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Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction Hardcover – 14 May 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books (14 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385535910
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385535915
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 2.9 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 582,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Kwok on 6 May 2013
Format: Hardcover
Humanity has the potential of surviving calamities as dire as the next mass extinction. That is the hopeful message lurking behind science journalist - and founding editor of the science/science fiction website io9 - Annalee Newitz's book "Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction". Hers is a lively, rather engaging, look at mass extinctions and other notorious agents of mass mortality like famines and disease pandemics, on how survivors have coped with them and on the potential of human engineering for preventing humanity's extinction. However, it is an examination that some may view as superficial with regards to its depth, in stark comparison with, for example, some of the best science writing from the likes of David Quammen, Carl Zimmer, and invertebrate paleobiologist Peter Ward - who was interviewed for this book - that delves deeper into the science behind disease pandemics and mass extinctions. While I admire Newitz's literary style and the vast scope of topics and issues she discusses, I've noted some glaring editorial errors which detract from the book's overall quality; these include incorrectly referring to synapsid mammal-like reptiles as mammal-reptile hybrids (Page 37), gray whales as among the oldest cetaceans since they evolved 2.5 million years ago (Page 137) when their phylogenetic (in plain English, genealogical) history probably dates back at least 25 million years ago if not before, or identifying paleobiologists (a newer, more accurate, version of the term paleontologist) Peter Ward and Jessica Whiteside solely as geologists when their primary research specialties are respectively, invertebrate paleobiology (Ward), and vertebrate paleobiology and paleoclimatology (Whiteside).Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Make no mistake - this is a very good read, It explains how the past events wiped out almost all of life on our planet. It also explains how tiny changes made it all possible for us to even exist. From historical point of view very interesting book, I was however expecting more .. tips and tricks to follow once the mushroom clouds appear :D
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian Clegg TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover
I'm not a natural audience for books about surviving disasters. I can't stand disaster movies, because I can't take the pragmatic `Oh well, some survive,' viewpoint as I watch millions perish. So I thought that I would find this book, with its subtitle How Humans will survive a mass extinction somewhat unappetising - but I was wrong.

The Earth has gone through a number of mass extinctions, where a fair percentage of living species have been killed off. The most famous is the one that mostly took out the dinosaurs around 65 million years ago, but there have been others and, Annalee Newitz points out, if we want to see the long term survival of the human race, we need to be able to make it through one, should it turn up, whether caused by climate change, pandemics, a supervolcano or an asteroid.

What Newitz does surprisingly well here is weave together what are really around four different books, all in one compact volume. We start of with palaeontology, looking back over previous mass extinctions, getting a better understanding of what happened, what survived and how it survived. From here we segue into human pre-history and history, drawing lessons from the plight of the Neanderthal and the impact of plague and other pandemics. After this, in a transitional section we see the examples of the three techniques in the book's title - scattering in the Jewish disaspora, adaptation in cyanobacteria (and how we could use it) and remembering on the part of the gray whale, before taking another transition into a more science-fiction driven view.
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By Andy on 7 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The subject matter was quite interesting and some of the factual events/descriptions were good, but I found it a bit repetative and it never really came to any realistic conclusion. However, I quite enjoyed it.
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