Every Living Thing: Man’s Obsessive Quest to Catalog Life, from Nanobacteria to New Monkeys

Another book I just recently finished was Rob Dunn’s masterfully crafted “Every Living Thing: Man’s Obsessive Quest to Catalog Life, from Nanobacteria to New Monkeys.”  One word could describe this book, impressive.  Dunn’s control of language and narrative flow is rarely seen in popular science books.  Through the common thread of human’s quest to find, describe, and name unknown life, he weaves together stories and anecdotes from around the globe, through history, across science personalities, and covering the amazing diversity of life.  The last is the most impressive as Dunn discusses taxa from nanobacteria, ants, plants, and hydrothermal vent clams.  The development of characters, scientists striving to understand life, really sets this book apart.  The chapter on Linnaeus, a rather loathsome character,  is worth the purchase alone.  If you are interested in biodiversity and how it is described then this is a must read.  If you teach a biodiversity class this should be required reading.

I eagerly await Dunn’s new book “The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Our Evolution” due mid-2011

Dr. M (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (http://www.scienceofthesouth.com/), connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

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