The Superorganism Summary and Reviews

The Superorganism

The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies

by Bert Holldobler & Edward O Wilson

The Superorganism by Bert Holldobler & Edward O Wilson

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Book Summary

The Superorganism promises to be one of the most important scientific works published in this decade. Coming eighteen years after the publication of The Ants, this new volume expands our knowledge of the social insects (among them, ants, bees, wasps, and termites) and is based on remarkable research conducted mostly within the last two decades. These superorganisms—a tightly knit colony of individuals, formed by altruistic cooperation, complex communication, and division of labor—represent one of the basic stages of biological organization, midway between the organism and the entire species.

The study of the superorganism, as the authors demonstrate, has led to important advances in our understanding of how the transitions between such levels have occurred in evolution and how life as a whole has progressed from simple to complex forms. Ultimately, this book provides a deep look into a part of the living world hitherto glimpsed by only a very few. 110 color and 100 black-and-white illustrations.

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Media Reviews

"Starred Review. While the superorganism concept is not new, it has never been stated explicitly or explored on such a grand scale. Recommended for high school, academic, and public libraries and interested lay readers." - Library Journal.

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Author Information

Bert Holldobler & Edward O Wilson Author Biography

One of the world's most distinguished scientists, E.O. Wilson is a professor and honorary curator in entomology at Harvard. In 1975, he published Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, a work that described social behavior, from ants to humans.

Drawing from his deep knowledge of the Earth's "little creatures" and his sense that their contribution to the planet's ecology is underappreciated, he produced what may be his most important book, The Diversity of Life. In it he describes how an intricately interconnected natural system is threatened by man's encroachment, in a crisis he calls the "sixth extinction" (the fifth one wiped out the dinosaurs).

With his most recent book, The Creation, he wants to put the differences of science and faith aside. A recent documentary called Behold the Earth ...

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