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Extreme Nature [Hardcover]

Mark Carwardine
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Oct 2005

A beautiful and fascinating portrait of the world’s most extreme wildlife, from the sexiest beast to the smelliest plant.

The world's most devious plant, the largest flock of birds, the biggest drug user, the most dangerous love-life…here is a mind-blowing guide to the weirdest and most remarkable wildlife on our planet. Lavishly illustrated, this is a beautiful book to own as well as an unputdownable read.

The entries are quirky yet informative, focusing on single species with bizarre lifestyles and impressive adaptations. The main book consists of over 150 entries, organised into four sections: Extreme Growth, Extreme Abilities, Extreme Movement and Extreme Families.

Intelligently written, it is aimed at all those with an interest in wildlife. While assuming no prior knowledge on the part of its readers, it is still scientifically rigorous enough to captivate every expert. Big in format and scope, it is a gorgeous and fascinating portrait of the natural wonders of our planet.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (3 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007207689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007207688
  • Product Dimensions: 28.4 x 25.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,145,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


• First serial in The Guardian Weekend Magazine on September 10th

• 2nd serial in the Metro

From the Author

Extreme Nature is about some of the most intriguing, supernatural, out of the ordinary and extreme plants and animals on the planet. A fish that can change sex, a frog that gives birth through its mouth and a flower that smells so bad it makes people faint in the motley collection of weird and wonderful creatures included in the book.

Extreme Nature was written with the invaluable help of over 150 scientists working in all corners of the globe. With their generous assistance, in just a few sentences it's been possible to summarise some of the highlights of many years, sometimes decades of research. Thanks to them, if you've ever wondered which animal has the best colour vision, if a millipede really does have a thousand legs, how fast a falcon can swoop, or which is the world's most dangerous snake, this is the place to look.

Any such study of extreme nature is inevitably full of surprises and when it comes to superlatives there is always another record-breaker just round the corner. But while there is little doubt that few of the records we've included are the absolutes, in one way or another all animals and plants have something exceptional about them that deserves our attention.

Ultimately, the aim of the book is simply to revel in these other-worldly creatures and their outlandish behaviour. We hope you enjoy being wowed by some of their exploits.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and interesting 28 Jan 2006
This book is a great book for anyone interested in animals and nature. It is filled with beautiful photographs of animals, accompanied by interesting facts about their life and existance. Each big photo is joined with a paragraph of text about the creature. The paper quality is high, and printing is good. The photos are colourful and interesting, and the prose is well written and informative. There is just the right amount of text for each photo; enough to offer a proper explanation, but not so much that it looks unaccessible or seems dull. Bullet point style info at the start of each paragraph introduces the main feature of the animal photographed, so you can find basic info at a glance. It is an ideal gift for adults or childen, a great coffee table book or just a nice thing to own if you like nature and photography.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind-boggling 3 Sep 2007
Put briefly this is an amazing book! Whether its the vast amount of research carried out, the fantastic photography or the accessibility of writing, Extreme Nature is masterly in almost every way.

It is written in the from of about 150 'record breakers' each taking up a double page spread. On one side is an invariably brilliant photograph featuring the organism in question and taking up the whole page, while on the other are a few short paragraphs explaining the record the animal sets and how & why it does it. The records range from the usual (largest egg) to the more obscure (most imaginative use of dung) and the humorous (sexiest beast)!

One of the best things about this book is the simplicity of writing. Carwardine resists the temptation to write reams about each animal, and condenses the facts down to a couple of well written paragraphs which are easily understood. There are many statistics but he only mentions those that are necessary and they do not stifle the fluidity of the reading.

The wealth of experience and knowledge that Carwardine has brought together in the creation of Extreme Nature is extraordinary. The acknowledgements section covers two pages and contains well over 100 names - world leaders in their various fields of science and photography which accounts for the undeniable quality of the photos as well as the information.

I read Extreme Nature cover to cover but it can also be used as a 'dip in' book to be used now and then. The book shows off evolution and the natural world in all her glory and hopefully will play a part in persuading more people to hep conserve these fantastic animals and plants. Buy, read, enjoy, and be amazed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars nature 24 Mar 2012
This remarkable book deals with natore uner 4 headings,
1)extreme abilities eg. most poisonous,keenest sense of smell,coldest.
2)extreme movement eg. higest jumper,mostlegs,strongest.
3)extreme growth eg. longestfangs,tallest,rareist.
4)extreme families eg.largest eggs,biggest seed,biggest nest.
There are 150 atticles each having 2 pages-one of text the other of a picture both of which are first class.The odd picture covers more than one page which is a pity but all in all a marvellous book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars hours of joy 2 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If I were a 12 year old again I reckon I'd think this was the greatest book in the world. Not only do you get fantastic photographs of all sorts of animals and plants, but on the opposite page you get to learn what makes them so interesting. The printing and overall finish of this book is first class, as are the images and the accompanying text. When I first picked it up I thought it might be a bit childish, but I was proved wrong. It's great, for instance, did you know that the narwel's tusk is actually its upper left front tooth? Fascinating, and fun too. Buy if for yourself, or even better, for an inquisitive child. They'll love it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars outstanding except for some typos 23 May 2008
By Carrie - Published on
I LOVE THIS BOOK and am reading every word in it! The pictures are outstanding, too. My only complaint is that the book needed one more thorough review.

For instance, the larva of the "strangest hitchhiker" is said to be both 0.06 in and 3.8 cm. I appreciate having metric conversions, but they're sometimes incorrect and often inconsistently noted (metric noted first at times, second other times).

Perhaps typos are a personal pet peeve of mine...but with such outstanding technical information about the animals, I hope that the detailed information I'm accepting as true has undergone a thorough review.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nature at it's Best! 30 Sep 2011
By lyn - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of the best Nature books I have read! As for children, it could not be any better. One page long description of fascinating insects, animals, etc. with beautiful color photos. My eight - year old grandson loves it and I could not pry it away from him when I received it from in the mail!
5.0 out of 5 stars Every page is fascinating 17 Mar 2014
By Amy Derksen - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We bought the first copy of this book at the Smithsonian, because we were mesmerized by the beautiful photography. Since then, we've given it as gifts to many of our son's friends, because the facts are fascinating (and sometimes, just gross enough to keep the boys engaged).
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 7 Oct 2013
By Brooke Johnson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is so great. The photography is excellent and the book very educational and entertaining too! Something to enjoy with family and children.
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Book! 27 Aug 2011
By Mark Hubert - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I saw this book in a doctor's office and I was instantly captivated by it. I grabbed my smartphone and purchased the book from here right there from the office. The pictures are lifelike and really grab your attention. Each piece is just long enough to keep you interested and you find yourself going from page to page and you just don't want to put it down. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is about 8-10 years old and older. You learn quite a bit just with a few minutes of reading. Very well done!
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