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Monarchs of the Sea

The Extraordinary 500-Million-Year History of Cephalopods

Danna Staaf Cynthia Clark



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Affirm Press
01 November 2020
Mathematics & Sciences; Wildlife: aquatic creatures
Before mammals, there were dinosaurs. And before dinosaurs, there were cephalopods - the ancestors of modern squid, octopuses, and more creatures - Earth's first truly substantial animals. Essentially inventing the act of swimming, cephalopods presided over an undersea empire for millions of years - until fish evolved jaws, and cephalopods had to step up their game or risk being eaten. To keep up, some streamlined their shells and added defensive spines, while others abandoned the shell, opening the gates to a flood of evolutionary innovations: masterful camouflage, fin-supplemented jet propulsion, and intelligence we've yet to fully measure. Monarchs of the Sea is an epic, witty history about these bizarre but beautiful creatures that ruled the seas - and still captivate us today.
By:   Danna Staaf
Illustrated by:   Cynthia Clark
Imprint:   Affirm Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 210mm,  Width: 140mm, 
ISBN:   9781615197408
ISBN 10:   1615197400
Pages:   256
Publication Date:   01 November 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Danna Staaf earned a PhD in invertebrate biology from Stanford University and has been studying cephalopods for decades. Her writing on marine life has appeared in Science, Atlas Obscura, and many other outlets, while her research has appeared in the Journal of Experimental Biology, Aquaculture, and others, as well as in numerous textbooks. She lives with her family in Northern California.

Reviews for Monarchs of the Sea: The Extraordinary 500-Million-Year History of Cephalopods

Cephs rule! [Monarchs of the Sea], like its protagonists, is nimble, fast, surprising, smart, and weird in the very coolest sense of the word. What could be more fun than jetting back in time to primordial seas with the monsters who really ruled our planet? In these pages, Danna Staaf makes every dino-lover and every undersea adventurer's dream come true. It's a fabulous read with squishy, slimy delight on every page. --Sy Montgomery, New York Times-bestselling author of The Soul of an Octopus This crystal-clear book will open your world to wider horizons and much deeper times. . . . Long before vertebrates evolved anything like higher intelligence, squids and octopuses were on a separate track to versatility, problem-solving, individual recognition, and deceit. Before we can know who we are, we must know who we are here with, and who has come before us. --Carl Safina, New York Times-bestselling author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel I loved this book. . . . Staaf's approach is short and sweet, well-illustrated and strong on playful narrative. --Nature It is a treat to come across a writer with such specialized training who is able to turn esoteric knowledge into a page-turning read for all audiences. . . . Staaf captures what is rarely seen outside the ivory tower: scientists talking among themselves with a touch of irreverence. Researchers everywhere will surely relate. --Science This engaging book may do for early cephalopods what paleontologists did for dinosaurs in the 1960s: spark a public renaissance of appreciation for these magnificent creatures who once ruled the seas. --Jennifer Ouellette, author of Me, Myself, and Why and The Calculus Diaries Intriguing . . . This in-depth coverage of an often neglected but ecologically vital group will change your view of squid, octopuses, and their relatives. --New Scientist A book like [Monarchs of the Sea] is a reminder that in any scientific narrative, there are always two stories at play. There is the history of the subject you're studying, and then there is the history of its discovery. --New Republic Fiendishly readable. --The Inquisitive Biologist Fresh and fascinating. --The Times Literary Supplement

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