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Good Reads  Reference  Physical Sciences  Popular Science

Nursery Earth The Wondrous Lives of Baby Animals and the Extraordinary Ways They Shape Our World

Popular Science New
By: Danna Staaf(Author)
280 pages
Nursery Earth
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  • Nursery Earth ISBN: 9781891011719 Paperback Jun 2024 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1 week
  • Nursery Earth ISBN: 9781615199327 Hardback Jul 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1 week
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About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

An astonishing safari of infant animals – from baby kangaroos to flamingos to squid – and the essential role they play in Earth's ecosystems

Nursery Earth shines a spotlight on the world's baby animals, asking us to turn back the clock on our favourite creatures – and explore how they develop on a level never before seen. Biologist Danna Staaf takes us on a quest seeking out the most fascinating (and sometimes most bizarre) babies, including the elusive newborn Humboldt squid in the Gulf of California, the unusual yet adorable juvenile echidna "puggle", the baby moth that looks and acts like a venomous snake, and the bug with the grandest entrance in the animal kingdom – the periodical cicada, which cyclically inundates the East Coast. Staaf shows us how important young animals are to the ecosystems they inhabit, not least because of their abundance: At any given moment, most animals in the natural world are babies.

Nursery Earth achieves something improbable, helping us appreciate and love Earth's baby animals even more than we already do.


Introduction: A World of the Babies, by the Babies, for the Babies

1. Eggs: Not Just a Bird Thing
2. Provisioning: How to Pack Your Baby's Lunch
3. Brooding Eggs: Carry Them, Sit on Them, Swallow Them Whole
4. Pregnancy: Not Just a Mammal Thing

5. Larvae: When Kids Look Like Aliens
6. Unaccompanied Minors: Where Do the Escargot?
7. Raising Them Right: Conservation and Sustainability
8. Evolution: What It Does and Doesn't Recapitulate

9. Metamorphosis, but Happier Than Kafka
10. Juveniles: Neither One Thing nor Another
11. Emergence: A Cicada Case Study

Epilogue: Our Quiet Dependence on Babies

Customer Reviews


Danna Staaf earned a PhD in invertebrate biology from Stanford University and has been studying cephalopods for decades. Her writing on marine life has appeared in Science, Atlas Obscura, and many other outlets, while her research has appeared in the Journal of Experimental Biology, Aquaculture, and others, as well as in numerous textbooks. She is the author of Monarchs of the Sea and Nursery Earth. She lives with her family in Northern California.

Popular Science New
By: Danna Staaf(Author)
280 pages
Media reviews

"Some animal babies are really cute (kittens), and some are a bit horrifying (larval parasites), but this book shows how all are incredibly interesting. Packed with the fascinating and the fantastic, Nursery Earth is a surprising page-turner, as hard to put down as a new puppy."
– Carl Safina, New York Times-bestselling author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

"There is certainly a cuteness factor here [...] [But] beyond the oohs and ahs, scientist Staaf shares significant findings about the connections between the environment and human genes. The miracle of life (and developmental biology, Staaf's specialty) is the book's journey, documenting each stage, from egg to juvenile/teenager, with easy-to-understand research and illuminating analogies."

"I can't count the number of times the word wow crossed my lips as I eagerly turned to the next page of Nursery Earth. If you've ever wondered how nature works, Staaf shows us why you'd best not ignore the beginnings. This book is the finest kind of science writing: heartwarming and perspective-shifting!"
– Juli Berwald, author of Spineless and Life on the Rocks

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