Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms

Author: Richard Fortey
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 0307957411
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
From one of the world’s leading natural scientists and the acclaimed author of Trilobite!, Life: A Natural History of Four Billion Years of Life on Earth and Dry Storeroom No. 1 comes a fascinating chronicle of life’s history told not through the fossil record but through the stories of organisms that have survived, almost unchanged, throughout time. Evolution, it seems, has not completely obliterated its tracks as more advanced organisms have evolved; the history of life on earth is far older—and odder—than many of us realize. Scattered across the globe, these remarkable plants and animals continue to mark seminal events in geological time. From a moonlit beach in Delaware, where the hardy horseshoe crab shuffles its way to a frenzy of mass mating just as it did 450 million years ago, to the dense rainforests of New Zealand, where the elusive, unprepossessing velvet worm has burrowed deep into rotting timber since before the breakup of the ancient supercontinent, to a stretch of Australian coastline with stromatolite formations that bear witness to the Precambrian dawn, the existence of these survivors offers us a tantalizing glimpse of pivotal points in evolutionary history. These are not “living fossils” but rather a handful of tenacious creatures of days long gone. Written in buoyant, sparkling prose, Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms is a marvelously captivating exploration of the world’s old-timers combining the very best of science writing with an explorer’s sense of adventure and wonder.

Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms

Author: Richard Fortey
Publisher: Vintage Books
ISBN: 9780307275530
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
The award-winning author of The Hidden Landscape presents a narrative tour of what living creatures reveal about the history of evolution, demonstrating how various organisms and ecosystems that survive from earlier periods reflect seminal events. 25,000 first printing.

Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms

Author: Richard A. Fortey
Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Incorporated
ISBN: 9780307263612
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
Presents a narrative tour of what living creatures reveal about the history of evolution, demonstrating how various organisms and ecosystems that survive from earlier periods reflect seminal events.

Crab Wars

Author: William Sargent
Publisher: University Press of New England
ISBN: 1611687160
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
Surviving almost unmolested for 300 million years, the horseshoe crab is now the object of an intense legal and ethical struggle involving marine biologists, environmentalists, US government officials, biotechnologists, and international corporations. The source of this friction is the discovery 25 years ago that the blood of these ancient creatures serves as the basis for the most reliable test for the deadly and ubiquitous gram-negative bacteria. These bacteria are responsible for life-threatening diseases like menengitis, typhoid, E. coli, Legionnaire's Disease and toxic shock syndrome. Because every drug certified by the FDA must be tested using the horseshoe crab derivative known as Limulus lysate, a multimillion dollar industry has emerged involving the license to "bleed" horseshoe crabs and the rights to their breeding grounds. Since his youthful fascination with these ancient creatures, William Sargent has spent much of his life observing, studying, and collecting horseshoe crabs. As a result, he presents a thoroughly accessible insider's guide to the discovery of the lysate test, the exploitation of the crabs at the hands of multinational pharmaceutical conglomerates, local fishing interests, and the legal and governmental wrangling over the creatures' ultimate fate. In the end, the story of the horseshoe crab is a sobering reflection on the unintended consequences of scientific progress and the danger of self-regulated industries controlling a limited natural resource.

Trilobite

Author: Richard Fortey
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307434672
Format: PDF
Download Now
With Trilobite, Richard Fortey, paleontologist and author of the acclaimed Life, offers a marvelously written, smart and compelling, accessible and witty scientific narrative of the most ubiquitous of fossil creatures. Trilobites were shelled animals that lived in the oceans over five hundred million years ago. As bewilderingly diverse then as the beetle is today, they survived in the arctic or the tropics, were spiky or smooth, were large as lobsters or small as fleas. And because they flourished for three hundred million years, they can be used to glimpse a less evolved world of ancient continents and vanished oceans. Erudite and entertaining, this book is a uniquely exuberant homage to a fabulously singular species. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Horseshoe Crab

Author: Anthony D. Fredericks
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780983011187
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
Traveling from the Delaware Bay to the Florida Panhandle, this examination is a quest through the natural history and science behind one of nature’s oldest and oddest survivors—the horseshoe crab. With ten eyes, five pairs of walking legs, a heart half the length of their bodies, and blood that can save a person’s life, horseshoe crabs have been on this planet for 445 million years—since long before the dinosaurs arrived. This book explores their unique biology and sex life, explains their importance to medical science and migratory shorebirds, and introduces readers to the people who are working to study and protect them.

Dry Storeroom No 1

Author: Richard Fortey
Publisher: Vintage Books USA
ISBN: 0307275523
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download Now
Reveals the hidden treasures of London's Natural History Museum and the people, research, and passions that created the museum, in a study of the social history of the scientific accomplishments of the past two centuries.

Earth

Author: Richard Fortey
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307574334
Format: PDF
Download Now
In Earth, the acclaimed author of Trilobite! and Life takes us on a grand tour of the earth’s physical past, showing how the history of plate tectonics is etched in the landscape around us. Beginning with Mt. Vesuvius, whose eruption in Roman times helped spark the science of geology, and ending in a lab in the West of England where mathematical models and lab experiments replace direct observation, Richard Fortey tells us what the present says about ancient geologic processes. He shows how plate tectonics came to rule the geophysical landscape and how the evidence is written in the hills and in the stones. And in the process, he takes us on a wonderful journey around the globe to visit some of the most fascinating and intriguing spots on the planet. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Weird Life The Search for Life That Is Very Very Different from Our Own

Author: David Toomey
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393089940
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
“Weird indeed, and not a little wonderful.”—Nature In the 1980s and 1990s, in places where no one thought it possible, scientists found organisms they called extremophiles: lovers of extremes. There were bacteria in volcanic hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor, single-celled algae in Antarctic ice floes, and fungi in the cooling pools of nuclear reactors. But might there be life stranger than the most extreme extremophile? Might there be, somewhere, another kind of life entirely? In fact, scientists have hypothesized life that uses ammonia instead of water, life based not in carbon but in silicon, life driven by nuclear chemistry, and life whose very atoms are unlike those in life we know. In recent years some scientists have begun to look for the tamer versions of such life on rock surfaces in the American Southwest, in a “shadow biosphere” that might impinge on the known biosphere, and even deep within human tissue. They have also hypothesized more radical versions that might survive in Martian permafrost, in the cold ethylene lakes on Saturn’s moon Titan, and in the hydrogen-rich atmospheres of giant planets in other solar systems. And they have imagined it in places off those worlds: the exotic ices in comets, the vast spaces between the stars, and—strangest of all—parallel universes. Distilling complex science in clear and lively prose, David Toomey illuminates the research of the biological avant-garde and describes the workings of weird organisms in riveting detail. His chapters feature an unforgettable cast of brilliant scientists and cover everything from problems with our definitions of life to the possibility of intelligent weird life. With wit and understanding that will delight scientists and lay readers alike, Toomey reveals how our current knowledge of life forms may account for only a tiny fraction of what’s really out there.

The Book of Barely Imagined Beings

Author: Caspar Henderson
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022604470X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
From medieval bestiaries to Borges’s Book of Imaginary Beings, we’ve long been enchanted by extraordinary animals, be they terrifying three-headed dogs or asps impervious to a snake charmer’s song. But bestiaries are more than just zany zoology—they are artful attempts to convey broader beliefs about human beings and the natural order. Today, we no longer fear sea monsters or banshees. But from the infamous honey badger to the giant squid, animals continue to captivate us with the things they can do and the things they cannot, what we know about them and what we don’t. With The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, Caspar Henderson offers readers a fascinating, beautifully produced modern-day menagerie. But whereas medieval bestiaries were often based on folklore and myth, the creatures that abound in Henderson’s book—from the axolotl to the zebrafish—are, with one exception, very much with us, albeit sometimes in depleted numbers. The Book of Barely Imagined Beings transports readers to a world of real creatures that seem as if they should be made up—that are somehow more astonishing than anything we might have imagined. The yeti crab, for example, uses its furry claws to farm the bacteria on which it feeds. The waterbear, meanwhile, is among nature’s “extreme survivors,” able to withstand a week unprotected in outer space. These and other strange and surprising species invite readers to reflect on what we value—or fail to value—and what we might change. A powerful combination of wit, cutting-edge natural history, and philosophical meditation, The Book of Barely Imagined Beings is an infectious and inspiring celebration of the sheer ingenuity and variety of life in a time of crisis and change.