Taking Flight: The Evolutionary Story of Life on the Wing
By: Lev Parikian
‘This book soars… Parikian is a nature writer at the top of his game.’ Steve Brusatte, author of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
This is the miracle of flight as you’ve never seen it before: the evolutionary story of life on the wing.
A bird flits overhead. It’s an everyday occurrence, repeated hundreds, thousands, millions of times daily by creatures across the world. It’s something so normal, so entirely taken for granted, that sometimes we forget how extraordinary it is. But take that in for a moment. This animal flies. It. Flies.
The miracle of flight has evolved in hugely diverse ways, with countless variations of flapping and gliding, hovering and diving, murmurating and migrating.
Conjuring lost worlds, ancient species and ever-shifting ecologies, this exhilarating new book is a mesmerising encounter with fourteen flying species: from the first fluttering insect of 300 million years ago to the crested pterosaurs of the Mesozoic Era, from hummingbirds that co-evolved with rainforest flowers to the wonders of dragonfly, albatross, pipistrelle and monarch butterfly with which we share the planet today.
Taking Flight is a mind-expanding feat of the imagination, a close encounter with flight in its myriad forms, urging us to look up and drink in the spectacle of these gravity-defying marvels that continue to shape life on Earth.
‘[Lev Parikian] brings a sense of infectious enthusiasm to his account of the evolution of flight in the natural world, from mayflies and bees to bats and hummingbirds by way of pterosaurs and archaeopteryx, combining a wealth of information with a sense of wonder.’ The Observer
‘This accessible account of the animal kingdom’s development of flight exhibits a layman’s enthusiasm for an everyday wonder.’ Rebecca Foster, TLS
‘This book soars. Lev Parikian illuminates one of the most magical mysteries of the natural world: how birds, bats, and insects break the bounds of Earth and fly through the heavens… Parikian is a nature writer at the top of his game.’
- Steve Brusatte, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
‘As dashing as a swallowtail, as colourful as a hummingbird… An illuminating book written with Lev’s characteristic warmth, I didn’t want this flight to end.’
- Jon Dunn, author of The Glitter in the Green
‘Lev Parikian’s writing – about the extraordinary wonders of flight – is as magical and uplifting as the aerial dynamics of our tiniest insects and birds.’
- Ann Pettifor, author of The Case for the New Green Deal