Infinite Life: A Revolutionary Story of Eggs, Evolution and Life on Earth

Infinite Life: A Revolutionary Story of Eggs, Evolution and Life on Earth

By: Jules Howard

ISBN: 9781783968275
eBook ISBN: 9781783967780
Cover: Paperback
Published: May 9, 2024
Size: 235x156mm
Page Count: 288

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Every animal on the planet owes its existence to one crucial piece of evolutionary engineering: the egg.

It’s time to tell a new story of life on Earth.

‘Jules Howard’s egg’s-eye view of evolution is dripping with fascinating insights’ ALICE ROBERTS

‘So much passion and poetic prose’ BBC Radio 4, Inside Science

If you think of an egg, what do you see in your mind’s eye? A chicken egg, hard-boiled? A slimy mass of frogspawn? Perhaps you see a human egg cell, prepared on a microscope slide in a laboratory? Or the majestic marble-blue eggs of the blackbird?

Every egg there has ever been, is an emblem of survival. Yet the evolution of the animal egg is the dramatic subplot missing in many accounts of how life on Earth came to be. Quite simply, without this universal biological phenomenon, animals as we know them, including us, could not have evolved and flourished.

In Infinite Life, zoology correspondent Jules Howard takes the reader on a mind-bending journey from the churning coastlines of the Cambrian Period and Carboniferous coal forests, where insects were stirring, to the end of the age of dinosaurs when live-birthing mammals began their modern rise to power. Eggs would evolve from out of the sea; be set by animals into soils, sands, canyons and mudflats; be dropped in nests wrapped in silk; hung in stick nests in trees, covered in crystallised shells or secured by placentas.

Whether belonging to birds, insects, mammals or millipedes, animal eggs are objects that have been shaped by their ecology, forged by mass extinctions and honed by natural selection to near-perfection. Finally, the epic story of their role in the tapestry of life can be told.

‘In a book that brilliantly evokes past eras, Howard provides a new perspective on the history of life on Earth.’ The Mail on Sunday

  • ‘One of my favourite science writers’


    - Lucy Cooke, author of Bitch: A Revolutionary Guide to Sex, Evolution and the Female Animal
  • ‘Jules Howard’s egg’s-eye view of evolution is dripping with fascinating insights’

     


    - Alice Roberts, author of Ancestors
  • ‘A startlingly beautiful exploration of evolution’s crucibles of creation’


    - Rebecca Wragg Sykes, author of Kindred
  • ‘Mind-bending in the best possible ways … a joy to read’

     


    - Helen Scales, author of The Brilliant Abyss
  • ‘Finally, the egg gets the recognition it deserves in this wonderfully evocative telling of its journey through time and place’ 

     


    - Gaia Vince, author of Nomad Century and Transcendence
  • ‘This is as fun and engaging as science writing gets, and by the end of the book, it’s astounding how much you’ve learned about the history of life.’


    - Steve Brusatte, author of The Rise and Reign of the Mammals
  • ‘So much passion and poetic prose ‘


    - BBC Radio 4, Inside Science
  • ‘Focusing on the oology in zoology, Infinite Life retells the history of life, this time from the perspective of the almighty egg.’


    - The Inquisitive Biologist
  • ‘In a book that brilliantly evokes past eras, Howard provides a new perspective on the history of life on Earth.’


    - The Mail on Sunday

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