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Originally published: Consider the birds: who they are and what they do. London: Allen Lane, 2008.
For more than a century, scientists have raced to unravel the human family tree and have grappled with its complications. Now, with an astonishing new discovery, everything we thought we knew about primate origins could change. Lying inside a high-security vault, deep within the heart of one of the world's leading natural history museums, is the scientific find of a lifetime--a perfectly fossilized early primate, older than the previously most famous primate fossil, Lucy, by an astonishing forty-four million years. A secret until now, the fossil--"Ida" to the researchers who have painstakingly verified her provenance--is the most complete primate fossil ever found. Forty-seven million years old, Ida rewrites what we've assumed about the earliest primate origins. Her completeness is unparalleled--so much of what we understand about evolution comes from partial fossils and even single bones, but Ida's fossilization offers much more than that, from a haunting "skin shadow" to her stomach contents. And, remarkably, knowledge of her discovery and existence almost never saw the light of day. With exclusive access to the first scientists to study her, the award-winning science writer Colin Tudge tells the history of Ida and her place in the world. A magnificent, cutting-edge scientific detective story followed her discovery, and The Link offers a wide-ranging investigation into Ida and our earliest origins. At the same time, it opens a stunningly evocative window into our past and changes what we know about primate evolution and, ultimately, our own.
The age of trees often inspires awe, from the redwoods of California to English oaks. We wonder how they live so long, and how they really work - after all, trees provide us with air to breathe, fruits to eat, and wood to build with - and they do the same for thousands of creatures and plants. The Secret Life of Trees explores the way trees work and what they are, finding out how they communicate, how they tell the time, how they came to exist, and much much more. Strange and surprising, this witty and informative book will make everyone fall in love with the trees around them.
From tiny saplings to centuries-old redwoods and desert palms, from the backyards of the American heartland to the rain forests of the Amazon and the bamboo forests, Colin Tudge takes the reader on a journey through history and illuminates our ever-present but often ignored companions. A blend of history, science, philosophy, and environmentalism, The Tree is an engaging and elegant look at the life of the tree and what modern research tells us about their future.
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