Survivors: The Animals and Plants that Time has Left Behind (Text Only)

Author: Richard Fortey

Publisher: HarperCollins UK

ISBN: 000744138X

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 1898

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This ebook edition does not include illustrations. An awe-inspiring journey through the eons and across the globe, in search of visible traces of evolution in the living creatures which have survived from earlier times and whose stories speak to us of seminal events in the history of life.

Extreme Survivors: Animals That Time Forgot (How Nature Works)

Author: Kimberly Ridley

Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers and Cadent Publishing

ISBN: 0884485781

Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Page: 48

View: 6679

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Selected for the 2018 Bank Street College of Education Best STEM Children’s Books of the Year What do the goblin shark, horseshoe crab, the “indestructible” water bear, and a handful of other bizarre animals have in common? They are all “extreme survivors,” animals that still look much like their prehistoric ancestors from millions of years ago. Meet ten amazing animals that appear to have changed little in more than 100 million years. They are the rare exceptions to the rule. More than 99 percent of all life forms have gone extinct during the 3.6-billion-year history of life on Earth. Other organisms have changed dramatically, but not our extreme survivors. Evolution may have altered their physiology and behavior, but their body plans have stood the test of time. How have these living links with Earth’s prehistoric past survived? The search for answers is leading scientists to new discoveries about the past—and future—of life on Earth. The survival secrets of some of these ancient creatures could lead to new medicines and treatments for disease. Written in a lively, entertaining voice, Extreme Survivors provides detailed life histories and strange “survival secrets” of ten ancient animals and explains evolution and natural selection. Extensive back matter includes glossary, additional facts and geographic range for each organism and a geologic timeline of Earth. F&P Level V

Dominance and Aggression in Humans and Other Animals

The Great Game of Life

Author: Henry R. Hermann

Publisher: Academic Press

ISBN: 0128092955

Category: Psychology

Page: 396

View: 5660

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Dominance and Aggression in Humans and Other Animals: The Great Game of Life examines human nature and the influence of evolution, genetics, chemistry, nurture, and the sociopolitical environment as a way of understanding how and why humans behave in aggressive and dominant ways. The book walks us through aggression in other social species, compares and contrasts human behavior to other animals, and then explores specific human behaviors like bullying, abuse, territoriality murder, and war. The book examines both individual and group aggression in different environments including work, school, and the home. It explores common stressors triggering aggressive behaviors, and how individual personalities can be vulnerable to, or resistant to, these stressors. The book closes with an exploration of the cumulative impact of human aggression and dominance on the natural world. Reviews the influence of evolution, genetics, biochemistry, and nurture on aggression Explores aggression in multiple species, including insects, fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals Compares human and animal aggressive and dominant behavior Examines bullying, abuse, territoriality, murder, and war Includes nonaggressive behavior in displays of respect and tolerance Highlights aggression triggers from drugs to stress Discusses individual and group behavior, including organizations and nations Probes dominance and aggression in religion and politics Translates the impact of human behavior over time on the natural world

The Accidental Species

Misunderstandings of Human Evolution

Author: Henry Gee

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022604498X

Category: Science

Page: 232

View: 3585

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The idea of a missing link between humanity and our animal ancestors predates evolution and popular science and actually has religious roots in the deist concept of the Great Chain of Being. Yet, the metaphor has lodged itself in the contemporary imagination, and new fossil discoveries are often hailed in headlines as revealing the elusive transitional step, the moment when we stopped being “animal” and started being “human.” In The Accidental Species, Henry Gee, longtime paleontology editor at Nature, takes aim at this misleading notion, arguing that it reflects a profound misunderstanding of how evolution works and, when applied to the evolution of our own species, supports mistaken ideas about our own place in the universe. Gee presents a robust and stark challenge to our tendency to see ourselves as the acme of creation. Far from being a quirk of religious fundamentalism, human exceptionalism, Gee argues, is an error that also infects scientific thought. Touring the many features of human beings that have recurrently been used to distinguish us from the rest of the animal world, Gee shows that our evolutionary outcome is one possibility among many, one that owes more to chance than to an organized progression to supremacy. He starts with bipedality, which he shows could have arisen entirely by accident, as a by-product of sexual selection, moves on to technology, large brain size, intelligence, language, and, finally, sentience. He reveals each of these attributes to be alive and well throughout the animal world—they are not, indeed, unique to our species. The Accidental Species combines Gee’s firsthand experience on the editorial side of many incredible paleontological findings with healthy skepticism and humor to create a book that aims to overturn popular thinking on human evolution—the key is not what’s missing, but how we’re linked.

Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms

The Story of the Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind

Author: Richard Fortey

Publisher: Knopf

ISBN: 0307957411

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 5181

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From one of the world’s leading natural scientists and the acclaimed author of Trilobite!, Life: A Natural History of Four Billion Years of Life on Earth and Dry Storeroom No. 1 comes a fascinating chronicle of life’s history told not through the fossil record but through the stories of organisms that have survived, almost unchanged, throughout time. Evolution, it seems, has not completely obliterated its tracks as more advanced organisms have evolved; the history of life on earth is far older—and odder—than many of us realize. Scattered across the globe, these remarkable plants and animals continue to mark seminal events in geological time. From a moonlit beach in Delaware, where the hardy horseshoe crab shuffles its way to a frenzy of mass mating just as it did 450 million years ago, to the dense rainforests of New Zealand, where the elusive, unprepossessing velvet worm has burrowed deep into rotting timber since before the breakup of the ancient supercontinent, to a stretch of Australian coastline with stromatolite formations that bear witness to the Precambrian dawn, the existence of these survivors offers us a tantalizing glimpse of pivotal points in evolutionary history. These are not “living fossils” but rather a handful of tenacious creatures of days long gone. Written in buoyant, sparkling prose, Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms is a marvelously captivating exploration of the world’s old-timers combining the very best of science writing with an explorer’s sense of adventure and wonder.

Strange Survivors

How Organisms Attack and Defend in the Game of Life

Author: One R. Pagan

Publisher: BenBella Books

ISBN: 1944648593

Category: Science

Page: 280

View: 9726

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Life is beautiful, ruthless, and very, very strange. In the evolutionary arms race that has raged on since life began, organisms have developed an endless variety of survival strategies. From sharp claws to brute strength, camouflage to venom—all these tools and abilities share one purpose: to keep their bearer alive long enough to reproduce, helping the species avoid extinction. Every living thing on this planet has developed a time-tested arsenal of weapons and defenses. Some of these weapons and defenses, however, are decidedly more unusual than others. In Strange Survivors, biologist Oné R. Pagán takes us on a tour of the improbable, the ingenious, and the just plain bizarre ways that creatures fight for life. Inside this funny, fascinating field guide to nature’s most colorful characters, you’ll meet killer snails, social bacteria, and an animal with toxic elbows. But Strange Survivors is more than a collection of curiosities—it is a love letter to science and an argument for the continuing relevance of this evolutionary battle as we face the threat of resistant bacteria and the need for novel medical therapies. Whether discussing blood-thinning bats and electric fish or pondering the power of cooperation, Pagán reveals the surprising lessons found in some of life’s natural oddities and how the tactics they employ to live might aid our own survival.

Catch and Release

The Enduring Yet Vulnerable Horseshoe Crab

Author: Lisa Jean Moore

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 1479848093

Category: Social Science

Page: 224

View: 7213

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The unexpected and fascinating interspecies relationship between humans and horseshoe crabs. Horseshoe crabs are considered both a prehistoric and indicator species. They have not changed in tens of millions of years and provide useful data to scientists who monitor the health of the environment. From the pharmaceutical industry to paleontologists to the fishing industry, the horseshoe crab has made vast, but largely unknown, contributions to human life and our shared ecosystem. Catch and Release examines how these intersections steer the trajectory of both species’ lives, and futures. Based on interviews with conservationists, field biologists, ecologists, and paleontologists over three years of fieldwork on urban beaches, noted ethnographer Lisa Jean Moore shows how humans literally harvest the life out of the horseshoe crabs. We use them as markers for understanding geologic time, collect them for agricultural fertilizer, and eat them as delicacies, capture them as bait, then rescue them for conservation, and categorize them as endangered. The book details the biomedical bleeding of crabs; how they are caught, drained of 40% of their blood, and then released back into their habitat. The model of catch and release is essential. Horseshoe crabs cannot be bred in captivity and can only survive in their own ecosystems. Moore shows how horseshoe crabs are used as an exploitable resource, and are now considered a “vulnerable” species. An investigation of how humans approach animals that are essential for their survival, Catch and Release questions whether humans should have divine, moral, or ethical claims to any living being in their path.