Edward Osborne Wilson is an American behavioral and evolutionary biologist. He is most famous for his in-depth studies of ants.
Wilson was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1929. He was interested in science from his early years of childhood,
developing an interest in a variety of animals, especially in different species of snakes. He attended the University of Alabama, from which he received Bachelor and Master of Science degrees. He also attended Harvard University, where he received a Ph.D.
Wilson has conducted extensive studies of the ecology and evolution of the ant. He has traveled around the world studying ant populations, and he has discovered several new ant species. These currently number
practically 9,000, but Wilson predicts that count will someday total nearly 20,000. He also estimates that within these species there are over a million billion individuals. His vast research is synthesized in his 1990 co-authored book The Ants.
Wilson has written many other papers, articles, and books. In 1967, he co-published The Theory of Island Biogeography, a study of islands, which examines the relation between island size, the number of species contained,
and their evolutionary balance. His ideas here have been applied to the process of species loss due to deforestation. Wilson alone published Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975), where he compared human and ant behavior, and On Human Nature, a study of evolution and sociobiology. For the latter book, he won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Wilson has also authored Biophilia (1984), Biodiversity (1988), and The Diversity of Life (1992). His most
recent writing examines threats to species diversity on earth.