Death on Earth: Adventures in Evolution and Mortality

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en Limba Engleză Paperback – 18 May 2017
There is nothing more life-affirming than understanding death in all its forms.Natural selection depends on death; little would evolve without it. Every animal on Earth is shaped by its presence and fashioned by its spectre. We are all survivors of starvation, drought, volcanic eruptions, meteorites, plagues, parasites, predators, freak weather events, tussles and scraps, and our bodies are shaped by these ancient events. Some animals live for just a few hours as adults, others prefer to kill themselves rather than live unnecessarily for longer than they are needed, and there are a number of animals that can live for centuries. There are parasites that drive their hosts to die awful deaths, and parasites that manipulate their hosts to live longer, healthier lives. There is death in life.Amongst all of this, there is us, the upright ape; perhaps the first animal in the history of the universe fully conscious that death really is going to happen to us all in the end.With a narrative featuring a fish with a fake eye, the oldest animal in the world, the immortal jellyfish and some of the world's top death-investigating biologists, Death on Earth explores the never-ending cycle of death and the impact death has on the living, and muses on how evolution and death affect us every single day. Why are we so weird about death? Where does this fear come from? Why are we so afraid of ageing? And how might knowledge of ageing in other animals help us live better lives, free of the diseases of old age?
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ISBN-13: 9781472915092
ISBN-10: 1472915097
Pagini: 288
Ilustrații: 8-page colour section
Dimensiuni: 129 x 198 x 21 mm
Greutate: 0.25 kg
Editura: Bloomsbury Publishing
Colecția Bloomsbury Sigma
Locul publicării: London, United Kingdom


Cutting edge, with interviews with leading scientists in the field

Notă biografică

Jules Howard is a zoologist, writer, blogger and broadcaster. He writes on a host of topics relating to zoology and wildlife conservation, writing regularly for BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Guardian, and on radio and TV including BBC Breakfast, Sunday Brunch, Springwatch and BBC 5 Live. Jules also runs a social enterprise that has brought 100,000 young people closer to the natural world. Death on Earth is his second book, following 2014's Sex on / @juleshoward


IntroductionPART 1: THIS IS A DEAD FROGChapter 1: Life and Death in the UniverseChapter 2: Senescence and What Waits for the Lucky FewChapter 3: Fear and Loathing in BirchwoodChapter 4: Free Radicals and the Secrets WithinChapter 5: This is a Dead FrogPART 2: THE EXPERIMENTAL PIG PHASEChapter 6: The Circus under the TentChapter 7: Sex and Death: The Contract KillerChapter 8: Coffee with the Widow-makerChapter 9: Suicide, Snowy Owls and the Executioner InsiderChapter 10: This is Not a SheepChapter 11: The Grotto Salamander and the GuanoChapter 12: The Horrid Ground-weaverChapter 13: Dark MattersPART 3: JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE SHITATITEChapter 14: Bring out your Dead AntsChapter 15: Mourning has BrokenChapter 16: Who Wants to Live Forever?Chapter 17: No, this is a Dead FrogEpilogue: The Meaning of the Loa LoaAcknowledgementsIndex


An altogether eye-opening, engaging, and enjoyably humorous (but never distasteful) guided tour through the world of death.
What becomes clear in this impossibly bouncy, Tiggerish work is that living things have more ways of dying than we could ever imagine.
... funny, clever, but also chock full of science ... a book that's a genuine pleasure to read.
A fascinating read that offers incredible snippets about how life is never wasted, and provides a fresh, less gloomy outlook on our ultimate fate.
Genuinely funny and busy with intriguing detail ... Howard shares with science writers like Ed Yong an aptitude for teaming attention-grabbing zoology with astute and well-researched analysis.
Death on Earth fizzes with with life. Howard, whether dressed in waterproof trousers to protect him from rotting pig flesh, or clutching a dead magpie to his chest while looking for a suitable place to watch it decay, makes for the most extraordinary psychopomp. I cried with laughter as he tackled this most persistent of taboos, and yet at the same time was strangely moved by the intensity of his care. It has been oddly reassuring to walk alongside Jules on his exploration of the last great frontier.
Jules Howard celebrates wonderful, vibrant life in the face of death. Drawing on what we can learn from the living, from the cells in your body to geriatric clams and naked mole rats, he allows us to approach and even appreciate why lives, like all good stories, have endings.
Hidden in a breezy overview of death in the animal kingdom rages a life-and-death war that puts into perspective our human struggles with mortality. Death on Earth gives us insight into who we are and why we are special - and not so special - when compared to our animal brethren.