations of childhood, a ...

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Overview

View a collection of videos on Professor Wilson entitled "On the Relation of Science and the Humanities"

Richly illustrated and delightfully written, Journey to the Ants combines autobiography and scientific lore to convey the excitement and pleasure the study of ants can offer. Bert Hölldobler and E. O. Wilson interweave their personal adventures with the social lives of ants, building, from the first minute observations of childhood, a remarkable account of these abundant insects' evolutionary achievement.

Wilson's The Ants won a Pulitzer Prize. Now, the authors present a richly illustrated book that combines their own personal stories with scientific lore to convey the excitement and pleasure of studying ants.

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Editorial Reviews

Scientific American

Beautifully written and illustrated...These fifteen chapters are a bustling but well-organized ant heap, full of wonders natural and intellectual.
— Philip Morrison

Times Higher Education Supplement

Everyone should read Journey to the Ants; it is a book to read right through; I have done so twice so far. It brings back the joy of science and restores the sense of wonder, it is truly food for thought. For me it is a beloved book that will stay at my bedside.
— James E. Lovelock

American Scientist

Hölldobler and Wilson have carefully distilled more than 80 years of their combined personal research and thorough knowledge of the literature to produce a book that is both packed with ideas and information and a joy to read. The authors subtitled their book 'A Story of Scientific Exploration' and, like all good stories, it has a logical progression and sensible themes and is hard to put down.
— C. Ronald Carroll

Scientific American - Philip Morrison
Beautifully written and illustrated...These fifteen chapters are a bustling but well-organized ant heap, full of wonders natural and intellectual.
Times Higher Education Supplement - James E. Lovelock
Everyone should read Journey to the Ants; it is a book to read right through; I have done so twice so far. It brings back the joy of science and restores the sense of wonder, it is truly food for thought. For me it is a beloved book that will stay at my bedside.
American Scientist - C. Ronald Carroll
Hölldobler and Wilson have carefully distilled more than 80 years of their combined personal research and thorough knowledge of the literature to produce a book that is both packed with ideas and information and a joy to read. The authors subtitled their book 'A Story of Scientific Exploration' and, like all good stories, it has a logical progression and sensible themes and is hard to put down.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1990, the authors won a Pulitzer Prize (science) for their monumental The Ants. Hlldobler (Univ. of Wrzburg) and Wilson (Harvard), longtime collaborators, offer lay readers a fascinating glimpse into the world of ants as well as their own personal adventures in the study of these insects. We see weaver ants that live in tropical forest canopies, their nests made of leaves bound with silk. A colony of leafcutter ants raising fungi on pieces of fresh leaves consumes as much vegetation as a cow. Harvester ants alter the abundance and local distribution of flowering plants. The authors describe cooperation and communication; they found that ant species use 10 to 20 chemicals to convey attraction, alarm and other messages. They discuss ants' relations with butterflies, aphids and mealybugs (symbiosis), warfare (over food and territory) and exploitation. We learn that ants do not live at temperatures below 50F. and that the greatest threat to them is drought. After reading Journey, we can only admire these insects and their remarkable social organization. Illustrations. (Oct.)
Library Journal
This intriguing account of inquiry into the realm of ants is written by two giants in the arena of ant research whose own studies have helped mold our views of ant communication and social structure. Authors of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Ants (Belknap Pr: Harvard Univ. Pr., 1990), Hlldobler and Wilson present ants and those who study them in a skillful blend of natural lore, autobiography, and history. It's all here: their earliest encounters with ants; the excitement of scientific pursuit; the chance discovery, by a couple in New Jersey, of Sphecomyrma, the fossil form linking ants and wasps; the race to rediscover the long-lost Nothomyrmecia, the most primitive living ant; the intricacy of ant societies and their regulation by complex chemical and tactile communication; and army ants, weaver ants, snapping ants, and slave-making ants. For millions of years ant activities have guided the evolution of other living things, and they remain an omnipresent force. For all natural history collections. [See also Wilson's Naturalist, reviewed on p. 192, and the profile of Wilson on p. 210.-Ed.]-Annette Aiello, Smithsonian Tropical Research Inst., Panama
James E. Lovelock
Everyone should read Journey to the Ants…It brings back the joy of science and restores the sense of wonder, it is truly food for thought. For me it is a beloved book that will stay at my bedside.
Times Higher Education Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674485266
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 737,379
  • Product dimensions: 7.96 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Bert Hölldobler is now Foundation Professor of Biology at Arizona State University; formerly Chair of Behavioral Physiology and Sociology at the Theodor Boveri Institute, University of Würzburg. He is also the recipient of the U.S. Senior Scientist Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German government. Until 1990, he was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology at Harvard University.

Edward O. Wilson is Pellegrino University Professor, Emeritus, at Harvard University. In addition to two Pulitzer Prizes (one of which he shares with Bert Hölldobler), Wilson has won many scientific awards, including the National Medal of Science and the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

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Table of Contents

Preface

1. The Dominance of Ants

2. For the Love of Ants

3. The Life and Death of the Colony

4. How Ants Communicate

5. War and Foreign Policy

6. The Ur-Ants

7. Conflict and Dominance

8. The Origin of Cooperation

9. The Superorganism

10. Social Parasites: Breaking the Code

11. The Trophobionts

12. Army Ants

13. The Strangest Ants

14. How Ants Control Their Environment

Epilogue: Who Will Survive?

How to Study Ants

Acknowledgments

Index

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2001

    This Book was Very Facinating

    Before I read this book, I thought ants were pretty ordinary, uninteresting insects. They seemed to be the 'generic insect'. When I recieved this book as a christmas present, I thought 'hey, they're ants, what else is there to know?'. Well, i was quite wrong. This book clearly described every fascinating aspect of the society of the ants. After I finished this book, I gained an abundance of knowledge and a different point of view.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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