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Sleeping beauties : the mystery of dormant innovations in nature and culture

ISBN: 9780861548064
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Oneworld (UBD)
Origin: GB
Release Date: July, 2024

Book Details

Life innovates constantly, producing perfectly adapted species, but there’s a catch. Many animals and plants eke out seemingly unremarkable lives. Passive, constrained, modest, threatened. Then, in a blink of evolutionary time, they flourish spectacularly. Once we start to look, these ‘sleeping beauties’ crop up everywhere. But why? Looking at the book of life, from apex predators to keystone crops & informed by his own cutting-edge experiments, renowned scientist Andreas Wagner demonstrates that innovations can come frequently and cheaply to nature, well before they are needed. We have found prehistoric bacteria that harbour the remarkable ability to fight off 21st-century antibiotics. Human history fits the pattern too, as life-changing technologies are invented only to be forgotten, languishing in the shadows before they finally take off. In probing the mysteries of these sleeping beauties, Wagner reveals a crucial part of nature’s rich and strange tapestry.