Every Living Thing: Man's Obsessive Quest to Catalog Life, from Nanobacteria to New Monkeys
Biologists and laypeople alike have repeatedly claimed victory over life. A thousand years ago we thought we knew almost everything; a hundred years ago, too. But even today, Rob Dunn argues, discoveries we can't yet imagine still await.
In a series of vivid portraits of single-minded scientists, Dunn traces the history of human discovery, from the establishment of classification in the eighteenth century to today's attempts to find life in space. The narrative telescopes from a scientist's attempt to find one single thing (a rare ant-emulating beetle species) to another scientist's attempt to find everything in a small patch of jungle in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. With poetry and humor, Dunn reminds readers how tough and exhilarating it is to study the natural world, and why it matters.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
I really enjoyed this book, which looks at scientists through the ages, many of whom are more than a little bit dotty. Especially Linnaeus, of course. I learned a lot about archaea and nanobacteria (or maybe nanons, the jury's still out on the ultimate nomenclature), but mostly this book is about hubris, about the depth and breadth of our ignorance, and about those visionaries clutching guttering candles in the dark. Dunn is humorous without being snarky, respectful without being obsequious, and a damn fine writer. He points out with a certain degree of asperity how, in science, it seems true that whatever everyone knows for certain is sure to be proven false later. Highly recommended for anyone interested in life itself, in all its mysterious and magnificent forms, of which we may be the least interesting after all.
Review: Every Living Thing: Man's Obsessive Quest to Catalog Life, from Nanobacteria to New MonkeysUser Review - Goodreads
This book came recommended by a colleague. The author explores the personalities of biological discovery, especially those associated with taxonomy and biodiversity. Including Linnaeus, Antonine von ...