Restless Creatures: The Story of Life in Ten Movements

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9781785780455: Restless Creatures: The Story of Life in Ten Movements

From flying pterodactyls to walking primates, the story of life as told through the evolution of locomotion.
Most of us never think about how we get from one place to another. For most people, putting one foot in front of the other requires no thought at all. Yet the fact that we and other species are able to do so is one of the great triumphs of evolution. To truly understand how life evolved on Earth, it is crucial to understand movement. Restless Creatures makes the bold new argument that the true story of evolution is the story of locomotion, from the first stirrings of bacteria to the amazing feats of Olympic athletes.

By retracing the four-billion-year history of locomotion, evolutionary biologist Matt Wilkinson shows how the physical challenges of moving from place to place-when coupled with the implacable logic of natural selection-offer a uniquely powerful means of illuminating the living world. Whales and dolphins look like fish because they have been molded by the constraints of underwater locomotion. The unbending physical needs of flight have brought bats, birds, and pterodactyls to strikingly similar anatomies. Movement explains why we have opposable thumbs, why moving can make us feel good, how fish fins became limbs, and even why-classic fiction notwithstanding-there are no flying monkeys nor animals with wheels. Even plants aren't immune from locomotion's long reach: their seeds, pollen, and very form are all determined by their aptitude to disperse.

From sprinting cheetah to spinning maple fruit, soaring albatross to burrowing worm, crawling amoeba to running human-all are the way they are because of how they move. There is a famous saying: "nothing in biology makes sense unless in the light of evolution." As Wilkinson makes clear: little makes sense unless in the light of locomotion. A powerful yet accessible work of evolutionary biology, Restless Creatures is the essential guide for understanding how life on Earth was shaped by the simple need to move from point A to point B.

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Most of us never think about how we get from one place to another. For most people, putting one foot in front of the other requires no thought at all. Yet the fact that we and other species are able to do so is one of the great triumphs of evolution. To truly understand how life evolved on Earth, it is crucial to understand movement. "Restless Creatures" makes the bold new argument that the true story of evolution is the story of locomotion, from the first stirrings of bacteria to the amazing feats of Olympic athletes.
By retracing the four-billion-year history of locomotion, evolutionary biologist Matt Wilkinson shows how the physical challenges of moving from place to placewhen coupled with the implacable logic of natural selectionoffer a uniquely powerful means of illuminating the living world. Whales and dolphins look like fish because they have been molded by the constraints of underwater locomotion. The unbending physical needs of flight have brought bats, birds, and pterodactyls to strikingly similar anatomies. Movement explains why we have opposable thumbs, why moving can make us feel good, how fish fins became limbs, and even whyclassic fiction notwithstandingthere are no flying monkeys nor animals with wheels. Even plants aren t immune from locomotion s long reach: their seeds, pollen, and very form are all determined by their aptitude to disperse.
From sprinting cheetah to spinning maple fruit, soaring albatross to burrowing worm, crawling amoeba to running humanall are the way they are because of how they move. There is a famous saying: nothing in biology makes sense unless in the light of evolution. As Wilkinson makes clear: little makes sense unless in the light of locomotion. A powerful yet accessible work of evolutionary biology, "Restless Creatures" is the essential guide for understanding how life on Earth was shaped by the simple need to move from point A to point B.
"

About the Author:

Matt Wilkinson is a science writer and biologist in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge. He lives in Cambridge, UK.

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Book Description Icon Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A billion-year history of movement, from bacteria to Olympic athletes. Packed with revelations, scholarly but clear, Restless Creatures carries you from the kinetics of the amoeba to that of the blue whale, from the swim-cycle of spermatozoa, to why skipping works best on the moon. A pop-science treat. Gavin Francis, author of Adventures in Human Being Despite the overwhelming diversity of life on earth, one theme has dominated its evolution: the apparently simple act of moving from one place to another. Restless Creatures is the first book for a general audience telling the incredible story of locomotion in human and animal evolution. Evolutionary biologist Matt Wilkinson traces this 4-billion-year history, showing why our ancestors became two-legged, how movement explains why we have opposable thumbs and a backbone, how fish fins became limbs, how even trees are locomotion-obsessed, and how movement has shaped our minds as well as our bodies. He explains why there are no flying monkeys or biological wheels, how dinosaurs took to the air, how Mexican waves were the making of the animal kingdom, and why moving can make us feel good. Restless Creatures opens up an astonishing new perspective - that little in evolution makes sense unless in the light of movement. Bookseller Inventory # AA99781785780455

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Book Description Icon Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A billion-year history of movement, from bacteria to Olympic athletes. Packed with revelations, scholarly but clear, Restless Creatures carries you from the kinetics of the amoeba to that of the blue whale, from the swim-cycle of spermatozoa, to why skipping works best on the moon. A pop-science treat. Gavin Francis, author of Adventures in Human Being Despite the overwhelming diversity of life on earth, one theme has dominated its evolution: the apparently simple act of moving from one place to another. Restless Creatures is the first book for a general audience telling the incredible story of locomotion in human and animal evolution. Evolutionary biologist Matt Wilkinson traces this 4-billion-year history, showing why our ancestors became two-legged, how movement explains why we have opposable thumbs and a backbone, how fish fins became limbs, how even trees are locomotion-obsessed, and how movement has shaped our minds as well as our bodies. He explains why there are no flying monkeys or biological wheels, how dinosaurs took to the air, how Mexican waves were the making of the animal kingdom, and why moving can make us feel good. Restless Creatures opens up an astonishing new perspective - that little in evolution makes sense unless in the light of movement. Bookseller Inventory # AA99781785780455

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