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Supernavigators: Exploring the Wonders of How Animals Find Their Way

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  162 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Publisher's note: Supernavigators was published in the UK under the title Incredible Journeys.

Animals plainly know where they’re going, but how they get there has remained surprisingly mysterious—until now.

In Supernavigators, award-winning author David Barrie catches us up on the cutting-edge science. Here are astounding animals of every stripe: Dung beetles that steer by
Audio CD
Published May 28th 2019 by HighBridge Audio
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Andreia ❤The Butterfly Lover❤
"Humans do NOT belong to a different order of being. We are animals too and are the product of the same evolutionary processes that have given rise to bacteria, jellyfish, centipedes, lobsters, birds and elephants. What sets us apart is that we are in a position to influence the fate of every other creature on the Planet and we have some choice in the matter."

Engaging, fascinating, smart and especially written for lovers of Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths), Honeybees, Birds (especially
Mrs. Europaea
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In his new release, Supernavigators, Barrie asks a tough question: How do animal and humans find their way around?

To answer this, Barrie looks at different animal species such as butterflies, bees, fish, birds, ants, and beetles, and discusses in detail the complex ways each approach navigational challenges. Be it long-range migration, or a red ant's attack on a black ant hole a few yards away, observation and memory appear to be just as important in the animal world as it is to humans.

Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
There are few non-human animal mental feats harder for us to comprehend than navigation. And so, there are few better ways to contemplate how little we know of how other species experience the world than through reading about navigational feats of pigeons, dung beetles and salmon. Barrie brings plenty of wonder to this broad survey of animal navigation.
This is one of three books dealing with navigation released in as many months - with the others being Wayfinding: The Science and Mystery of How
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Barrie has compiled an interesting and accessible survey of the studies done to elucidate the variety of techniques (and combinations thereof) used by organisms (everything from dung beetles, fish and birds, to humans and whales) to find their way about - both short range navigation and longer migrational navigation. The chapter dealing with the effects of the built environment on other creatures, as well as the use of our new navigation technology is especially interesting. The chapters ...more
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was around a 3.5 for me. While the information was well researched and interesting, parts of it felt repetitive. I would have enjoyed more information on various mammals, rather than most of the focus on birds, reptiles, insects and fish (although I understand the focus, as that is the author's areas of interest). The author makes two powerful points at the end: if we don't use our navigational skills and stop paying attention solely to GPS, we will lose that skill; and we are affecting the ...more
Book Gannet
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book offers a fascinating glimpse into the methods and theories behind different ways of natural navigation. If you've ever wondered how racing pigeons find their way home - and doubt the magnetic field theory in favour of something more outlandish such as scent or sound - then this book is full of intriguing gems and is perfect for dipping in and out of.

If you have a particular love for lepidoptera, then you'll be delighted to find not just monarch butterflies here, but painted ladies
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
While listening to this book I would have rated it 3/5 but the last chapter bumped it to a 4/5. The last chapter is a must read for all. If we don't change our anthropomorphic approach to the world, we will have nothing to leave for our children. The author covers the navigational skills of a range of animals including humans. Many of the studies are boring but their implications are fascinating. Read just the last chapter if that's all the time you have.
Barbara Baer
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
I found it disappointing overall. I was so excited for this book after hearing the speaker interviewed (and taking call in questions too) on NPR. But the book probably spent 2/3 of its pages on insects. The majority of the remainder was on birds. Now I understand that those bugs and birds are the "supernavigators", but honestly, at some point it got incredibly boring to hear about ants again. How about how do dogs find their way home from being lost hundreds of miles away? How do wolves and ...more
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a book about how animals find their way home
A fascinating read about how animals are able to find their way utilizing a variety of means. Whether by smelling their way home, reading the magnetic field of the earth, reading visual landmarks or hearing their way.
Bella Jones
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredible Journeys is a book about how animals navigate. They’re not armed with map apps or a GPS and yet they make regular (sometimes intercontinental) journeys and have always known where they are going. So how on earth do they do it? David Barrie tells us all about it, in an enchantingly captivating way. The book opens with a preface which asks the reader to imagine arriving in a strange city and to notice how much we would need to rely on signage and maps to find our way around. This ...more
Mel Foster
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Really enjoyed this book about 95% of the time. Careful, thoughtful, good writing. This is more than just a book about animal navigation. It touches on sociology, linguistics, psychology, and many other fields. I enjoyed the bite-sized chapters.
I found several paragraphs in his "Conclusions" bizarre, and better labeled "pontifications." Barrie sees it as inevitably necessary to accept the ideas that 1. Humans are at best an average animal and hold no special place in the world; 2. Christianity
Oct 12, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, biology, behavior
The animal instinct for migration

Animals make use of a range of navigational cues, including the sun, earth's magnetic field, olfaction and vision. Birds such as the Arctic tern, insects such as the monarch butterfly and fish such as the salmon regularly migrate thousands of miles to and from their breeding grounds. Monarch butterfly employs an internal clock, calendar, compass, and map to commence and measure the two-thousand-mile annual journey to Mexico with a very tiny brain. The homing
If you like learning about the natural world, or are a trivia junkie, add Supernavigators to your book pile, as it’s well-paced and jammed with facts about a diverse set of biota. Here’s but a tiny sample of the delicious info I’ve read so far: Dung beetles use the Milky Way to find their way around; box jellyfish lack a brain but have 24 eyes, including two which always point upwards; and the first GPS-tracked bird migration studies (in 1989) followed albatrosses as they covered thousands of ...more
Nov 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m not sure I passed the threshold of having “read” this book, reaching around the 50% mark. It was fine, but quite unremarkable. There are so many non-fiction books for the lay reader on advanced topics which are masterfully written, that this pales due to its mediocrity. I really was interested in the concepts, but it just didn’t work. I wonder if, instead of the very brief animal-based chapters, the book would have been better served by longer, topic-focussed chapters, such as olfactory, ...more
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reject
The audio version of this book is s o o s l o w, that it is painful. Unfortunately, the speaking pattern is such that speeding it up makes it unintelligible. Additionally, even though there are some interesting tidbits, the writing is uneven and unorganized with a strange mixture of scientific terms and "dumbing it down for the populace" approach. It's good bad, as the author seems knowledgable in this interesting topic.
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Filled with interesting information based on decades of scientific research, this book demonstrates the importance of allowing nature to remain unharmed by chemicals or human interference, if only to also allow for human survival. Fascinating mechanisms work together to help us all navigate. It’s clear that humans are the worst out of all the species at navigating. Sadly.
Neil Gregory
Scientific tales of migration fill this book. It can be hard reading and you’ll need a thinking head on whilst you read. Chapters though are short and it can be read in bitesized bits. It’s a wealth of detail, knowledge and is strongly researched. A good informative read for anyone with their eyes open to the outside world.
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very solid read on how and why animals - including humans - find their way. Well written, very accessible. Finding it cool that I've now read enough in this area that when he mentions certain studies or scientists I recognise them and have a richer background of understanding.
Kamalakkannan  Durairaju
Pigeons, GPS, Rats, Alaska, Concorde Jet, Milky way, Polar stars, Neural pathways, The ones who believed that they can discover how things navigate.
There were seafarers who knew how to navigate their ships, their weight on water.
A fascinating read.
Dec 03, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF on the audiobook. I can’t believe a professional listened to this and thought it was good enough to charge people money for. It’s really that bad.
However the top is really interesting so I’ll probably revisit it in print form.
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much info! I loved it but almost felt overwhelmed, because the trivia nerd in me wanted to remember ever single fact. Definitely going to wean off GPS and see what happens.
Nov 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I really enjoyed this book. Chock full of facts about navigation, animals, people,ships etc. I learned lots of interesting things!
May 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting book about the mysteries of animal navigation, but also a rather disturbing look at a lot of research that harms animals to try and figure out how they work.
interesting book about how we and other creatures get our sense of direction. Gets a bit too much into the nuts and bolts of research sometimes but there's lots of good stuff here.
Craig Fiebig
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book. Loved learning about the manner in which critters find their way around.
Cynthia Argentine
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
How do animals find their way? While searching for answers to this question, Barrie takes readers to deserts in Tunisia, forests in Mexico, fjords in Greenland, mountains in Australia, and many points in between. We investigate the voyages of dozens of creatures—from sea turtles and fish, to butterflies and ants, to slime molds and plankton.

Fascinating in its scientific detail, Supernavigators shines light on the importance of navigational ability to all animals. Survival often depends on the
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good information, didn’t enjoy the writing particularly.
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Goodreads Librari...: The Wrong David Barrie 3 13 May 01, 2019 10:30PM  

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I've been fascinated by the astonishing things that animals can do ever since I was a small boy.

For the last three years I’ve been hard at work researching and writing my latest book - SUPERNAVIGATORS. I've traveled around the world to interview the top scientists and even observed some cutting-edge experiments in progress.

SUPERNAVIGATORS is an exploration of the wonders of animal navigation, and