As you read these words, Planet Earth teems with trillions of life-forms, each going about its own business: eating, reproducing, thriving . . . Yet, the life of almost every single organism draws nearer to certain death. On the other hand, “suicide” inside the mitochondria that live within us results in the death of millions of cells each second for our own good! Why is death such a universal companion to life on Earth? Why haven't animals evolved to break free of its shackles?
In this wide-ranging exploration of death, Jules Howard attempts to shed evolutionary light on one of our biggest and most unshakable taboos. He visits a salon that's trying to abolish our queasiness over talking about death. He also looks to the nematode, one of the most basic of life-forms, for clues about why near-starvation actually can prolong life. Encountering some of the world's oldest animals, and meeting the scientists attempting to unravel their mysteries, Howard also comes face to face with evolution's outliers--the animals that may one day avoid death altogether.
Written in an engaging style, DEATH ON EARTH's journey ends with the inevitable question: Can we ever become immortal? And if we could, would we really want to?
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
PART 1: THIS IS A DEAD FROG
Chapter 1: Life and Death in the Universe
Chapter 2: Senescence and What Waits for the Lucky Few
Chapter 3: Fear and Loathing in Birchwood
Chapter 4: Free Radicals and the Secrets Within
Chapter 5: This is a Dead Frog
PART 2: THE EXPERIMENTAL PIG PHASE
Chapter 6: The Circus under the Tent
Chapter 7: Sex and Death: The Contract Killer
Chapter 8: Coffee with the Widow-maker
Chapter 9: Suicide, Snowy Owls and the Executioner Insider
Chapter 10: This is Not a Sheep
Chapter 11: The Grotto Salamander and the Guano
Chapter 12: The Horrid Ground-weaver
Chapter 13: Dark Matters
PART 3: JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE SHITATITE
Chapter 14: Bring out your Dead Ants
Chapter 15: Mourning has Broken
Chapter 16: Who Wants to Live Forever?
Chapter 17: No, this is a Dead Frog
Epilogue: The Meaning of the Loa Loa
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A very clear and interesting exploration of topics that I'd never thought much about -- or even heard of, like semelparity. I like books like this one, where I go away smarter than when I started it!