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Aesop’s Animals: The Science Behind the Fables/Virtual Author Event with Jo Wimpenny

Friday November 5 2021 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Join us for a virtual conversation with Jo Wimpenny, author of Aesop’s Animals: The Science Behind the Fables.

Despite being conceived over two and a half thousand years ago, Aesop’s Fables are still passed from parent to child today, and are embedded in our collective consciousness. The morals we learnt from these tales still inform our judgements, but have they influenced our views of the animal protagonists as well? And if so, is there any truth behind the stereotypes? Are wolves deceptive villains? Are crows insightful geniuses? And could a tortoise really beat a hare in a race?

In Aesop’s Animals, zoologist Jo Wimpenny turns a critical eye to the fables and asks whether there is any scientific truth to Aesop’s portrayal of his animals. She brings the tales into the twenty-first century, introducing the latest scientific research on some of the most fascinating topics in animal behavior. Each chapter focuses on a different fable and a different topic, including future planning, tool use, self-recognition, cooperation and deception. At the end of each chapter, the author pulls together the evidence to assess whether Aesop’s portrayal of the animals is based in fact or fiction, suggesting alternative characters where the science falls short.

Through interviews with leading behavioral ecologists and researchers, this book brings these famous tales back to life. Aesop’s Animals builds on our fascination with animal behavior, revealing cutting-edge research findings about animal abilities, as well as enabling the reader to explore and challenge their own preconceived notions about the animal kingdom.

Jo Wimpenny is a zoologist and writer, with a research background in animal behavior and the history of science. She studied Zoology at the University of Bristol and went on to research crow problem-solving for her DPhil at Oxford University. After three years of postdoctoral research on the history of ornithology at Sheffield, she co-authored the book Ten Thousand Birds: Ornithology Since Darwin with Tim Birkhead and Bob Montgomerie, which went onto win the 2015 PROSE award for History of Science, Medicine and Technology.

Jo writes for BBC Wildlife and has previously presented at the BA Festival of Science, Science Oxford, the Royal Society Summer Science Fair and Glasgow Science Fair. @JoWimpenny

Please register and a Zoom link will be sent out before the event.


Friday November 5 2021
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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AFPL Adult Programs
860-673-9712 ext 4
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Avon, CT 06001
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