Book-In-Focus: Supernavigators: Exploring the Wonders of How Animals Find Their Way by David Barrie

" Describes in delightful detail the myriad ways in which animals get around. ”

The New York Times Book Review

This is the story

Publisher's note: Supernavigators was published in the UK under the title Incredible Journeys.

Animals plainly know where they’re going, but how they get there has remained surprisingly mysterious—until now.

In Supernavigators, award-winning author David Barrie catches us up on the cutting-edge science. Here are astounding animals of every stripe: Dung beetles that steer by the light of the Milky Way. Ants and bees that rely on patterns of light invisible to humans. Sea turtles and moths that find their way using Earth’s magnetic field. Humpback whales that swim thousands of miles while holding a rocksteady course. Birds that can locate their nests on a tiny island after crisscrossing an ocean.

The age of viewing animals as unthinking drones is over. As Supernavigators makes clear, a stunning array of species command senses and skills—and arguably, types of intelligence—beyond our own. Weaving together interviews with leading animal behaviorists and the groundbreaking discoveries of Nobel Prize–winning scientists, David Barrie reveals these wonders in a whole new light.

Reviews and What Readers Say

“ [Barrie] is passionate about navigation and describes in delightful detail the myriad ways in which animals get around. . . . The number of animals traveling long distance, from insects to sea turtles, and from eels to whales, is just astonishing, as are the many ways in which they find their way. . . . Whenever our smartphone lacks satellite service, we still need to tap into our natural navigational capacities even if they are no match for those of the supernavigators in this eye-opening book.”

The New York Times Book Review

“ In this exhilarating popular study, David Barrie reveals the roots of navigational prowess.”


“ Barrie tells astounding tales of how various animals navigate the world and the equally intriguing stories of the scientists who study them."


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David Barrie, a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation, has sailed all over the world and made many long passages. After serving in the British Diplomatic Service, Barrie worked in the arts and as a law-reform campaigner. His book Sextant was short-listed for the Mountbatten Literary Award and received the Royal Institute of Navigation’s Certificate of Achievement. The great-great-nephew of J. M. Barrie, he is married with two daughters.

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