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The Story of Life in 10½ Chapters

The Story of Life in 10½ Chapters

Marianne Taylor

Available from 8 July 2021. An exploration of the key aspects of life on Earth - now and in the future - through the study of 10 and a half species.

If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This is the thought-provoking premise of Marianne Taylor's The Story of Life in 10½ Chapters. Each life form explains a key aspect about life on Earth. From the sponge that seems to be a plant but is really an animal to the almost extinct soft-shelled turtle deemed extremely unique and therefore extremely precious, these examples reveal how life itself is arranged across time and space, and how humanity increasingly dominates that vision.

Taylor, a prolific science writer, considers the chemistry of a green plant and ponders the possibility of life beyond our world.

She investigates the virus in an attempt to determine what a life form is; and wonders if the human - 'a distinct and very dominant species with an inevitably biased view of life' - could evolve in a new direction. She tells us that the giraffe was one species, but is now four; that the dusky seaside sparrow may be revived through 're-evolution', or cloning; explains the significance of Darwin's finch to evolution; and much more. The 'half' species is artificial intelligence. Itself an experiment to understand and model life, AI is central to our future - although from the alien visitor's standpoint, unlikely to inherit the earth in the long run. 256 pages.

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Hardback £20.00 £17.99

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