“An extraordinary book…. With clarity and charm [Dunn] takes the reader into the overlap of medicine, ecology, and evolutionary biology to reveal an important domain of the human condition.” —Edward O. Wilson, author of Anthill and The Future of Life
Biologist Rob Dunn reveals the crucial influence that other species have upon our health,our well-being, and our world in The WildLife of Our Bodies—a fascinating tour through the hidden truths of nature and codependence. Dunn illuminates the nuanced, often imperceptible relationships that exist between homo sapiens and other species, relationships that underpin humanity’s ability to thrive and prosper in every circumstance. Readers of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma will be enthralled by Dunn’s powerful, lucid exploration of the role that humankind plays within the greater web of life on Earth.
In this snappy, popular science look at the human condition, North Carolina State biologist Dunn (Every Living Thing) argues that our lives and our bodily functions (including the immune system) are intimately linked to species that live on and around us. Dunn offers lots of eye-popping biological tidbits such as how worms may set you free if you suffer from a variety of stomach disorders; or the supposedly useless appendix actually helps the microbes in our guts; and scary movies satisfy our brain parts that still tell us we're being chased by predators. Ticks and lice may have triggered our relatively hairless evolution. Yet there's far more than fun facts; Dunn begs us to look toward a future in which we interact more with the species we have moved away from. Dunn challenges us to view a "web of life in which we evolved, that once shaped us and whose rediscovery could benefit our bodies and our health."
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The kind of cross functional analysis that bridges worthy science with other worthy science
I greatly enjoyed Rob Dunn's examination of evolution in the context all the other species involved in the process. His prose is accessible and engaging. The research is thorough and well documented with a hefty chapter of footnotes detailing modern explorations that escape the pop science headlines of Internet culture. The concluding chapter offers something that smells like hope after the stink of doom that marks most screeds on environmental futures