The Zoologist's Guide to the Galaxy

The Zoologist's Guide to the Galaxy

What Animals on Earth Reveal about Aliens – and Ourselves


Brought to you by Penguin.

We are unprepared for the greatest discovery of modern science. Scientists are confident that there is alien life across the universe yet we have not moved beyond our perception of 'aliens' as Hollywood stereotypes. The time has come to abandon our fixation on alien monsters and place our expectations on solid scientific footing.

Using his own expert understanding of life on Earth and Darwin's theory of evolution - which applies throughout the universe - Cambridge zoologist Dr Arik Kershenbaum explains what alien life must be like.

Observing fishes whose electrical pulses indicate social status, we can see that conditions on other planets might allow for communication by electricity. As there was evolutionary pressure to wriggle along a sea floor, Earthling animals tend to have left/right symmetry; on planets where creatures evolved mid-air or in soupy tar - to be ready to move in any or multiple directions - they might be lacking any symmetry at all. Dr Kershenbaum uses cutting-edge science to paint an entertaining and compelling picture of extra-terrestrial life.

Moreover, as The Zoologist's Guide to the Galaxy is the story of communication, intelligence, cooperation and technology, on Earth and in space, we see how life really works - and what it means to be human.

© Arik Kershenbaum (P) Penguin Audio 2020


  • I love The Zoologist's Guide to the Galaxy by Arik Kershenbaum. Although it sets out to be (and is) about alien life, what emerges is a wonderfully insightful sidelong look at Earthly biology
    Richard Dawkins, via Twitter

About the author

Arik Kershenbaum

Intrepid zoologist Dr Arik Kershenbaum is the world-leading expert in animal vocal communication, and has roamed the wilds of Europe, North America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia for over a decade, working to decipher it. He is a college lecturer and fellow at Girton College, University of Cambridge, and has published more than thirty academic publications. His previous book, The Zoologist's Guide to the Galaxy, was a Times/Sunday Times Book of the Year and was published in eleven languages.
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