“If you have any interest in life beyond your own, you should read this book.”
—Paul R. Ehrlich, author of The Dominant Animal
Biologist Rob Dunn’s Every Little Thing is the story of man’s obsessive quest to catalog life, from nanobacteria to new monkeys. In the tradition of E.O. Wilson, this engaging and fascinating work of popular science follows humanity’s unending quest to discover every living thing in our natural world—from the unimaginably small in the most inhospitable of places on earth to the unimaginably far away in the unexplored canals on Mars.
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About the Author
Rob Dunn is an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at North Carolina State University and the author of several books, including Every Living Thing. A rising star in popular-science journalism, he writes for National Geographic, Natural History, Scientific American, BBC Wildlife, and Seed magazine. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with many thousands of wild species, including at least one species of mite living on his head.
Table of Contents
Preface E. O. Wilson ix
Part I Beginnings
1 What We All Used to Know 3
2 Common Names 23
3 The Invisible World 40
Part II Fogging (The Tree of Life)
4 The Apostles 59
5 Finding Everything 87
6 Finding an Ant-Riding Beetle 111
Part III Roots
7 Dividing the Cell 133
8 Grafting the Tree of Life 149
9 Symbiotic Cells on the Seafloor 165
10 Origin Stories 181
Part IV Other Worlds
11 Looking Out 193
12 To Squeeze Life from a Stone 209
13 The Wrong Elephant? 224
14 What Remains 246
What People are Saying About This
“If you have any interest in life beyond your own, you should read this book...Between the covers of EVERY LIVING THING you’ll learn both about life’s amazing diversity and that process of their discovery. Savor this fascinating volume and then help to preserve life’s wonders.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
More than anything, this is a book about the thirst for knowledge, about the indomitable desire to know more, about the insatiable curiosity that drives the most passionate scientists. Not so much a story of life as a series of stories of scientists. Vaguely obsessed, not entirely normal, they could have walked right out of The Big Bang Theory, and yet just like the TBBT characters, they are lovable and you can't help rooting for them. Dunn tells us about scientists with all their hubris and flaw, and all their simultaneous passion, in a style that adds a healthy dose of irony and a deadpan delivery that turns what could seem like boring stories of ants and beetle into hilarious snapshots of life.Of particular amusement to me, as someone who lives with Asperger's syndrome, were repeated moments by Dunn where he wonders about how it is possible for someone to become so incredibly obsessed with small things to the exclusion of all others. I had to constantly repress the need to figuratively grab the man by the lapels and shake him until his teeth fell out.
This is a great journey through our desire to name all creatures and highlights some of the chaaracters who have contributed to our progress. Well written and very accessible, this book puts the concept and concern for biodiversity in context. Dunn's recounting of these researchers and their ideas also provides great insight into the process of science and its interface with society. Highly recommended.