How the Zebra Got its Stripes: Tales from the Weird and Wonderful World of Evolution

Author(s): Leo Grasset

Physical Sciences

Why do giraffes have such long necks? Why are zebras striped? Why are buffalo herds broadly democratic while elephants prefer dictatorships? What explains the architectural brilliance of the termite mound or the complications of the hyena's sex life? And why have honey-badgers evolved to be one of nature's most efficient agents of mass destruction?Deploying the latest scientific research and his own extensive observations on the African savannah, Leo Grasset offers some answers to these and many other intriguing questions. Having shown that natural phenomena are rarely simple and that often they get more complex the more you look at them, he brings to bear a mix of evolutionary biology and lateral thinking to explain the mysteries of animal behaviour in terms that are simple but never simplifying. He ends by considering how our origins in the savannah and evolution as the hybrid of several species can shapes our habits.Leo Grasset is one of France's brightest young natural scientists. Prepare to be fascinated, delighted, surprised, shocked and, above all, entertained by his brilliantly original Darwinian Just So stories.


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The Just So stories retold in the light of evolution by France's brightest young natural scientist

Charming 'just so' stories. Now and again Grasset finds order and coherence in the natural world. But Grasset is also sharply aware of those points where the cause-and-effect logic of scientific description cannot show the whole picture. He has even more fun describing the occasions when, frankly, nature goes nuts. * New Scientist * Grasset adopts a breezily entertaining approach that avoids flippancy, aiming to popularize evolutionary biology. * Publishers Weekly * The individual chapters offer tantalizing tidbits of often heady information, which should pique the interest of readers looking for something meatier than typical pop science. * Booklist * Popular science fans will find this a breezy, enjoyable read. * Library Journal * Informed and engaging. * The Economic Times (India) *

Leo Grasset is the French punk scientist par excellence, founder of Dirty Biology and author of the blog 'Dans les testicules de Darwin' devoted to biology, testosterone and rock'n'roll ( He is also one of France's leading up-and-coming evolutionary biologists: see him in action on YouTube giving a paper at the Ecole normale superieure conference in Lyon in April 2015 on 'Les hommes hybrides - des chimphumains . Denisova'.

General Fields

  • : 9781781256299
  • : Profile Books Ltd
  • : Profile Books Ltd
  • : October 2017
  • : 198mm X 129mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : October 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Leo Grasset
  • : Paperback
  • : 1117
  • : English
  • : 500
  • : 160
  • : black and white photographs, diagrams and drawingsin text; 16 pp colour plates (more-or-less as in French edition); most artwork from Le Seuil