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The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar

Evolution's Most Unbelievable Solutions to Life's Biggest Problems
Narrated by: Jonathan Todd Ross
Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
4 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

Regular price: $20.99

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Publisher's Summary

From the man behind the popular Wired series "Absurd Creature of the Week", a fun, fascinating collection of unique animals and the unbelievable evolutionary traits they use to survive the most extreme scenarios.

The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar is an absurdist, comical romp through evolution's weirdest solutions to - appropriately enough - the hazards that evolution itself produces. Each original entry talks about a creature and its amazing adaptation, using Matt Simon's signature blend of scientific accuracy and humor that has made his Wired column and accompanying web show so popular.

The creatures themselves are absolutely mind-blowing, with zombie ants mind-controlled by a fungus; beautiful salamanders that can regenerate any part of their bodies including their brains; the mantis shrimp, which fires its club-like appendage so fast that the surrounding water becomes as hot as the surface of the sun; the Antechinus, whose runaway testosterone levels cause them to have so much sex during their three-week mating session that they bleed internally, go blind, and drop dead; and many more.

©2016 Matthew Simon (P)2017 Recorded Books

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Very enjoyable and well written

Who ever said science is boring and too complicated should learn from this author.

Probably the most enjoyable book about evolution and biology I have listened to. What an amazing thing life is, and this book opens your eyes to the wonders around us. Don't be fooled, while it is perfect to engage a younger person with its wit and easy to understand conveyance, it is detailed enough even for those that like depth.

Highly recommended, especially for the young people that don't understand how a subject like this can be fascinating and enjoyable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Another word please

The author gives great information. However, if I hear the word 'laid' one more time in this book I think I will scream. The author's tone is too familiar.

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Marvelous

Absolutely as marvelous as the title. Great performance, exceptional writing and such deftly woven stories of the bizarre creatures that inhabit the earth.

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More than I expected!

I was expecting a book on parasites, but it turned out to be a book on adaptations. Really weird and creepy adaptations. The book is written so it could easily be read by a high-school student, but as an adult, I loved it too. Singing fish that keep the neighbourhood up at night, parasites that change behaviours of their victims, velvet worms that shoot goo from a firehose, hagfish that clog the gills of their enemies with slime, and tiger beetles that run faster than a human (inch for inch). This romp through animal adaptation is just plain fun.


Note: There are many references to animal sexuality within the book, so if you are a bit worried about weird sexual adaptations, I would recommend reading it before passing it onto anyone below the junior level. (E.g., males that turn into accessory organs in females, or who live inside the cloaca of their partner.) Nothing human, but lots of animal hanky-panky.

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Fun book

Great book. Lots of good info especially for someone just getting in to entomology. The guy makes lots of goofy jokes but it's bearable and some are actually funny.