Becoming Wild

Becoming Wild

In this superbly articulate cri de coeur, Safina gives us a new way of looking at the natural world that is radically different.--The Washington Post

New York Times bestselling author Carl Safina brings readers close to three non-human cultures--what they do, why they do it, and how life is for them.

Some people insist that culture is strictly a human accomplishment. What are those people afraid of? This book looks into three cultures of other-than-human beings in some of Earth's remaining wild places. It shows how if you're a sperm whale, a scarlet macaw, or a chimpanzee, you too experience your life with the understanding that you are an individual within a particular community. You too are not who you are by genes alone; your culture is a second form of inheritance, received from thousands of individuals as pools of knowledge passing through generations like an eternal torch. You too may raise young, know beauty, or struggle to negotiate a peace. And your culture, too, changes and evolves. As situations shift, so does your community's capacity for learning, especially social learning, which allows behaviors to adjust much faster than genes alone could adapt.

Becoming Wild brings readers close to the lives of non-human animals to show how other creatures teach and learn. With reporting from deep in nature, alongside portraits of various animals in their free-living communities, Safina offers a fresh understanding of what is constantly going on beyond humanity. Readers are taken behind the curtain of life on Earth and asked to reckon with the most urgent of questions: Who are we here with?

Publication Date: 
April 14, 2020