Friday, August 30, 2019

ANIMAL EARTH


Review of ANIMAL EARTH: THE AMAZING DIVERSITY OF LIVING CREATURES by ROSS PIPER

I borrowed this book from the library to do some wide-net research into animals my own writing. I found some material relevant for my novel, but mostly I encountered a wealth of information that’s simply fascinating.

This book covers all animals, not merely what we tend to mean when we say “animal.” ANIMAL EARTH gives equal attention to every branch of known animal lineages, summarizing our current understanding of each. Especially when you get into all the microscopic beings hiding within our world, the mind marvels at the sheer number of complex and underappreciated creatures. 

Each section starts with a brief summary of that class, including diversity (approximate number of species) and size range. These statistical breakdowns are a very helpful and interesting snapshot. Then the section goes on to discuss each creature’s form, lifestyle (which focuses primarily on feeding and mating), and origin. The discussions of digestion and reproduction particularly intrigued me…and made me grateful I’m human.

Though learning towards text heavy, this book features some incredible photos. (The book tends to have photo pages and text pages. While there are plenty of photos, they don't really break up the large blocks of text that much.) That said, the full page close up of a jumping spider on page 8 will haunt me.

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