Menno Schilthuizen (1965) works as an evolution biologist and researcher at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden and as a professor at Leiden University. He regularly writes about evolution and biodiversity for NRC Handelsblad, de Volkskrant, New Scientist, Natural History and Science. Earlier he published the mystery of the Mysteries and Darwin's peep show.
Urban ecosystems are in full development, he writes, and in the future may be the main form of nature. Of course, he adds, he also worried about the loss of wild nature: "The fields where I photographed nesting godwits, swarmed through fields of flesh-colored orchids, and caught my first spinning water tower, have since been swallowed up by the growing agglomeration of Greater Rotterdam. (...) But that same love for nature eventually led to a sense of the power of evolution and the boundless adaptability of life on earth. "
And so he takes us on a voyage of discovery through all those special species that flourish in a human-dominated environment (or have just gone underground), from the London metromus to the Australian glaze beetle that mates with beer bottles. Schilthuizen is an enthusiastic, experienced guide and his stories are full of eye-openers. A travel report in seven lessons.
The author, professor of evolutionary biology and also associated with Naturalis, deals in this book with evolutionary processes in natural conditions changed by man. These are mainly found in cities. These new environmental conditions force species to adapt if they want to maintain themselves in the changed environment. At certain points, the city types will then differ from the original organisms in the natural environment. The book provides several beautiful examples of natural selection on various characteristics such as color, physiology, behavior. The writer has succeeded in illustrating these genetic changes in a very clear way. The book provides wonderful descriptions of the change process for different species. This gives a clear picture of what evolution entails. Highly recommended. With black-and-white photos, notes, bibliography and register. The author previously wrote 'Darwin's peep show; about evolution, biodiversity and ourselves '(2014) and' Why are there so many species? and other ecological riddles' (2016). Dr. W. van Delden