Now the subject of a feature film that the New York Times calls "spellbinding" How does life work? How does nature produce the right numbers of zebras and lions on the African savanna, or fish in the ocean? How do our bodies produce the right numbers of cells in our organs and bloodstream? In The Serengeti Rules, award-winning biologist and author Sean Carroll tells the stories of the pioneering scientists who sought the answers to such simple yet profoundly important questions, and shows how their discoveries matter for our health and the health of the planet we depend upon. One of the most important revelations about the natural world is that everything is regulated—there are rules that regulate the amount of every molecule in our bodies and rules that govern the numbers of every animal and plant in the wild. And the most surprising revelation about the rules that regulate life at such different scales is that they are remarkably similar—there is a common underlying logic of life. Carroll recounts how our deep knowledge of the rules and logic of the human body has spurred the advent of revolutionary life-saving medicines, and makes the compelling case that it is now time to use the Serengeti Rules to heal our ailing planet. A bold and inspiring synthesis by one of our most accomplished biologists and gifted storytellers, The Serengeti Rules is the first book to illuminate how life works at vastly different scales. Read it and you will never look at the world the same way again.
"Fascinating and exhilarating—Sean B. Carroll at his very best."—Bill Bryson, author of The Body: A Guide for Occupants From acclaimed writer and biologist Sean B. Carroll, a rollicking, awe-inspiring story of the surprising power of chance in our lives and the world Why is the world the way it is? How did we get here? Does everything happen for a reason or are some things left to chance? Philosophers and theologians have pondered these questions for millennia, but startling scientific discoveries over the past half century are revealing that we live in a world driven by chance. A Series of Fortunate Events tells the story of the awesome power of chance and how it is the surprising source of all the beauty and diversity in the living world. Like every other species, we humans are here by accident. But it is shocking just how many things—any of which might never have occurred—had to happen in certain ways for any of us to exist. From an extremely improbable asteroid impact, to the wild gyrations of the Ice Age, to invisible accidents in our parents' gonads, we are all here through an astonishing series of fortunate events. And chance continues to reign every day over the razor-thin line between our life and death. This is a relatively small book about a really big idea. It is also a spirited tale. Drawing inspiration from Monty Python, Kurt Vonnegut, and other great thinkers, and crafted by one of today's most accomplished science storytellers, A Series of Fortunate Events is an irresistibly entertaining and thought-provoking account of one of the most important but least appreciated facts of life.
From famed zoologist Anthony Sinclair, an account of his decades-long quest to understand one of Earth's most spectacular ecosystems With its rich biodiversity, astounding wildlife, and breathtaking animal migrations, Serengeti is like no other ecosystem on the planet. A Place Like No Other is Anthony Sinclair's firsthand account of how he and other scientists discovered the biological principles that regulate life in Serengeti, and how those same principles are the rules by which the natural world works. When Sinclair first began studying this spectacular ecosystem in 1965, a host of questions confronted him. What environmental features make its annual migration possible? What determines the size of animal populations and the stunning diversity of species? What factors enable Serengeti to endure over time? In the five decades that followed, Sinclair and others sought answers. What they learned is that seven principles of regulation govern all natural processes in the Serengeti ecosystem. Sinclair shows how these principles can help us to understand and overcome the challenges facing Serengeti today, and how they can be used to repair damaged habitats throughout the world. Blending vivid storytelling with invaluable scientific insights from Sinclair's pioneering fieldwork in Africa, A Place Like No Other reveals how Serengeti holds timely lessons for the restoration and conservation of our vital ecosystems.
The wildebeest migration, like a discernible thread, embraces and connects the Serengeti's ecosystem much as it has done for at least two million years. Upon the migration u and the rains u almost all things depend. Every year, with some seasonally dictated variations in timing and scale, over one million wildebeest leave the southern Serengeti's short grass plains in search of the grass and water they need to survive. During their annual pilgrimage they will travel some 2,000 miles devouring 4,000 tonnes of grass a day. A quarter of a million will be born; many will die. To the outsider it may appear to be a senseless exercise. Flooded rivers will be crossed with many wildebeest drowning. Calves will die u or be lost u crossing rain-swollen rivers and lakes. Diseases, poachers and predators will contribute to thinning the herds.