Best Biology Books of 2011

Below are the 5 best reviewed science books about biology (all released in 2011).

 

We evolved in a wilderness of parasites and mutualists, but we no longer see ourselves as being part of nature and the broader community of life. In the name of progress and clean living, we scrub much of nature off our bodies and try to remove whole kinds of life (parasites, bacteria) to allow ourselves to live free of wild danger. While “clean living” has benefited us in some ways, it has also made us sicker in others. Diabetes, allergies, anxiety disorders are increasingly plaguing bodies that have been removed from the ecological context in which they existed for millennia.

 

When viewed from a quiet beach, the ocean, with its rolling waves and vast expanse, can seem calm, even serene. But hidden beneath the sea’s waves are a staggering abundance and variety of active creatures, engaged in the never-ending struggles of life to reproduce, to eat, and to avoid being eaten. This book takes us deep into the sea to introduce an astonishing cast of fascinating and bizarre creatures that make the salty depths their home. From the tiny but voracious arrow worms whose rapacious ways may lead to death by overeating, to the lobsters that battle rivals or seduce mates with their urine, to the sea’s masters of disguise, the octopuses, this book not only brings to life the ocean’s strange creatures, but also reveals the ways they interact as predators, prey, or potential mates.

 

Kraken is the traditional name for gigantic sea monsters, and this book introduces one of the most charismatic, enigmatic, and curious inhabitants of the sea: the squid. The pages take the reader on a wild narrative ride through the world of squid science and adventure, along the way addressing some riddles about what intelligence is, and what monsters lie in the deep. In addition to squid, both giant and otherwise, Kraken examines other equally enthralling cephalopods, including the octopus and the cuttlefish, and explores their otherworldly abilities, such as camouflage and bioluminescence. Accessible and entertaining, Kraken is also the first substantial volume on the subject in more than a decade and a must for fans of popular science.

4. Once and Future Giants: What Ice Age Extinctions Tell Us About the Fate of Earth’s Largest Animals by Sharon Levy

Until about 13,000 years ago, North America was home to a menagerie of massive mammals. Mammoths, camels, and lions walked the ground that has become Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles and foraged on the marsh land now buried beneath Chicago’s streets. Then, just as the first humans reached the Americas, these Ice Age giants vanished forever.
In Once and Future Giants, science writer Sharon Levy digs through the evidence surrounding Pleistocene large animal (“megafauna”) extinction events worldwide, showing that understanding this history–and our part in it–is crucial for protecting the elephants, polar bears, and other great creatures at risk today. These surviving relatives of the Ice Age beasts now face an intensified replay of that great die-off, as our species usurps the planet’s last wild places while driving a warming trend more extreme than any in mammalian history.

5. Sex on Six Legs: Lessons on Life, Love, and Language from the Insect World by Marlene Zuk

Insects have inspired fear, fascination, and enlightenment for centuries. They are capable of incredibly complex behavior, even with brains often the size of a poppy seed. How do they accomplish feats that look like human activity— personality, language, childcare—with completely different pathways from our own? What is going on inside the mind of those ants that march like boot-camp graduates across your kitchen floor? How does the lead ant know exactly where to take her colony, to that one bread crumb that your nightly sweep missed? Can insects be taught new skills as easily as your new puppy? Sex on Six Legs is a startling and exciting book that provides answers to these questions and many more.

 

 

5 Comments

  1. Cheryl Terronez says:

    Hey. Mainly want to actually write a swift comment and indicate to you that I totally agree with your particular blog post. Perfectly spot on.

  2. Radziewicz says:

    Wonderful books, very informative. You must proceed your writing. I’m confident, you have a huge readers’ base already!

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