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As you read these words Planet Earth teems with trillions of life-forms, each going about their own business; eating, reproducing, thriving … Yet the life of almost every single entity draws nearer and nearer to certain death. Why? Why is death such a universal companion to life on Earth? Why haven't animals evolved to break free of its shackles?
In this ground-breaking exploration of death, Jules Howard attempts to shed evolutionary light on this, one of our biggest and most unshakeable taboos. Encountering some of the world's oldest animals, and meeting the scientists attempting to unravel their mysteries, Jules also comes face-to-face with evolution's outliers; the animals that may one day avoid death altogether.
Written in his familiar engaging and humorous style, Jules's journey inevitably ends with our own fate: can we ever become immortal? And even if we could, would we really want to?
1. Entering the chambers of death
2. Ode to the dearly departed
3. Cancer's curse – are any animals immortal?
4. The mayfly and the marsupial mouse
5. The clam of God
6. Menopause for thought
7. Death becomes err
8. Mourning has broken
9. The death-eaters
10. Facing up to death
Jules Howard is a zoologist, writer, blogger and broadcaster. He writes on a host of topics relating to zoology and wildlife conservation, and appears regularly in BBC Wildlife Magazine and on radio and TV, including on BBC's The One Show, Nature and The Living World as well as BBC Breakfast and Radio 4's Today programme. Jules also runs a social enterprise that has brought almost 100,000 young people closer to the natural world. Death on Earth is his second book, following Sex on Earth (Bloomsbury, 2014).