With sales of well over one million copies in North America alone, the commercial success of Gould's books now matches their critical acclaim. The Panda's Thumb will introduce a new generation of readers to this unique writer, who has taken the art of the scientific essay to new heights.
Were dinosaurs really dumber than lizards? Why, after all, are roughly the same number of men and women born into the world? What led the famous Dr. Down to his theory of mongolism, and its racist residue? What do the panda's magical "thumb" and the sea turtle's perilous migration tell us about imperfections that prove the evolutionary rule? The wonders and mysteries of evolutionary biology are elegantly explored in these and other essays by the celebrated natural history writer Stephen Jay Gould.
A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes
Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation is a unique guidebook to sex. It reveals, for example, when necrophilia is acceptable and who should commit bestiality with whom. It discloses the best time to have a sex change, how to have a virgin birth, and when to eat your lover. It also advises on more mundane matters -- such as male pregnancy and the joys of a detachable penis.
Entertaining, funny, and marvelously illuminating, the book comprises letters from all creatures worried about their bizarre sex lives to the wise Dr. Tatiana (a.k.a. Olivia Judson), the only sex columnist in creation with a prodigious knowledge of evolutionary biology. Fusing natural history with advice to the lovelorn, blending wit and rigor, she is able to reassure her anxious correspondents that although the acts they describe might sound appalling and unnatural, they are all perfectly normal -- so long as you are not a human. In the process, she explains the science behind it all, from Darwin's theory of sexual selection to why sexual reproduction exists at all. Applying human standards to the natural world, in the end she reveals the wonders of both.
"Delightful . . . Easy to understand and hard to resist, it's sex education at its prime -- accurate, comprehensive, and hilarious." -- Newsweek