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Nursery Earth

Animal Babies and Why They Matter

By Danna Staaf

An astonishing safari of infant animals—from baby kangaroos to flamingos to squid—and the essential role they play in Earth’s ecosystems

Nursery Earth shines a spotlight on the world’s baby animals, asking us to turn back the clock on our favorite creatures—and explore how they develop on a level never before seen! Biologist Danna Staaf takes us on a quest seeking out the most fascinating (and sometimes most bizarre) babies, including the elusive newborn Humboldt squid in the Gulf of California, the unusual yet adorable juvenile echidna “puggle,” the baby moth that looks and acts like a venomous snake, and the bug with the grandest entrance in the animal kingdom—the periodical cicada, which cyclically inundates the East Coast. Staaf shows us how important young animals are to the ecosystems they inhabit, not least because of their abundance: At any given moment, most animals in the natural world are babies!

Nursery Earth achieves something improbable, helping us appreciate and love Earth’s baby animals even more than we already do!

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Danna Staaf

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Review quotes
Praise for Monarchs of the Sea

“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

Product Details
Number of pages
Publication date
May 09, 2023