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Fascinating stories by Groningen biologists in book by Monica Wesseling

Why starlings pick flowers and trembling mice are smarter
04 October 2016
Fascinating stories by Groningen biologists in book by Monica Wesseling

Biology is full of fascinating stories. Researchers from the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES) at the University of Groningen told their stories to nature journalist and writer Monica Wesseling. Wesseling has collected their research results in the book Waarom spreeuwen bloemen plukken en trillende muizen slimmer zijn (Why starlings pick flowers and trembling mice are smarter). The book will be released on Tuesday 4 October by Kosmos Publishers. The stories are most diverse, ranging from research into extreme aggression to collaboration between beetles and from rhinos stomping to left-footedness or left-handedness in mice and men.

Groningen leads

GELIFES focuses on that characteristic of life which means it can keep adapting to changing circumstances. Director of GELIFES Prof. Ton Groothuis: ‘We bring together two approaches to life sciences that have grown apart over the years. First, how humans and animals adapt to changing circumstances and second, evolution, so how species have adapted over time. For example, we look not only at how we become ill but also at why. Groningen leads here. Its integral approach has gained international recognition. In ten years’ time Groningen will be at the frontline of science.’

One question leads to entire book

The contact between Monica Wesseling and the researchers came about after a phone call with Prof. Groothuis. Groothuis: ‘After an interview with Trouw newspaper on my own research, Monica and I both realized how much more the new institute actually had to offer. Research with an intriguing question or result that generally remains hidden from the layperson but which is actually of great interest to the general public. After all, academics find the world around us just as intriguing as many non-academics do.’

Watch the video that the University of Groningen has made about the book.

More information

  • For more information or an interview please contact the author, Monica Wesseling, at t el. 071-5897600 or 06-25263667
  • For a review copy, please contact Kosmos Publishers, Kelly Weerdestijn at or tel. 088-7002699
  • Prof. Ton Groothuis can be contacted at tel. 050-3632068 or a.g.g.groothuis
  • See too
Last modified:12 March 2020 9.40 p.m.
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