Why do giraffes have such long necks and zebras have stripes? What does a crowd of sports fans have to do with a herd of gazelles? Have you ever shuddered in horror at the mention of the word “ratel”?
The animals of the African savannah still have much to teach us. This book will explain the talent of termite builders who build organs to breathe, the role of chance in the gazelle’s escape, the daily dictatorship that elephants endure while buffaloes live in a democracy, the importance of the Milky Way for dung beetles, and what human nipples have in common with the penis of hyenas.
“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,” said a famous geneticist. But this light casts strange shadows that are difficult to decipher, and the subjects presented are at the active frontiers of scientific research!
This book of natural stories, told with lightness and humour by an adventurous young biologist and superbly illustrated by his photographs, was published in April 2015 by Editions du Seuil.
Léo Grasset holds a master’s degree in biology. After working in the field in Zimbabwe, he is studying the impact of ecosystems on human societies. Drawings in text by Colas Grasset; color photos by the author.