biology

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Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms: The Story of the Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind by Richard Fortey

Instead of studying fossils of long dead critters like any respectable paleontologist Fortey focuses on the survivors—“messengers from deep geological time”--that should not have survived at least 5 mass extinctions. There are the titular horseshoe crabs and velvet worms, of course, but also jellyfish, clams, bacteria and “slimy mounds” (stromatolites). And we must not forget the cockroach. Like a wise old grandfather who knows all things old and fascinating (and much more besides) Fortey guides us through 4 billion years of life.

Adventures Among Ants by Mark W. Moffett

Science writing at its best, myrmecologist Moffat shares his passion for a species adept at exploiting the most bizarre niches of the environment. Exquisitely illustrated with the author's color photographs we join a gigantic sortee of marauder ants in India, observe weaver ants spinning silk in order to bind leaves together to make a nest, and watch dumbfounded as a species in Brunei dives into pitcher plants to "fish" for drowned insects.

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