The Origin of Feces: What Excrement Tells Us About Evolution, Ecology, and a Sustainable Society

The Origin of Feces: What Excrement Tells Us About Evolution, Ecology, and a Sustainable Society

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by David Waltner-Toews
     
 

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An entertaining and enlightening exploration of why waste matters, this cultural history explores an often ignored subject matter and makes a compelling argument for a deeper understanding of human and animal waste. Approaching the subject from a variety of perspectives—evolutionary, ecological, and cultural—this examination shows how integral excrement

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Overview

An entertaining and enlightening exploration of why waste matters, this cultural history explores an often ignored subject matter and makes a compelling argument for a deeper understanding of human and animal waste. Approaching the subject from a variety of perspectives—evolutionary, ecological, and cultural—this examination shows how integral excrement is to biodiversity, agriculture, public health, food production and distribution, and global ecosystems. From primordial ooze, dung beetles, bug frass, cat scats, and flush toilets to global trade, pandemics, and energy, this is the awesome, troubled, uncensored story of feces.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As an old joke goes, "A horse, a cow, and a sheep all eat grass, but the sheep excretes pellets, the cow plops out patties, and the horse puts out something that looks like rye buns. Why is that?" Answers to this question and more fill veterinarian and epidemiologist Waltner-Toews's fascinating evolutionary and cultural history of excrement. Aside from cocktail-party tidbits—like how a person in 18th century Japan could be imprisoned for stealing human excrement, or why the poop of sperm whales protects against global warming—this book is also a clear examination of the "wicked problem" excrement poses regarding our health and as a means for "seed dispersal". While overpopulation, "rapid growth in economies of scale in agriculture," and global trade have "created new pathways for the pathogens of excrement," feces are also "essential ingredients that make places what they are." Guiding readers through the "complex challenges" of the effects of human and animal waste, Waltner-Toews (Food, Sex and Salmonella) offers working solutions towards creating a sustainable ecosystem. More than just a "bathroom read", this book offers delightful revelations of the history, evolution, and effects our bowel movements have on our world. (May)
From the Publisher

“David Waltner-Toews picks up the thread with his impassioned treatise on the long, strange, even transcendent afterlife of poop in The Origin of Feces, a book whose cover is guaranteed to make you few friends at the coffee shop.” —Peter Brannan, slate.com

“More than just a “bathroom read”, this book offers delightful revelations of the history, evolution, and effects our bowel movements have on our world.” —Publisher's Weekly

“whether it's a gag gift, a toilet-side alternative to Sudoku or just some light, easily digestible po(o)p-sci fare, The Origin of Feces is sure to be a fun and pungent read.” —Bookish

“an informative book.” —Tom Kenned, Science Spin

“informative and entertaining.” —Alex Good, Quill and Quire

Until you read this, you really won’t know sh*t.”Publisher's Weekly

“This is a rare book in that it offers something for everyone on your Christmas book list: the epidemiologist, the economist, the microbiologist, the anthropologist, sociologist and historian. The classicist will appreciate the numerous knowledgeable references to Roman, Greek and Babylonian culture and mythology, the literary scholar the etymologies and derivations, as well as the quotations from Blake.” —Tim Sly, Literary Review of Canada

“[A]stonishingly readable and interesting.” —Svenska Dagbladet

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781770411166
Publisher:
ECW Press
Publication date:
05/01/2013
Pages:
220
Sales rank:
897,624
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)

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