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 (1605 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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