The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms

The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms

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by Amy Stewart
     
 

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In The Earth Moved, Amy Stewart takes us on a journey through the underground world and introduces us to one of its most amazing denizens. The earthworm may be small, spineless, and blind, but its impact on the ecosystem is profound. It ploughs the soil, fights plant diseases, cleans up pollution, and turns ordinary dirt into fertile land. Who knew?

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Overview

In The Earth Moved, Amy Stewart takes us on a journey through the underground world and introduces us to one of its most amazing denizens. The earthworm may be small, spineless, and blind, but its impact on the ecosystem is profound. It ploughs the soil, fights plant diseases, cleans up pollution, and turns ordinary dirt into fertile land. Who knew?

In her witty, offbeat style, Stewart shows that much depends on the actions of the lowly worm. Charles Darwin devoted his last years to the meticulous study of these creatures, praising their remarkable abilities. With the august scientist as her inspiration, Stewart investigates the worm's subterranean realm, talks to oligochaetologists—the unsung heroes of earthworm science—who have devoted their lives to unearthing the complex life beneath our feet, and observes the thousands of worms in her own garden. From the legendary giant Australian worm that stretches to ten feet in length to the modest nightcrawler that wormed its way into the heart of Darwin's last book to the energetic red wigglers in Stewart's compost bin, The Earth Moved gives worms their due and exposes their hidden and extraordinary universe. This book is for all of us who appreciate Mother Nature's creatures, no matter how humble.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
"You know a book is good when you actually welcome one of those howling days of wind and sleet that makes going out next to impossible”
The New York Times
San Francisco Chronicle
“Stewart’s fascination with her subject is infectious, her writing as simple and sleek as the earthworm itself.”
San Francisco Chronicle
Entertainment Weekly
“Using Darwin’s research as a starting point, [Stewart] delves into their incredible abilities and offers useful tips for the green thumbs in her audience.”
Entertainment Weekly
From the Publisher
“Using Darwin’s research as a starting point, [Stewart] delves into their incredible abilities and offers useful tips for the green thumbs in her audience.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Stewart provides a well-informed gardener’s-eye view of the extraordinary achievements of earthworms—the movers of the earth. . . . Heather Henderson’s narration makes the topics sound friendly and familiar.”
AudioFile

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565124684
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
03/11/2005
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
304,484
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.63(d)

Read an Excerpt

8 Bizarre Facts About Earthworms

The earthworm may be small, spineless, and blind, but its impact on the ecosystem is profound. Now, thanks to Amy Stewart, author of THE EARTH MOVED, earthworms of the world can stand a little taller.

  • Worms' ancestors date back over 250 million years. They survived two mass extinctions, including the one that killed the dinosaurs.
  • There are over 4,500 species of earth worms and many more species have not yet been identified and cataloged.
  • Worms are hermaphrodites. To mate, they line up head to tail and can stay that way for several hours.
  • If you cut a worm in half, you will not get two worms; however, the end that contains the head will usually grow a new tail.
  • Charles Darwin played the piano for worms, to see how they react to different notes. He breathed on them with various scents on his breath to see how they would react to different smells.
  • A giant earthworm in the Pacific Northwest measures two or three feet long and secretes a mucus that smells just like lilies.
  • An ordinary nightcrawler lives about five years. Giant Australian worms live over twenty years.
  • Earthworms have been used as bioindicators to identify soil pollutants. They have also been fed pollutant-degrading bacteria, which they carry far below ground in pollution clean-up projects.

    Who knew?

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