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Natural History

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  1. 10.6 hrs • 8/1/2016 • Unabridged

    A brilliantly engaging guide to the reproductive habits of creatures great and small, based on the author’s popular web series Wild Sex, which has received over fourteen million views Birds do it, bees do it―every member of the animal kingdom does it, from fruit flies to blue whales. But if you think humans have a tough time dating, try having to do it while being hunted down by predators against a backdrop of unpredictable and life-threatening conditions. The animal kingdom is a wild place—and it’s got mating habits to match. The sex lives of our animal cousins are fiendishly difficult, infinitely varied, often incredibly violent—and absolutely fascinating. In Wild Sex, Dr. Carin Bondar takes listeners on an enthralling tour of the animal kingdom as she explores the diverse world of sex in the wild. She looks at the evolution of sexual organs (and how they’ve shaped social hierarchies), tactics of seduction, and the mechanics of sex. She investigates a wide range of topics, from whether animals experience pleasure from sex to what happens when females hold the reproductive power. Along the way, she encounters razor-sharp penises, murderous carnal cannibals, and spontaneous chemical warfare in an epic battle between the sexes. The resulting book is titillating, exhilarating, amusing, petrifying, alluring―and absolutely guaranteed to make you think about sex in a whole new way.

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    Wild Sex by Dr. Carin Bondar

    Wild Sex

    10.6 hrs • 8/1/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 6.6 hrs • 6/9/2015 • Unabridged

    The mere mention of red hair conjures vivid images and provokes strong reactions. Popular stereotypes of redheaded women range from the fiery-tempered vixen and the penitent prostitute—Mary Magdalene is often portrayed in art as a redhead—to the fun-loving scatterbrain Lucille Ball. Red-haired men, meanwhile are consistently associated with either the savage barbarian or the redheaded clown. But why? Red: A History of the Redhead is the first book to chronicle red hair and redheadedness from prehistory to present day. As both intrepid cultural detective and compelling storyteller, Jacky Colliss Harvey weaves a fascinating history beginning with the moment the redheaded gene made its way out of Africa with the early human diaspora. She goes on to trace red hair in the ancient world, the intolerance manifested against it as an indicator of Jewishness across medieval Europe, red hair as the height of fashion in Renaissance England, the redheaded “stunner” in Pre-Raphaelite art and the paintings of the Impressionists, and into the modern age, from its symbolism and adoration in popular culture to “gingerism,” perhaps the last unacknowledged from of discrimination. More than a book for redheads, Red is both an exploration of red hair as “other” and a celebration of every aspect of its unique social and scientific heritage, at a time when it has never before been so frequently in the news or played such a prominent role in our visual culture.

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    Red

    6.6 hrs • 6/9/15 • Unabridged
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  3. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    5.6 hrs • 6/2/2015 • Unabridged

    A rare memoir of extraordinary, mesmerizing brilliance—and a Swedish bestseller—by an entomologist fascinated with the natural world and the hidden wonders of life, and which asks: What is it that drives the obsessively curious to exploration and the practice of collecting? Warm and humorous, self-deprecating and contemplative, The Fly Trap is a meditation on solitude, stillness, and the observation of beauty—be it found among insects or in art. Weaving a fascinating web of associations, histories, and personal memories, the book begins with Fredrik Sjöberg’s own experience as an entomologist on a tranquil, remote Swedish island and pulls in the tales of past heroic scientific expeditions to Burma and the wilderness of Kamchatka. As confounded by his unusual love of collecting flies as anyone, Sjöberg pauses to reflect on a range of ideas—the passage of time, art, freedom—drawing into dialogue writers such as Bruce Chatwin and D. H. Lawrence, and the lives of collectors such as René Edmond Malaise, inventor of the Malaise trap. From the everyday to the exotic, The Fly Trap revels in the wonders of the natural world.

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    The Fly Trap by Fredrik Sjöberg

    The Fly Trap

    Translated by Thomas Teal
    Read by Robert Fass
    5.6 hrs • 6/2/15 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
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  4. 10.4 hrs • 3/17/2015 • Unabridged

    While examining the history of our planet and actively exploring our present environment, science journalist Michael Tennesen describes what life on earth could look like after the next mass extinction. A growing number of scientists agree we are headed toward a mass extinction, perhaps in as little as three hundred years. There have already been five in the last 600 million years, including the Cretaceous extinction, during which an asteroid knocked out the dinosaurs. Though these events were initially destructive, they were also prime movers of evolutionary change in nature. And we can see some of the warning signs of another extinction event coming as our oceans lose both fish and oxygen. In The Next Species, Michael Tennesen questions what life might be like after it happens. Tennesen discusses the future of nature and whether humans will make it through the bottleneck of extinction. Without man, could the seas regenerate, returning to what they were before fishing vessels? Could life suddenly get very big as it did before the arrival of humans? And what if man survives the coming catastrophes but in reduced populations? Would those groups be isolated enough to become distinct species? Could the conquest of Mars lead to another form of human? Could we upload our minds into a computer and live in a virtual reality? Or could genetic engineering create a more intelligent and long-lived creature that might shun the rest of us? And how would we recognize the next humans? Are they with us now? Tennesen delves into the history of the planet and travels to rain forests, canyons, craters, and caves all over the world to explore the potential winners and losers of the next era of evolution. His predictions, based on reports and interviews with top scientists, have vital implications for life on earth today.

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    The Next Species by Michael Tennesen

    The Next Species

    10.4 hrs • 3/17/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 1 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5 (1)
    10.0 hrs • 2/11/2014 • Unabridged

    A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

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    The Sixth Extinction

    10.0 hrs • 2/11/14 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5 (1)
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  6. 8.3 hrs • 1/4/2012 • Unabridged

    Jack London, one of the most popular American writers, produced over fifty books of fiction and nonfiction during his lifetime. In 1906, without studying navigation, he and his wife Charmian and a small crew set out for Hawaii, hoping not to get lost. His misadventures at sea led him through the native uprisings, the doldrums, and the then unknown sport of surfing. Jack London describes the construction and outfitting of his boat in San Francisco, including frustrations with vendors, with which every boat owner will sympathize. London narrates his adventures in Hawaii and his perilous navigation across the Pacific sailing through the windless doldrums to the Marquesas Islands, Typee, Papeete, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Fiji, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands, before being overcome by tropical diseases and fever. This first person narrative, the first recording as an audiobook, combines London’s spirit of adventure with his wonderful sense of humor.

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  7. 6.6 hrs • 4/20/2009 • Unabridged

    In movies, in novels, in comic strips, and on television, we’ve all seen dinosaurs—or at least somebody’s educated guess of what they would look like. But what if it were possible to build, or grow, a real dinosaur without finding ancient DNA? Jack Horner, the scientist who advised Steven Spielberg on the blockbuster film Jurassic Park and a pioneer in bringing paleontology into the twenty-first century, teams up with the editor of the New York Times' Science Times section to reveal exactly what’s in store. In the 1980s, Horner began using CAT scans to look inside fossilized dinosaur eggs, and he and his colleagues have been delving deeper ever since. At North Carolina State University, Mary Schweitzer has extracted fossil molecules—proteins that survived 68 million years—from a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil excavated by Horner. These proteins show that T. rex and the modern chicken are kissing cousins. At McGill University, Hans Larsson is manipulating a chicken embryo to awaken the dinosaur within—starting by getting it to grow a tail and eventually prompting it to grow the forelimbs of a dinosaur. All of this is happening without changing a single gene. This incredible research is leading to discoveries and applications so profound that they’re scary in the power they confer on humanity. How to Build a Dinosaur is a tour of the hot rocky deserts and air-conditioned laboratories at the forefront of this scientific revolution.

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    How to Build a Dinosaur

    6.6 hrs • 4/20/09 • Unabridged
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  8. 17.2 hrs • 8/18/2008 • Unabridged

    On December 27, 1831, the young naturalist Charles Darwin left Plymouth Harbor aboard the HMS Beagle. For the next five years, he conducted research on plants and animals from around the globe, amassing a body of evidence that would culminate in one of the greatest discoveries in the history of mankind—the theory of evolution. Darwin presented his stunning insights in a landmark book that forever altered the way human beings view themselves and the world they live in. In The Origin of Species, Darwin convincingly demonstrates the fact of evolution: that existing animals and plants cannot have appeared separately but must have slowly transformed from ancestral creatures. The book fully explains the mechanism that effects such a transformation: natural selection, the idea that made evolution scientifically intelligible for the first time. One of the few revolutionary works of science that is readily accessible to the nonscientist, The Origin of Species not only launched the science of modern biology but has also influenced virtually all subsequent literary, philosophical, and religious thinking.

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    The Origin of Species

    17.2 hrs • 8/18/08 • Unabridged
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