How Animals See Themselves

"In 1909, the biologist Jakob von Uexkll noted that every animal exists in its own unique perceptual world a smorgasbord of sights, smells, sounds and textures that it can sense but that other species might not. These stimuli defined what von Uexkll called the Umwelt an animals bespoke sliver of reality. A ticks Umwelt is limited to the touch of hair, the odor that emanates from skin and the heat of warm blood. A humans Umwelt is far wider but doesnt include the electric fields that sharks and platypuses are privy to, the infrared radiation that rattlesnakes and vampire bats track or the ultraviolet light that most sighted animals can see. The Umwelt concept is one of the most profound and beautiful in biology. It tells us that the all-encompassing nature of our subjective experience is an illusion, and that we sense just a fraction of what there is to sense."

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