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

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  127 Ratings  ·  8 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
Hardcover, 684 pages
Published May 25th 2000 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Nov 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 02, 2011 added it
Recommends it for: Those interested in biology and evolution.
Recommended to Steve by: Sciency & Inquiry Group
Shelves: science, evolution
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
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-biology
A very thorough and complete book about taxonomy and biodiversity. It covers topics such as Carl Woese's revolutionary classification system, and although it is a relatively old book, the information that it provides about taxonomy is more current than every other academic book that I have ever read. I especially liked how 37 different 'kingdoms' have been discussed in the book, in contrast to the 5 kingdom system that is generally thought in most universities.
Please note that certain chapters o
Jan 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Did you read the sub-title? A nearly incredible accomplishment. A spirited reading/reference book that I pick up very regularly.
Victoria Rice
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zoology
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!
Unletteredscribbler Chavez
Jan 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 17, 2007 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.
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book sits proudly on my bookshelf. I found this almost magical. It really does make you apppreciate the true variety of life.
Kevin Gielen
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Colin Tudge was educated at Dulwich College, 1954-61; and read zoology at Peterhouse, Cambridge, 1962-65.

Since 1965 he has worked on journals such as World Medicine, New Scientist and Pan, the newspaper of the World Food Conference held in Rome, 1974.

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
More about Colin Tudge...

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“The prime motive of science is not to control the Universe but to appreciate it more fully. It is a huge privilege to live on Earth and to share it with so many goodly and fantastic creatures.” 0 likes
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