Sounds of Life

Sounds of Life


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Gabi's Review


Princeton University Press presents Karen Bakkers story of deep listening, the bio-acoustic translation of natures languages and the compiling of animal language dictionaries, allowing us to understand the dialogue of the natural world.

A wonderful book for the nature lover and non fiction reader alike. Bio-acoustics has made profound advancements in recording technologies, and together with AI data processing this discipline brings humanity to brink of understanding the languages and communications of non-human life forms. From coral reefs, baby whale babblings, elephant conversations and bee waggle dance directional nectar maps, we are hearing other life forms profoundly for the first time.

Combining historical bio-acoustic beginnings with leading edge tech discoveries with an eye to future conservation the book is interesting on a number of levels and accessible to everyone 12 years and up. This is science writing at its best, simple interesting and widely accessible.


Publishers Reviews


An amazing journey into the hidden realm of nature’s sounds.

The natural world teems with remarkable conversations, many beyond human hearing range. Scientists are using groundbreaking digital technologies to uncover these astonishing sounds, revealing vibrant communication among our fellow creatures across the Tree of Life.

At once meditative and scientific, The Sounds of Life shares fascinating and surprising stories of nonhuman sound, interweaving insights from technological innovation and traditional knowledge. We meet scientists using sound to protect and regenerate endangered species from the Great Barrier Reef to the Arctic and the Amazon. We discover the shocking impacts of noise pollution on both animals and plants. We learn how artificial intelligence can decode nonhuman sounds, and meet the researchers building dictionaries in East African Elephant and Sperm Whalish. At the frontiers of innovation, we explore digitally mediated dialogues with bats and honeybees. Technology often distracts us from nature, but what if it could reconnect us instead?

The Sounds of Life offers hope for environmental conservation and affirms humanity’s relationship with nature in the digital age. After learning about the unsuspected wonders of nature’s sounds, we will never see walks outdoors in the same way again.