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Publisher's Summary

From star-nosed moles that have super-sensing snouts to electric eels that paralyze their prey, animals possess unique and extraordinary abilities. In Great Adaptations, Kenneth Catania presents an entertaining and engaging look at some of nature's most remarkable creatures. Telling the story of his biological detective work, Catania sheds light on the mysteries behind the behaviors of tentacled snakes, tiny shrews, zombie-making wasps, and more. He shows not only how studying these animals can provide deep insights into how life evolved, but also how scientific discovery can be filled with adventure and fun.

Beginning with the star-nosed mole, Catania reveals what the creature's nasal star is actually for and what this tells us about how brains work. He explores how the deceptive hunting strategy of tentacled snakes leads prey straight to their mouths, how eels use electricity to control other animals, and why emerald jewel wasps make zombies out of cockroaches. He also solves the enigma of worm grunting - a traditional technique in which earthworms are enticed out of the ground - by teaming up with professional worm grunters. Catania demonstrates the merits of approaching science with an open mind, considers the role played by citizen scientists, and illustrates that most animals have incredible, hidden abilities that defy our imagination.

©2020 Princeton University Press (P)2020 Tantor

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-11-2020

Excellently written!

This book is written so engagingly, with a wonderful warm sense of humor and a fabulous excitement that the author has regarding nature and biology, that I think even non scientific minded people would just adore the book. I loved the way the author told the story, it is so good, that I listened all the way through in spite of the narrator. I think the narrator, Chris Sorenson, needs more coaching to help rid him of his sing song delivery. Every line is delivered like a punch line with the same up down inflection. I hate to give bad reviews for someone, but I think Mr. Sorenson needs to learn how to read more naturally, and save the punch line affectation for when there really is one.

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  • joshua divelbiss
  • 10-01-2021

Narrator is terrible.

Was so excited about this book. 3 minutes in the narrator had ruined it for me. Obnoxious.

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