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The Wild Life of Our Bodies

Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today

Dr. Rob Dunn

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

A biologist shows the influence of wild species on our well-being and the world and how nature still clings to us—and always will.

We evolved in a wilderness of parasites, mutualists, and pathogens, but we no longer see ourselves as being part of nature and the broader community of life. In the name of progress and clean living, we scrub much of nature off our bodies and try to remove whole kinds of life—parasites, bacteria, mutualists, and predators—to allow ourselves to live free of wild danger. Nature, in this new world, is the landscape outside, a kind of living painting that is pleasant to contemplate but nice to have escaped.

The truth, though, according to biologist Rob Dunn, is that while "clean living" has benefited us in some ways, it has also made us sicker in others. We are trapped in bodies that evolved to deal with the dependable presence of hundreds of other species. As Dunn reveals, our modern disconnect from the web of life has resulted in unprecedented effects that immunologists, evolutionary biologists, psychologists, and other scientists are only beginning to understand. Diabetes, autism, allergies, many anxiety disorders, autoimmune diseases, and even tooth, jaw, and vision problems are increasingly plaguing bodies that have been removed from the ecological context in which they existed for millennia.

In this eye-opening, thoroughly researched, and well-reasoned book, Dunn considers the crossroads at which we find ourselves. Through the stories of visionaries, Dunn argues that we can create a richer nature, one in which we choose to surround ourselves with species that benefit us, not just those that, despite us, survive.

Publishers Weekly Review

May 09, 2011 – In this snappy, popular science look at the human condition, North Carolina State biologist Dunn (Every Living Thing) argues that our lives and our bodily functions (including the immune system) are intimately linked to species that live on and around us. Dunn offers lots of eye-popping biological tidbits—such as how worms may set you free if you suffer from a variety of stomach disorders; or the supposedly useless appendix actually helps the microbes in our guts; and scary movies satisfy our brain parts that still tell us we're being chased by predators. Ticks and lice may have triggered our relatively hairless evolution. Yet there's far more than fun facts; Dunn begs us to look toward a future in which we interact more with the species we have moved away from. Dunn challenges us to view a "web of life in which we evolved, that once shaped us and whose rediscovery could benefit our bodies and our health."

Customer Reviews

The kind of cross functional analysis that bridges worthy science with other worthy science

I greatly enjoyed Rob Dunn's examination of evolution in the context all the other species involved in the process. His prose is accessible and engaging. The research is thorough and well documented with a hefty chapter of footnotes detailing modern explorations that escape the pop science headlines of Internet culture. The concluding chapter offers something that smells like hope after the stink of doom that marks most screeds on environmental futures

The Wild Life of Our Bodies
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  • $6.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Science & Nature
  • Published: Jun 21, 2011
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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