France’s brightest young scientist lucidly explains the intricacies of the animal kingdom through the lens of evolutionary biology.
Why do giraffes have such long necks? Why are zebras striped? And why does the clitoris of the female hyena exactly resemble and in most respects function like the male's penis?
Deploying the latest scientific research and his own extensive observations in Africa, Léo Grasset offers answers to these questions and many more in a book of post-Darwinian Just So stories. Complex natural phenomena are explained in simple and at times comic terms, as Grasset turns evolutionary biology to the burning questions of the animal kingdom, from why elephants prefer dictators and buffaloes democracies, to whether the lion really is king.
The human is, of course, just another animal, and the author's exploration of two million years of human evolution shows how it not only informs our current habits and behavior, but reveals that we are hybrids of several different species.
Prepare to be fascinated, shocked and delighted, as well as reliably advised — by the end, you will know to never hug the beautiful, cuddly honey badger, and what explains its almost psychotic nastiness.
Léo Grasset is a brilliant young French punk scientist par excellence, founder of Dirty Biology and author of the blog Dans les testicules de Darwin, devoted to biology, testosterone, and rock 'n' roll (danslestesticulesdedarwin.blogspot.uk). He has an excellent web presence (17,000 followers on Twitter) and is one of France's leading up-and-coming evolutionary biologists.
"Charming ‘just so’ stories. Now and again Grasset finds order and coherence in the natural world. But Grasset is also sharply aware of those points where the cause-and-effect logic of scientific description cannot show the whole picture. He has even more fun describing the occasions when, frankly, nature goes nuts."
– New Scientist
"Grasset adopts a breezily entertaining approach that avoids flippancy, aiming to popularize evolutionary biology."
– Publishers Weekly
"The individual chapters offer tantalizing tidbits of often heady information, which should pique the interest of readers looking for something meatier than typical pop science."
"Popular science fans will find this a breezy, enjoyable read."