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How the zebra got its stripes : Darwinian stories told through evolutionary biology

Author: Léo Grasset; Barbara Mellor
Publisher: New York ; London : Pegasus Books, May 2017. ©2017
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : First Pegasus books hardcover editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
"A bright young scientist explains the intricacies of the animal kingdom through the lens of evolutionary biology. Why do giraffes have such long necks? Why are zebras striped? Why does a gazelle evade a hungry cheetah by leaping and bounding along a random path? Deploying the latest scientific research and his own extensive observations in Africa, Léo Grasset offers answers to these questions and many more in a  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Popular works
Miscellanea
Trivia and miscellanea
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Léo Grasset; Barbara Mellor
ISBN: 9781681774145 1681774143 9781681777559 168177755X
OCLC Number: 959872376
Language Note: Translated from the French.
Notes: Translation of: Le coup de la girafe : des savants dans la savane.
Originally published in French: Paris : Éd. du Seuil, 2015.
Description: 154 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 22 cm
Contents: Part I: Evolution in its guises. The female hyena's penis ; The giraffe's long neck ; The random flight of the gazelle ; How the zebra got its stripes --
Part II: The mysteries of animal behaviour. The air-conditioning of the termite mound ; The impala's Mexican waves ; Elephant dictatorship vs buffalo democracy ; The antelope art of sexual manipulation --
Part III: Extraordinary creatures. Dung beetle navigation ; Seismic signalling in the elephants' sound-world ; Honey badger--weapon of mass destruction ; The truth about The lion king --
Part IV: The human factor. How to turn a lion into a cub-killer ; Catastrophic change ; Human evolution and its impact --
Epilogue: The zebras and me.
Other Titles: Coup de la girafe.
Responsibility: Léo Grasset ; [translation by Barbara Mellor].
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Abstract:

"A bright young scientist explains the intricacies of the animal kingdom through the lens of evolutionary biology. Why do giraffes have such long necks? Why are zebras striped? Why does a gazelle evade a hungry cheetah by leaping and bounding along a random path? Deploying the latest scientific research and his own extensive observations in Africa, Léo Grasset offers answers to these questions and many more in a book of post-Darwinian Just So Stories (the classic tales by Rudyard Kipling that offered fanciful accounts of how the features of assorted fauna came to be). Complex natural phenomena are explained in simple and at times comic terms, as Grasset turns evolutionary biology to the burning questions of the animal kingdom, from why elephants prefer dictators and buffaloes democracies, to whether the lion really is king. The human is, of course, just another animal, and the author's exploration of two million years of human evolution illustrates how it not only informs our current habits and behavior, but also reveals that we are hybrids of several different species. Prepare to be fascinated, shocked, and delighted--as well as reliably advised. By the end, you will know, for example, to never hug the beautiful, cuddly honey badger, and what explains its almost psychotic nastiness. This is serious science at its entertaining best"--Jacket.

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