Animal fables

On Demand (IF 2022)

1 hr 13 minPWYD

Talk | Biology, Environment & Nature, Literature & Poetry, Science, Science & Nature

Animal fables

Are wolves deceptive villains? Are crows insightful geniuses? And could a tortoise really beat a hare in a race? In her new book, Aesop’s Animals, zoologist and author Jo Wimpenny tackles these questions and more, asking what science has to say about some of literature’s most famous animal characters. Join her and behavioural ecologist Professor Alex Kacelnik for a lively discussion about the facts behind the fables.


Jo Wimpenny is a zoologist and science writer. After researching crow intelligence at Oxford University, she co-authored Ten Thousand Birds, an award-winning book on the history of ornithology, and has since written for Science Focus and BBC Wildlife. Her latest book, Aesop’s Animals, was published by Bloomsbury Sigma in 2021.


Alex Kacelnik is Emeritus professor of Behavioural Ecology at the University of Oxford (UK). Besides Oxford, he has held research positions at Groningen (Netherlands), Cambridge (UK), and Berlin, and was founder and director of the Oxford Behavioural Ecology Research Group. He is fundamentally interested on how evolution shapes psychological processes, including learning, choice, and problem solving. Alex has published over 200 papers in scientific journals and is mostly proud of the more than 40 PhD students he has supervised, one of whom is Jo Wimpenny.


Supported by the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour

Watch Animal Fables


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