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The Variety of Life: A Survey and a Celebration of All the Creatures that Have Ever Lived
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The Variety of Life: A Survey and a Celebration of All the Creatures that Have Ever Lived

4.39 of 5 stars 4.39  ·  rating details  ·  51 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Here, between the covers of one capacious book, is an illustrated summary of all the creatures that have ever lived, a vast compendium of earth's current and former inhabitants in all their dazzling and infinite diversity.
Colin Tudge argues that we are entering a new phase of biology in which, for the first time, biologists are achieving profound insight into life's true...more
Hardcover, 684 pages
Published May 25th 2000 by Oxford University Press, USA
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This is one of those books you *can't* read cover-to-cover -- it's made for hours upon hours of dipping into the delicious details, sampling the forms life has taken down through the aeons and the intricate branchings of Earth's 4-billion year old Tree of Life. Rather than giving exhaustive studies of genera and species of organisms, the author describes the major taxa -- kingdoms, phyla, classes and divisions, orders, and families -- of Earth's countless creatures, and the ways in which they ar...more
Steve Van Slyke
Aug 30, 2011 Steve Van Slyke added it
Recommends it for: Those interested in biology and evolution.
Recommended to Steve by: Sciency & Inquiry Group
Shelves: evolution, science
In other readings on evolution and biology I kept running into the classification methodology known as cladistics. In most if not all cases, those books or online sources all assumed a knowledge of the rules and terminology of cladistics and it was difficult at times for me (64 and not a scientist) to follow what was being said.

This book starts out with wonderful analogies to help explain both the development and terminology of cladistics starting with Aristotle and continuing through Owen, Dar...more
Unletteredscribbler Chavez
I never get tired of this book. Hoping for a revised edition showing all we've learned over the past decade or so. It's animal-centric, but considering the audience that's forgivable.
This book sits proudly on my bookshelf. I found this almost magical. It really does make you apppreciate the true variety of life.
Victoria Rice
Great book, very well laid out and a breeze to read. Bought it in my first year of university and it was a handy reference book and nice to flick through!
Dec 17, 2007 Rward is currently reading it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in evolution and the history and diversity of life
I have learned a lot about the diversity of life, the history of ideas around this and also the evolutionary relationships of organisms.
Did you read the sub-title? A nearly incredible accomplishment. A spirited reading/reference book that I pick up very regularly.
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Colin Tudge was educated at Dulwich College, 1954-61; and read zoology at Peterhouse, Cambridge, 1962-65.

Ever since then he has earned a living by spasmodic broadcasting and a lot of writing—mainly books these days, but with occasional articles. He has a special interest in natural history in general, evolution and genetics, food and agriculture, and spends a great deal of time on philosophy (esp...more
More about Colin Tudge...
The Tree: A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live & Why They Matter The Link: Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor The Bird: A Natural History of Who Birds Are, Where They Came From & How They Live The Time Before History Neanderthals, Bandits and Farmers: How Agriculture Really Began

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