Animal Architects

Elisabeth Herschbach reviews Animal Architects: Building and the Evolution of Intelligence by James L. Gould, in Metapsychology Online Reviews:

Termite_moundTermites — tiny, blind creatures less than 1/10th of an inch in size– build towering 20-foot-high structures equipped with wells and waste dumps, gardens and nurseries, and even complicated systems of air ducts and ventilation shafts for climate control. Hummingbirds fashion hammock nests from bits of bark, lichen, and downy moss woven together with spiderweb silk. Beavers, those master engineers of the rodent world, construct underwater lodges and ingeniously designed dams and canals to control the water flow of the rivers, streams, and lakes where they reside. And countless other species of animals produce webs, hives, cocoons, burrows, lairs, nests, and even tools that, especially given the size and nature of the builders, are marvels of construction and design. (Consider, for example, that on a human scale, the 20-foot tower of a termite would be the equivalent of nearly three miles high, far surpassing our tallest skyscraper.)

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