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British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published eight times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

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Conservation Land Management (CLM) is a quarterly magazine that is widely regarded as essential reading for all who are involved in land management for nature conservation, across the British Isles. CLM includes long-form articles, events listings, publication reviews, new product information and updates, reports of conferences and letters.

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Academic & Professional Books  Insects & other Invertebrates  Molluscs  Molluscs: General

A Natural History of Shells

Popular Science
By: Geerat J Vermeij(Author)
207 pages, 131 b/w photos and b/w illustrations
A Natural History of Shells
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  • A Natural History of Shells ISBN: 9780691229249 Paperback Oct 2021 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
  • A Natural History of Shells ISBN: 9780691001678 Paperback May 1995 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
  • A Natural History of Shells ISBN: 9780691085968 Hardback Dec 1993 Out of Print #27543
Selected version: £14.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Geerat Vermeij wrote this celebration of shells to share his enthusiasm for these supremely elegant creations and what they can teach us about nature. Most popular books on shells emphasize the identification of species, but Vermeij uses shells as a way to explore major ideas in biology. How are shells built? How do they work? And how did they evolve? With lucidity and charm, the MacArthur-winning evolutionary biologist reveals how shells give us insights into the lives of animals today and in the distant geological past.

The 2021 paperback reprint, now part of the Princeton Science Library series, features a new preface by the author.



Ch. 1    Shells and the Questions of Biology    3

Pt. I    The Rules of Shell Construction    
Ch. 2    Themes and Variations: The Geometry of Shells    9
Ch. 3    The Economics of Construction and Maintenance    39

Pt. II    Life in a Dangerous World: How Shells Work    
Ch. 4    The Mechanics of Shells    61
Ch. 5    Predators and Their Methods    94
Ch. 6    Coping with Enemies: The Shell as Protection    113

Pt. III    The Dimension of Time    
Ch. 7    A Historical Geography of Shells    153
Ch. 8    Evolutionary Economics: The Rise and Fall of Adaptive Themes    174

Index    203

Customer Reviews


Geerat J. Vermeij is Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of The Evolutionary World: How Adaptation Explains Everything from Seashells to Civilization; Privileged Hands: A Scientific Life; Nature: An Economic History (Princeton); and Evolution and Escalation: An Ecological History of Life (Princeton).

Popular Science
By: Geerat J Vermeij(Author)
207 pages, 131 b/w photos and b/w illustrations
Media reviews

"Vermeij provides an elegantly written and beautifully illustrated account of shell construction, function, and evolution, while showing how these molluscan houses give us insights into ecology and the history of life. [It is a] book that will be treasured by scientists and lay readers alike."

"A Natural History of Shells is a fascinating biological view of shells as the products of living organisms [...] We come to appreciate and understand the diverse wonders of economy, function, and construction that can be seen in shells."
– Douglas Palmer, New Scientist

"This is a pleasingly different book. Most other popular books on shells help one to identify them. In this book Vermeij uses shells to help understand the ecology, evolution, and history of snails, clams, and other Mollusca, the phylum of animals that construct 'shells.' [...] This book uses both contemporary and fossil shells to explore many ideas and processes in general biology [...] I have been seeking this book for years."
The Quarterly Review of Biology

"I was swept away by the world of molluscs and found myself fascinated and informed [...] By the end of the book I was convinced that anyone with a passion for their subject would enjoy and be educated by Vermeij's obvious passion for his."

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