Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History [EPUB]
14 February 2017, 23:01
2017 | EPUB | 5.61MB
For centuries scientists have written off cannibalism as a bizarre phenomenon with little biological significance. Its presence in nature was dismissed as a desperate response to starvation or other life-threatening circumstances, and few spent time studying it. A taboo subject in our culture, the behavior was portrayed mostly through horror movies or tabloids sensationalizing the crimes of real-life flesh-eaters. But the true nature of cannibalism--the role it plays in evolution as well as human history--is even more intriguing (and more normal) than the misconceptions we’ve come to accept as fact.
In Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History, zoologist Bill Schutt sets the record straight, debunking common myths and investigating our new understanding of cannibalism’s role in biology, anthropology, and history in the most fascinating account yet written on this complex topic. Schutt takes readers from Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains, where he wades through ponds full of tadpoles devouring their siblings, to the Sierra Nevadas, where he joins researchers who are shedding new light on what happened to the Donner Party--the most infamous episode of cannibalism in American history. He even meets with an expert on the preparation and consumption of human placenta (and, yes, it goes well with Chianti).
Bringing together the latest cutting-edge science, Schutt answers questions such as why some amphibians consume their mother’s skin; why certain insects bite the heads off their partners after sex; why, up until the end of the twentieth century, Europeans regularly ate human body parts as medical curatives; and how cannibalism might be linked to the extinction of the Neanderthals. He takes us into the future as well, investigating whether, as climate change causes famine, disease, and overcrowding, we may see more outbreaks of cannibalism in many more species--including our own.
Cannibalism places a perfectly natural occurrence into a vital new context and invites us to explore why it both enthralls and repels us.
Citizen Science: How Ordinary People are Changing the Face of Discovery [EPUB]
14 February 2017, 09:41
2016 | EPUB | 1.46MB
The engaging history of the people whose contributions to scientific pursuits make us rethink the meaning of the word "scientist."
Think you need a degree in science to contribute to important scientific discoveries? Think again. All around the world, in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology, millions of everyday people are choosing to participate in the scientific process. Working in cooperation with scientists in pursuit of information, innovation, and discovery, these volunteers are following protocols, collecting and reviewing data, and sharing their observations. They are our neighbors, our in-laws, and people in the office down the hall. Their story, along with the story of the social good that can result from citizen science, has largely been untold, until now.
Citizen scientists are challenging old notions about who can conduct research, where knowledge can be acquired, and even how solutions to some of our biggest societal problems might emerge. In telling their story, Cooper will inspire readers to rethink their own assumptions about the role that individuals can play in gaining scientific understanding and putting that understanding to use as stewards of our world. Citizen Science will be a rallying call-to-arms, and will also function as an authoritative resource for those inspired by the featured stories and message.
The Evolution Underground [EPUB]
14 February 2017, 09:37
2017 | EPUB | 53.96MB
What is the best way to survive when the going gets tough? Hiding underground. From penguins to dinosaurs, trilobites, and humans, Anthony Martin reveals the subterranean secret of survival.
Humans have “gone underground” for survival for thousands of years, from underground cities in Turkey to Cold War–era bunkers. But our burrowing roots go back to the very beginnings of animal life on earth. Without burrowing, the planet would be very different today. Many animal lineages alive now―including our own―only survived a cataclysmic meteorite strike 65 million years ago because they went underground.
On a grander scale, the chemistry of the planet itself had already been transformed many millions of years earlier by the first animal burrows, which altered whole ecosystems. Every day we walk on an earth filled with an under-ground wilderness teeming with life. Most of this life stays hidden, yet these animals and their subterranean homes are ubiquitous, ranging from the deep sea to mountains, from the equator to the poles.
Burrows are a refuge from predators, a safe home for raising young, or a tool to ambush prey. Burrows also protect animals against all types of natural disasters: fires, droughts, storms, meteorites, global warmings―and coolings. In a book filled with spectacularly diverse fauna, acclaimed paleontologist and ichnologist Anthony Martin reveals this fascinating, hidden world that will continue to influence and transform life on this planet.