Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures

by Carl Zimmer | Science | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: 0965007588 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingmaryzeewing of Taneytown, Maryland USA on 7/12/2006
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingmaryzeewing from Taneytown, Maryland USA on Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Picked this book up at my local used bookstore, Willow Tree Books, to add to my "Books about Things" bookbox. These icky creatures don't interest me much, but perhaps they will interest someone else.

From the cover -
Imagine a world where parasites control the minds of their hosts,
sending them to their destruction.
Imagine a world where parasites are masters of chemical warfare and
camouflage, able to cloak themselves with their hosts' own molecules.
Imagine a world where parasites steer the course of evolution, where
the majority of species are parasites.
Welcome to Earth.


From Amazon.com -
Many books provoke a visceral reaction, but few really make you itch. Science writer Carl Zimmer's Parasite Rex does just that, provoking a deliciously creepy sense of paranoia in the reader as it explores a long-misunderstood realm of science. While entomologists love to announce that there are more species of insects than all other animals combined, few parasitologists choose to trump that by reminding us that "parasites may outnumber free-living species four to one." That figure is based on the multicellular chauvinism of the 19th century, which excludes bacteria and fungi from consideration (athlete's foot, anyone?), but Zimmer looks at the E. coli in our guts as well as the worms, flukes, mites, and other critters that earn a healthy living at our expense--and the expense of our domesticated plants and animals.
The author traveled to Africa to see firsthand the effects of sleeping sickness and river blindness. He learned from physicians and researchers that the parasites that wreak so much havoc are much more than the simple degenerates we've taken them for. Their complex adaptations to their environments--us--are as lovely and awe-inspiring as any eye or wing. The examples of hormonal and other behavioral control of hosts, causing changes in feeding habits and other life essentials, are chilling when personalized. Zimmer knows his subject well, and his writing, while robust and affecting, never descends to the all-too-easy gross-out. You wouldn't expect to find respect for a tapeworm, but Parasite Rex will show you how beautiful Earth's truly dominant life forms are.

Journal Entry 2 by wingmaryzeewing at Books about Things bookbox in Bookbox, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Released 13 yrs ago (9/6/2006 UTC) at Books about Things bookbox in Bookbox, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases

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Putting into my "Books about Things" bookbox.

Journal Entry 3 by gomboggit from Baker City, Oregon USA on Wednesday, September 20, 2006
chosen from the Books About Things bookbox

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