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British Wildlife

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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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Good Reads  Palaeontology  Palaeozoology & Extinctions

Life Sculpted Tales of the Animals, Plants, and Fungi That Drill, Break, and Scrape to Shape the Earth

Popular Science Coming Soon
By: Anthony J Martin(Author)
368 pages, 56 b/w illustrations
Life Sculpted
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  • Life Sculpted ISBN: 9780226810478 Hardback May 2023 Available for pre-order
Price: £21.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Meet the menagerie of lifeforms that dig, crunch, bore, and otherwise reshape our planet.

Did you know elephants dig ballroom-sized caves alongside volcanoes? Or that parrotfish chew coral reefs and poop sandy beaches? Or that our planet once hosted a five-ton dinosaur-crunching alligator cousin? In fact, almost since its fascinating start, life was boring. Billions of years ago bacteria, algae, and fungi began breaking down rocks in oceans, a role they still perform today. About a half-billion years ago, animal ancestors began drilling, scraping, gnawing, or breaking rocky seascapes. In turn, their descendants crunched through the materials of life itself – shells, wood, and bones. Today, such "bioeroders" continue to shape our planet – from the bacteria that devour our teeth to the mighty moon snail, always hunting for food, as evidenced by tiny snail-made boreholes in clams and other moon snails.

There is no better guide to these lifeforms than Anthony J. Martin, a popular science author, palaeontologist, and co-discoverer of the first known burrowing dinosaur. Following the crumbs of lichens, sponges, worms, clams, snails, octopi, barnacles, sea urchins, termites, beetles, fishes, dinosaurs, crocodilians, birds, elephants, and (of course) humans, Life Sculpted reveals how bioerosion expanded with the tree of life, becoming an essential part of how ecosystems function while reshaping the face of our planet. With vast knowledge and no small amount of whimsy, Martin uses palaeontology, biology, and geology to reveal the awesome power of life's chewing force. He provokes us to think deeply about the past and present of bioerosion, while also considering how knowledge of this history might aid us in mitigating and adapting to climate change in the future. Yes, Martin concedes, sometimes life can be hard – but life also makes everything less hard every day.


Chapter 1. A Boring History of Life
Chapter 2. Small but Diminishing
Chapter 3. Rock, Thy Name Is Mud
Chapter 4. Your Beach Is Made of Parrotfish Poop
Chapter 5. Jewelry-Amenable Holes of Death
Chapter 6. Super Colossal Shell-Crushing Fury!
Chapter 7. Woodworking at Home
Chapter 8. Driftwood and Woodgrounds
Chapter 9. Bone Eaters of the Deep
Chapter 10. More Bones to Pick
Chapter 11. The Biggest and Most Boring of Animals

Customer Reviews


Anthony J. Martin is a teaching professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Emory University, where he has taught classes in geology, palaeontology, and environmental sciences for more than thirty years. He has a PhD in geology and his research speciality is ichnology, the study of modern and ancient traces caused by animal behaviour, such as tracks, burrows, and borings. He is the author of numerous books, including Dinosaurs Without Bones, The Evolution Underground, and Tracking the Golden Isles.

Popular Science Coming Soon
By: Anthony J Martin(Author)
368 pages, 56 b/w illustrations
Media reviews

"Anthony J. Martin is the Mary Roach of paleontology."
– Mary Roach

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