The Age of Cats: How Cats Evolved to Rule the World

£22.00

Available for Pre-order. Due May 2023.
The Age of Cats: How Cats Evolved to Rule the World Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: HarperCollins Publishers
string(3) "400"
Pages: 400 Language: English ISBN: 9780008339463 Categories: , , , , , , ,

The past, present and future of the world’s most popular and beloved pet, from a leading evolutionary biologist and great cat lover. The domestic cat – your cat – has, from its evolutionary origins in Africa, been transformed in comparatively little time into one of the most successful and diverse species on the planet. Jonathan Losos, writing as both a scientist and a cat lover, explores how researchers today are unravelling the secrets of the cat, past and present, using all the tools of modern technology, from GPS tracking (you’d be amazed where those backyard cats roam) and genomics (what is your so-called Siamese cat . . . really?) to forensic archaeology. In addition to solving the mysteries of your cat’s past, it gives us a cat’s-eye view of today’s habitats, including meeting wild cousins around the world whose habits your sweet house cat sometimes eerily parallels. Do lions and tigers meow? If not, why not? Why does my cat leave a dead mouse at my feet (or on my pillow)? Is a pet ocelot a bad idea? When and why did the cat make its real leap off the African plain? What’s with all those cats in Egyptian hieroglyphics? In a genial voice, casually deciphering complex science and history with many examples from his own research and multi-cat household, Losos explores how selection, both natural and artificial, over the last several millennia has shaped the contemporary cat, with new breeds vastly different in anatomy and behaviour from their ancestral stock. Yet the cat, ever a predator, still seems only one paw out of the wild, and readily reverts to its feral ways as it occupies new lands around the world. Humans are transforming cats, and they in turn are transforming the world around them. This charming and intelligent book suggests what the future may hold for both Felis catus and Homo sapiens.

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Praise for Improbable Destinies: How Predictable is Evolution? by Jonathan Losos '[A] fascinating and beautifully written book' Tom Whipple, The Times 'Deep, broad, brilliant, and thought-provoking ... [Losos[ is one of the premier writers in biology today' Kevin Padian, Nature 'One of the best books on evolutionary biology for a broad readership ever written. Its subjects - the unfolding of Earth's biological history, the precarious nature of human existence, and the likelihood of life on exoplanets - are presented in a detailed, exciting style expected from an authentic scientist and naturalist' Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University 'Compelling' Adrian Woolfson, Science 'This is a wonderfully serious book with a light-hearted voice. Is evolution predictable or contingent? Big question. Why do adaptations converge? Big question. Why is the platypus unique? Smaller question, but fun! Read, enjoy, think' David Quammen, author of Breathless and Spillover 'Is evolution a story foretold? Or is it little more than the rolls of DNA's dice? In Improbable Destinies, Jonathan Losos tackles these fascinating questions not with empty philosophizing, but with juicy tales from the front lines of scientific research. Drunk flies, fast-evolving lizards, mutating microbes, and hypothetical humanoid dinosaurs all grace the pages of this wonderfully thought-provoking book' Carl Zimmer, author of She Has Her Mother's Laugh 'A rich, provocative, and very accessible book, Improbable Destinies is an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the ecological theater and evolutionary play of life, expertly guided one of its most insightful observers. Jonathan Losos has shone a light on a largely unheralded cast of fascinating creatures and ingenious scientists who are reshaping our view of why life is the way it is' Sean B. Carroll, author of The Serengeti Rules and Brave Genius

Author Biography

Jonathan B. Losos is an evolutionary biologist at Washington University and the founding director of the Living Earth Collaborative, a unique biodiversity centre and partnership between Washington University, the Saint Louis Zoo and the Missouri Botanical Garden. He was previously a professor of biology at Harvard and a curator at the university's Museum of Comparative Zoology. He has won awards from the National Academy of Sciences, the Society for the Study of Evolution and the American Society of Naturalists. Jonathan is also the author of Improbable Destinies: How Predictable is Evolution?