Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA

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Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA
Title Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA
Author
Publisher Pantheon
Release DateMarch 17, 2020
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy
Total Pages 224 pages
ISBN B07RYHNGZY
Book Rating 4.6 out of 5 from 254 reviews
Language EN, ES, BE, DA ,DE , NL and FR
Book Review & Summary:

he author of the best-selling Your Inner Fish gives us a lively and accessible account of the great transformations in the history of life on Earth--a new view of the evolution of human and animal life that explains how the incredible diversity of life on our planet came to be. Over billions of years, ancient fish evolved to walk on land, reptiles transformed into birds that fly, and apelike primates evolved into humans that walk on two legs, talk, and write. For more than a century, paleontologists have traveled the globe to find fossils that show how such changes have happened. We have now arrived at a remarkable moment—prehistoric fossils coupled with new DNA technology have given us the tools to answer some of the basic questions of our existence: How do big changes in evolution happen? Is our presence on Earth the product of mere chance? This new science reveals a multibillion-year evolutionary history filled with twists and turns, trial and error, accident and invention. In Some Assembly Required, Neil Shubin takes readers on a journey of discovery spanning centuries, as explorers and scientists seek to understand the origins of life's immense diversity.

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Some Assembly Required by Neil Shubin

Title Some Assembly Required
Author Neil Shubin
Publisher Pantheon
Release Date 2020-03-17
Category Science
Total Pages 288
ISBN 9781101871348
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

The author of the best-selling Your Inner Fish gives us a lively and accessible account of the great transformations in the history of life on Earth--a new view of the evolution of human and animal life that explains how the incredible diversity of life on our planet came to be. Over billions of years, ancient fish evolved to walk on land, reptiles transformed into birds that fly, and apelike primates evolved into humans that walk on two legs, talk, and write. For more than a century, paleontologists have traveled the globe to find fossils that show how such changes have happened. We have now arrived at a remarkable moment—prehistoric fossils coupled with new DNA technology have given us the tools to answer some of the basic questions of our existence: How do big changes in evolution happen? Is our presence on Earth the product of mere chance? This new science reveals a multibillion-year evolutionary history filled with twists and turns, trial and error, accident and invention. In Some Assembly Required, Neil Shubin takes readers on a journey of discovery spanning centuries, as explorers and scientists seek to understand the origins of life's immense diversity.

Some Assembly Required by Neil Shubin

Title Some Assembly Required
Author Neil Shubin
Publisher Pantheon Books
Release Date 2020
Category SCIENCE
Total Pages 288
ISBN 9781101871331
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

"The author of the best-selling Your Inner Fish, now gives us a lively and accessible account of the great transformations in the history of life, that enable us to further understand whether our presence on this planet is an accident or inevitable. The great transformations in the history of life brought about whole scale shifts in how animals live and how their bodies are organized: the evolution of fish to land-living creature, the origin of birds, the beginnings of bodies in single-celled creatures. Shubin describes how over the last half-century, scientists have been able to explore how genetic recipes build bodies during embryological development--how these inventions and adaptations occur in a nonprogressive manner in different contexts, at different speeds. Paleontology has been transformed over the last 50 years by tools and techniques of molecular biology--and it is that revolution in our understanding of the evolution of life that Shubin traces here. Each of us is a mosaic of precursors that came about at different times and places, with deep rooted connections across species that Darwin, for all he understood, could never even have imagined"--

The Universe Within by Neil Shubin

Title The Universe Within
Author Neil Shubin
Publisher Vintage
Release Date 2013-01-08
Category Science
Total Pages 240
ISBN 9780307907868
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

From one of our finest and most popular science writers, the best-selling author of Your Inner Fish, comes the answer to a scientific mystery story as big as the world itself: How have astronomical events that took place millions of years ago created the unique qualities of the human species? In his last book, Neil Shubin delved into the amazing connections between human anatomy—our hands, our jaws—and the structures in the fish that first took over land 375 million years ago. Now, with his trademark clarity and exuberance, he takes an even more expansive approach to the question of why we are the way we are. Starting once again with fossils, Shubin turns his gaze skyward. He shows how the entirety of the universe's 14-billion-year history can be seen in our bodies. From our very molecular composition (a result of stellar events at the origin of our solar system), he makes clear, through the working of our eyes, how the evolution of the cosmos has had profound effects on the development of human life on earth. From the Hardcover edition.

Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin

Title Your Inner Fish
Author Neil Shubin
Publisher Vintage
Release Date 2008-01-15
Category Science
Total Pages 256
ISBN 0307377164
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Neil Shubin, the paleontologist and professor of anatomy who co-discovered Tiktaalik, the “fish with hands,” tells the story of our bodies as you've never heard it before. The basis for the PBS series. By examining fossils and DNA, he shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our heads are organized like long-extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genomes look and function like those of worms and bacteria. Your Inner Fish makes us look at ourselves and our world in an illuminating new light. This is science writing at its finest—enlightening, accessible and told with irresistible enthusiasm.

Title Some Assembly Required
Author Dan Mager
Publisher Central Recovery Press, LLC
Release Date 2013-05-21
Category Self-Help
Total Pages 280
ISBN 9781937612252
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

A once-successful behavioral health professional battles addiction and chronic pain and ultimately finds recovery from both.

The Emerald Planet by David Beerling

Title The Emerald Planet
Author David Beerling
Publisher Oxford University Press
Release Date 2017-05-12
Category Science
Total Pages 416
ISBN 9780192529787
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Plants have profoundly moulded the Earth's climate and the evolutionary trajectory of life. Far from being 'silent witnesses to the passage of time', plants are dynamic components of our world, shaping the environment throughout history as much as that environment has shaped them. In The Emerald Planet, David Beerling puts plants centre stage, revealing the crucial role they have played in driving global changes in the environment, in recording hidden facets of Earth's history, and in helping us to predict its future. His account draws together evidence from fossil plants, from experiments with their living counterparts, and from computer models of the 'Earth System', to illuminate the history of our planet and its biodiversity. This new approach reveals how plummeting carbon dioxide levels removed a barrier to the evolution of the leaf; how plants played a starring role in pushing oxygen levels upwards, allowing spectacular giant insects to thrive in the Carboniferous; and it strengthens fascinating and contentious fossil evidence for an ancient hole in the ozone layer. Along the way, Beerling introduces a lively cast of pioneering scientists from Victorian times onwards whose discoveries provided the crucial background to these and the other puzzles. This understanding of our planet's past sheds a sobering light on our own climate-changing activities, and offers clues to what our climatic and ecological futures might look like. There could be no more important time to take a close look at plants, and to understand the history of the world through the stories they tell. Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.

Title Symphony in C Carbon and the Evolution of Almost Everything
Author Robert M. Hazen
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date 2019-06-11
Category Science
Total Pages 288
ISBN 9780393609448
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

An enchanting biography of the most resonant—and most necessary—chemical element on Earth. Carbon is everywhere: in the paper of this book and the blood of our bodies. It’s with us from beginning to end, present in our baby clothes and coffin alike. We live on a carbon planet, and we are carbon life. No other element is so central to our well-being; yet, when missing or misaligned, carbon atoms can also bring about disease and even death. At once ubiquitous and mysterious, carbon holds the answers to some of humanity’s biggest questions. Where did Earth come from? What will ultimately become of it—and of us? With poetic storytelling, earth scientist Robert M. Hazen explores the universe to discover the past, present, and future of life’s most essential element. We’re not only “made of star stuff,” as Carl Sagan famously observed, but “Big Bang stuff,” too. Hazen reveals that carbon’s grand symphony began with a frenzied prelude shortly after the dawn of creation, bringing new attention to the tiny number of Big Bang–created carbon atoms that often get overlooked. In minutes, violently colliding protons and neutrons improbably formed the first carbon atoms, which can still be found within our bodies. His book then unfolds in four movements, building momentum as he explores carbon as the element of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. He visits the famed volcanic crater Solfatara di Pozzuoli near Naples, where venting carbon dioxide and other noxious fumes condense into beautiful crystals. He climbs the cliffs of the Scottish Highlands and delves deep into the precious-metal mines of Namibia, journeying toward Earth’s mysterious core in search of undocumented carbon structures. Hazen often asks us to pause and consider carbon’s role in climate change and what we can do about it, for our lives and this element are inextricably intertwined. With prose that sparkles like a diamond, Symphony in C tells the story of carbon, in which we all have a part.

Evolution S Witness by Ivan R. Schwab

Title Evolution s Witness
Author Ivan R. Schwab
Publisher Oxford University Press
Release Date 2012-01-05
Category Medical
Total Pages 306
ISBN 9780195369748
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

"The evolution of the eye spans 3.75 billion years from single cell organisms with eyespots to Metazoa with superb camera style eyes. At least ten different ocular models have evolved independently into myriad optical and physiological masterpieces. The story of the eye reveals evolution's greatest triumph and sweetest gift. This book describes its journey"--Provided by publisher.

Title The Deep History of Ourselves
Author Joseph LeDoux
Publisher Penguin
Release Date 2019-08-27
Category Science
Total Pages 432
ISBN 9780735223844
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Longlisted for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award A leading neuroscientist offers a history of the evolution of the brain from unicellular organisms to the complexity of animals and human beings today Renowned neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux digs into the natural history of life on earth to provide a new perspective on the similarities between us and our ancestors in deep time. This page-turning survey of the whole of terrestrial evolution sheds new light on how nervous systems evolved in animals, how the brain developed, and what it means to be human. In The Deep History of Ourselves, LeDoux argues that the key to understanding human behavior lies in viewing evolution through the prism of the first living organisms. By tracking the chain of the evolutionary timeline he shows how even the earliest single-cell organisms had to solve the same problems we and our cells have to solve each day. Along the way, LeDoux explores our place in nature, how the evolution of nervous systems enhanced the ability of organisms to survive and thrive, and how the emergence of what we humans understand as consciousness made our greatest and most horrendous achievements as a species possible.

Tropical Nature by Adrian Forsyth

Title Tropical Nature
Author Adrian Forsyth
Publisher Simon and Schuster
Release Date 2011-05-24
Category Travel
Total Pages 272
ISBN 1439144745
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Seventeen marvelous essays introducing the habitats, ecology, plants, and animals of the Central and South American rainforest. A lively, lucid portrait of the tropics as seen by two uncommonly observant and thoughtful field biologists. Its seventeen marvelous essays introduce the habitats, ecology, plants, and animals of the Central and South American rainforest. Includes a lengthy appendix of practical advice for the tropical traveler.

Life S Ratchet by Peter Hoffmann

Title Life s Ratchet
Author Peter Hoffmann
Publisher Basic Books
Release Date 2012-10-30
Category Science
Total Pages 288
ISBN 9780465033362
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Below the calm, ordered exterior of a living organism lies microscopic chaos, or what the author calls the molecular storm--specialized molecules immersed in a whirlwind of colliding water molecules. Our cells are filled with molecular machines, which, like tiny ratchets, transform random motion into ordered activity, and create the "purpose" that is the hallmark of life. Tiny electrical motors turn electrical voltage into motion, nanoscale factories custom-build other molecular machines, and mechanical machines twist, untwist, separate and package strands of DNA. Life, the author argues, emerges from the random motions of atoms filtered through these sophisticated structures of our evolved machinery. The book is grounded in the author's own cutting-edge research.-Book Jacket.

A New History Of Life by Peter Ward

Title A New History of Life
Author Peter Ward
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Release Date 2015-04-07
Category Science
Total Pages 400
ISBN 9781608199082
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

The history of life on Earth is, in some form or another, known to us all--or so we think. A New History of Life offers a provocative new account, based on the latest scientific research, of how life on our planet evolved--the first major new synthesis for general readers in two decades. Charles Darwin's theories, first published more than 150 years ago, form the backbone of how we understand the history of the Earth. In reality, the currently accepted history of life on Earth is so flawed, so out of date, that it's past time we need a 'New History of Life.' In their latest book, Joe Kirschvink and Peter Ward will show that many of our most cherished beliefs about the evolution of life are wrong. Gathering and analyzing years of discoveries and research not yet widely known to the public, A New History of Life proposes a different origin of species than the one Darwin proposed, one which includes eight-foot-long centipedes, a frozen “snowball Earth”, and the seeds for life originating on Mars. Drawing on their years of experience in paleontology, biology, chemistry, and astrobiology, experts Ward and Kirschvink paint a picture of the origins life on Earth that are at once too fabulous to imagine and too familiar to dismiss--and looking forward, A New History of Life brilliantly assembles insights from some of the latest scientific research to understand how life on Earth can and might evolve far into the future.

Oxygen by Donald E. Canfield

Title Oxygen
Author Donald E. Canfield
Publisher Princeton University Press
Release Date 2015-12-01
Category Science
Total Pages 216
ISBN 9780691168364
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

The air we breathe is twenty-one percent oxygen, an amount higher than on any other known world. While we may take our air for granted, Earth was not always an oxygenated planet. How did it become this way? Donald Canfield—one of the world's leading authorities on geochemistry, earth history, and the early oceans—covers this vast history, emphasizing its relationship to the evolution of life and the evolving chemistry of the Earth. Canfield guides readers through the various lines of scientific evidence, considers some of the wrong turns and dead ends along the way, and highlights the scientists and researchers who have made key discoveries in the field. Showing how Earth’s atmosphere developed over time, Oxygen takes readers on a remarkable journey through the history of the oxygenation of our planet.

Dna Demystified by Alan McHughen

Title DNA Demystified
Author Alan McHughen
Publisher Oxford University Press, USA
Release Date 2020
Category Science
Total Pages 392
ISBN 9780190092962
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

""If you're mystified by DNA and genetics, relax. Settle into a comfy chair as we explain what DNA is and how it works its apparent magic, revealing it's not so magical after all. We'll also cover chromosomes, genes and genomics, and how they impact our daily lives. These initial pages provide a quick overview of some common questions folks have about DNA: what it is, what you should know about it, where it comes from. If it seems like we're glossing over your favorite topic, be patient, as we'll explore these and many other topics in greater depth in the subsequent chapters. For now, settle in! It's time to unpack some mysteries and explode some myths, while still marveling at the awesome star power of DNA. Like all celebrities, DNA carries a mystique, a compelling story combining remarkable skills with some manufactured hype. 'It's in our DNA' is now a standard refrain for marketers and individuals trumpeting some essential virtue: honesty, courage, integrity, permanence, the spirit of discovery1. The aura of DNA sells everything from colleges and companies to cars, electric fences, and even literary agents. The marketing hype is often misplaced, but DNA is undoubtedly a wondrous molecule. It's the only known molecule capable of reproducing itself, and is present in all living things. DNA is, indeed, the essence of life itself. Between the Presidential citations, popular television shows such as CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) and a multitude of gratuitous marketing clichés, almost everyone knows "DNA". Or, at least, they think they know about DeoxyriboNucleic Acid, aka "DNA". The New York Times index shows over 500 news articles on DNA in the first half of 2019 alone, an average of over two stories per day.2 Yet many otherwise well-informed readers don't know what DNA is or how it works.""--

Title Great Transformations in Vertebrate Evolution
Author Kenneth P. Dial
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Release Date 2015-07-20
Category Science
Total Pages 424
ISBN 9780226268392
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

How did flying birds evolve from running dinosaurs, terrestrial trotting tetrapods evolve from swimming fish, and whales return to swim in the sea? These are some of the great transformations in the 500-million-year history of vertebrate life. And with the aid of new techniques and approaches across a range of fields—work spanning multiple levels of biological organization from DNA sequences to organs and the physiology and ecology of whole organisms—we are now beginning to unravel the confounding evolutionary mysteries contained in the structure, genes, and fossil record of every living species. This book gathers a diverse team of renowned scientists to capture the excitement of these new discoveries in a collection that is both accessible to students and an important contribution to the future of its field. Marshaling a range of disciplines—from paleobiology to phylogenetics, developmental biology, ecology, and evolutionary biology—the contributors attack particular transformations in the head and neck, trunk, appendages such as fins and limbs, and the whole body, as well as offer synthetic perspectives. Illustrated throughout, Great Transformations in Vertebrate Evolution not only reveals the true origins of whales with legs, fish with elbows, wrists, and necks, and feathered dinosaurs, but also the relevance to our lives today of these extraordinary narratives of change.

Evolution by Donald R. Prothero

Title Evolution
Author Donald R. Prothero
Publisher Columbia University Press
Release Date 2007-11-22
Category Science
Total Pages 408
ISBN 9780231139625
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Over the years, paleontologists have made tremendous fossil discoveries, which includes an amazing diversity of fossil humans, suggesting we walked upright long before we acquired large brains. This work tackles subjects ranging from flood geology and rock dating to neo-Darwinism and macroevolution.

Footprints by David Farrier

Title Footprints
Author David Farrier
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date 2020-03-03
Category Nature
Total Pages 320
ISBN 9780374718992
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

A profound meditation on climate change and the Anthropocene and an urgent search for the fossils—industrial, chemical, geological—that humans are leaving behind What will the world look like in ten thousand years—or ten million? What kinds of stories will be told about us? In Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils, the award-winning author David Farrier explores the traces we will leave for the very distant future. Modern civilization has created objects and landscapes with the potential to endure through deep time, whether it is plastic polluting the oceans and nuclear waste sealed within the earth or the 30 million miles of roads spanning the planet. Our carbon could linger in the atmosphere for 100,000 years, and the remains of our cities will still exist millions of years from now as a layer in the rock. These future fossils have the potential to reveal much about how we lived in the twenty-first century. Crossing the boundaries of literature, art, and science, Footprints invites us to think about how we will be remembered in the myths and stories of our distant descendants. Traveling from the Baltic Sea to the Great Barrier Reef, and from an ice-core laboratory in Tasmania to Shanghai, one of the world’s biggest cities, Farrier describes a world that is changing rapidly, with consequences beyond the scope of human understanding. As much a message of hope as a warning, Footprints will not only alter how you think about the future; it will change how you see the world today.

Darwin God And The Meaning Of Life by Steve Stewart-Williams

Title Darwin God and the Meaning of Life
Author Steve Stewart-Williams
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Release Date 2010-09-30
Category Science
Total Pages 86
ISBN 9781139490993
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

If you accept evolutionary theory, can you also believe in God? Are human beings superior to other animals, or is this just a human prejudice? Does Darwin have implications for heated issues like euthanasia and animal rights? Does evolution tell us the purpose of life, or does it imply that life has no ultimate purpose? Does evolution tell us what is morally right and wrong, or does it imply that ultimately 'nothing' is right or wrong? In this fascinating and intriguing book, Steve Stewart-Williams addresses these and other fundamental philosophical questions raised by evolutionary theory and the exciting new field of evolutionary psychology. Drawing on biology, psychology and philosophy, he argues that Darwinian science supports a view of a godless universe devoid of ultimate purpose or moral structure, but that we can still live a good life and a happy life within the confines of this view.

Brave Genius by Sean B. Carroll

Title Brave Genius
Author Sean B. Carroll
Publisher Broadway Books
Release Date 2013
Category Biography & Autobiography
Total Pages 581
ISBN 9780307952349
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Traces the friendship and collaborative achievements of 20th-century intellectuals Albert Camus and Jacques Monod, discussing their contributions to the French Resistance, Nobel Prize-winning work and passionate advocacy of human rights.

Title Charles Darwin s Barnacle and David Bowie s Spider
Author Stephen B. Heard
Publisher Unknown
Release Date 2020-03-17
Category Science
Total Pages 256
ISBN 9780300238280
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

An engaging history of the surprising, poignant, and occasionally scandalous stories behind scientific names and their cultural significance Ever since Carl Linnaeus's binomial system of scientific names was adopted in the eighteenth century, scientists have been eponymously naming organisms in ways that both honor and vilify their namesakes. This charming, informative, and accessible history examines the fascinating stories behind taxonomic nomenclature, from Linnaeus himself naming a small and unpleasant weed after a rival botanist to the recent influx of scientific names based on pop-culture icons--including David Bowie's spider, Frank Zappa's jellyfish, and Beyoncé's fly. Exploring the naming process as an opportunity for scientists to express themselves in creative ways, Stephen B. Heard's fresh approach shows how scientific names function as a window into both the passions and foibles of the scientific community and as a more general indicator of the ways in which humans relate to, and impose order on, the natural world.

Beetle Battles by Doug Emlen

Title Beetle Battles
Author Doug Emlen
Publisher Roaring Brook Press
Release Date 2019-12-24
Category Juvenile Nonfiction
Total Pages 128
ISBN 9781250147127
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Join scientist Doug Emlen on his quest to find out why an elusive type of beetle grows weapons that are enormous for its body size. What does it take to be a scientist in the field? Doug Emlen is a scientist. He studies beetles. Specifically, he studies the evolution of beetle weapons—how their horns and armor change to better suit them in different environments. This book starts with a mystery: Doug wanted to know why a particular type of beetle developed a massive evolutionary weapon. He wanted to know how these changes happened and what advantages these enormous weapons gave the tiny dung beetles. So, he went to visit. Part travel diary and part scientific exploration, Beetle Battles takes you deep into the South American rainforest to monitor beetles in their own habitat. Packed with color photographs, extensive back matter, and entertaining anecdotes, this book will make beetle fans out of all its young readers.

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