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Lost Animals
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About the Author

JOHN WHITFIELD, a PhD in zoology from the University of Cambridge, has written articles for Science, Scientific American, New Scientist, Slate and the London Review of Books in his 20-year career as a science journalist. At the journal Nature, he has covered topics on evolution, ecology, and conservation. John is the author of two popular science books, People Will Talk: The Surprising Science of Reputation and In the Beat of a Heart: Life, Energy and the Unity of Nature.

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BOOKLIST

"When life on Earth seems caught in turmoil and uncertainty, a look to the past can help gain
perspective. Writer, zoologist, and scientific journalist Whitfield takes readers on a millennia-long
exploration of the planet. Beginning with the earliest animals found in the sea to their emergence
on land and to the sky, he highlights some of Earth's most resilient, bizarre, and unknown
creatures. Readers will discover the Dickinsonia, a segmented worm-like animal that lived in the
sea about 560 million years ago and is possibly the oldest animal discovered; the Maganuera, a
dragonfly-like insect that had a wingspan over two feet long; and the saber-toothed marsupial
Thylacosmilus. Whitfield organizes the over 500 million years covered here into five periods of
devastating extinction, explaining how "one species' catastrophe is another's opportunity. Each
creates space for something new." He concludes with a look at how humans may be causing a
sixth mass extinction today. This incredibly interesting scientific journey takes a critical look at
the effects of human behavior and what must be done now to change course." - Melissa Norstedt

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