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Search tags: science-biological
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review 2017-03-20 08:27
TRILOBITE! Eyewitness to Evolution by Richard Fortey
Trilobite!: Eyewitness to Evolution - Richard Fortey

Trilobite! (with the exclamation mark) is Richard Fortey's passionate account of trilobites - their physiology, their crystal eyes, legs, development, evolution and history.  This book grew out of the author's love of trilobites.  His stated aim is to invest the trilobites with all the glamour of the dinosaur and to see the world through the eyes of a trilobites.

This enthusiastic account of trilobites is written in a colourful narrative style that mixes science with personal anecdotes and historical stories.  The chapter on trilobite eyes was especially fascinating.  There are a few technical terms to be learned, but nothing excessive that would be difficult for the lay reader.  The book also includes numerous black/white photographs and diagrams.

Trilobites are interesting creatures, but I wanted more focus on the trilobites and fewer anecdotes. I would also have like more information on what may have caused their extinction.  However, this book is still fascinating and a joy to read.

 

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review 2017-03-10 08:20
The Hidden Half of Nature by David R. Montgomery & Anne Bikle
The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health - David R. Montgomery,Anne Biklé

I first read this book in December 2015.  I like it so much that I purchased my own copy. 

 

This is a beautifully written book that blends clearly described, scientific discoveries with the compelling personal insight of a husband and wife author/biologist/geologist team.  The book explores the importance of microbes in the soil and in people.  The authors discuss both the history of various scientific discoveries and the functioning of these microbes, as well as how these microbes relate to gardening/farming, plant growth, the immune system, the gut, auto-immune diseases,  and general health of both humans and the environment.  I found this book to be both fascinating and educational, without being condescending or oversimplified.

 

Other Recommended Books:

 

~March of the Microbes:  Sighting the Unseen by John L. Ingraham

~The Wild Life of Our Bodies by Rob Dunn

~Why We Get Sick:  The New Science of Darwinian Medicine by Randolph M Nesse & George C. Williams

~Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-02-17 06:25
Oxygen: The Molecule that Made the World by Nick Lane
Oxygen: The Molecule that Made the World (Popular Science) - Nick Lane

This is an extremely interesting and well written book about oxygen - how oxygen spurred the evolution of life, the functioning of oxygen in biological systems, aging, how oxygen relates to everyday life (besides breathing), amongst others. The nice thing about this book is that the author assumes his readers are intelligent and so doesn't simplify his writing or the concepts so much that it practically turns into gibberish.

 

NOTE:

The author's view of junk DNA is a bit dated - the book was published in 2002 and research on junk DNA has advanced since then. Some other information might also be dated, but that is simply how science and science writing work.  If you are intelligent enough to read this book, you should also be intelligent enough not to swallow everything you read - hook, line and sinker.

 

OTHER RELATED RECOMMENDED BOOKS:

* The Emerald Planet: How Plants Changed Earth's History by David Beerling

* Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine by Randolph M. Nesse, George C. Williams

* Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future by Peter D. Ward

 

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review 2017-01-24 04:24
The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries From a Secret World - Peter Wohlleben

And interesting look at how trees live and function.  Each short chapter covers one or another aspect of tree life, such as water transport, bug-life, roots, growth etc.  I found the writing style too "chatty" with not enough nitty-gritty science.

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review 2017-01-23 06:45
The Wasp that Brainwashed the Caterpillar by Matt Simon
The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar: Evolution's Most Unbelievable Solutions to Life's Biggest Problems - Matt Simon

An interesting and amusingly written book that highlights some of the strange survival mechanisms that animals have evolved.  There is nothing technical in this book.  Each chapter takes a look at a specific animal. 

For a more in-depth look at some of these survival mechanisms, I recommend the book "Venomous" by Christie Wilcox.

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