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Variety of Life A Survey and a Celebration of All the Creatures that Have Ever Lived

ISBN-10: 0198503113
ISBN-13: 9780198503118
Edition: 2000
Authors: Colin Tudge
List price: $60.00
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Description: Here, between the covers of one capacious book, is an illustrated summary of all the creatures that have ever lived, a vast compendium of earth's current and former inhabitants in all their dazzling and infinite diversity. Colin Tudge argues that  More...

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Book details

List price: $60.00
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 5/25/2000
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 700
Size: 7.25" wide x 11.00" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 3.982
Language: English

Here, between the covers of one capacious book, is an illustrated summary of all the creatures that have ever lived, a vast compendium of earth's current and former inhabitants in all their dazzling and infinite diversity. Colin Tudge argues that we are entering a new phase of biology in which, for the first time, biologists are achieving profound insight into life's true diversity and developing the tools to keep track of it. The Variety of Life heralds this new phase. The first part of the book describes why biologists now feel that there could have been as many as 4,000 billion species on Earth since life began. It then discusses the need for classification, beginning with the most basic principles--the strictly practical classification of fishmongers and foresters, who speak of "shellfish" and differentiate "hardwood" from "softwood"--and moves on to explore the intriguing deliberations of the modern "transformed cladists" and the novel contributions of molecular genetics. Part II describes the creatures themselves. It is divided into 24 sections, each describing a different group, illustrated by nearly 50 double-page spreads which present genealogical "trees" that summarize the evolutionary relationships between the creatures in each group. Some sections describe large, comprehensive groups such as the kingdoms of the Animals or the Plants. Others treat similar sub-groups in more detail, such as the Mammals, a class, or the Hominids, a family. In lively and accessible prose, all the significant groups of creatures--both alive and extinct--are described and their relationships clarified. For general readers and serious biologists alike, The Variety of Life offers an unprecedented storehouse of knowledge of life on earth.

Colin Tudge is one of Britain's leading science writers. A research fellow at the Centre for Philosophy at the London School of Economics, he is the author of, most recently, "The Second Creation" (FSG, 2000) with Ian Wilmut & Keith Campbell.

So many goodly creatures
Classification and the search for order
The natural order: Darwin's dream and Hennig's solution
Data; Clade, grade, and a plea for neolinnean impressionism
From two kingdoms to three domains
The domain of the prokaryotes: Bacteria and archaea
The domain on the nucleus: The eucaryota
Mushrooms, moulds and lichens: rusts, smut and rot: The kingdom of the fungi
The Animals: Kingdom animalia
Anemones, corals, jellyfish and sea-pens: Phylum cnidaria
Clams and cockles, snails and slugs, octopus and squids: Phylum mollusca
Animals with jointed legs: Phylum arthropoda
Lobsters, crabs, shrimps, barnacles, and many more besides: Subphylum crustacea
The insects: Subphylum insecta
Spiders, scorpions, mites, water-scorpions, horseshoe crabs, and sea spiders: Subphylum chelicerata and subphylum pycnogonida
Starfish and brittle stars, sea urchins and sand dollars, sea lilies, sea daisies and sea cucumbers: Phylum echinodermata
Sea-squirts, lancelets, and vertebrates: Phylum chordata
Sharks, rays and chimaeras: Class chondrichthyes
The ray-finned bony fish: Class actinopterygii
Lobefins and tetrapods: The sarcopterygii
The reptiles: Paraphyletic class reptilia
The mammals: Class mammalia
Lemurs, lorises, tarsiers, monkeys and apes: The order of the primates
Human beings and our immediate relatives: Family hominidae
The birds: Class aves
The modern birds: Subclass neornithes
The plants: Kingdom plantae
The flowering plants: Class angiospermae
Daisies, artichokes, thistles and lettuce: Family compositae alias asteraceae
Epilogue
Index

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