Have you ever wondered what price the giraffe pays for its long neck? It increases its blood pressure to pump blood up to its brain, but that endangers its life every time it bends down to drink. Or take the case of the elephant. To become the largest land mammal on earth is to suffer from cancer. The great frigate bird flies out of sight of land, but its feathers aren’t waterproof. Compelled to stay airborne for several days, it cannot go to sleep or it would hit the water. Even small creatures face life-threatening obstacles. Insects don’t have antibodies to fight disease while poison dart frogs can die from their own toxins. How do these animals overcome the challenges posed by their unique lifestyles?
Janaki Lenin’s exploration of the evolution of diverse life forms sparkles with humour, clarity of thought and rigour of science. She uncovers the surprising — sometimes bizarre but always amazing – ways in which creatures breed and survive. Darwin’s bark spiders have oral sex, glassfrogs pee on their eggs and the gender of bearded dragons is fixed by sex chromosomes or temperature. After reading this book, you’ll never look at nature the same way again.
Releasing 27 July 2020