Sarah Darwin, Eva Maria Sadowski
What on Earth Books, 2023
64pp., hbk., RRP $A39.99
Since human life emerged on this planet, people have speculated on how it all began with many communities developing creation stories to explain what they didn’t know or understand – stories that still guide life today in some places. But in the mid 1800s, two scientists – Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace – independently developed a theory known as evolution by natural selection, and in this easily accessible, beautifully illustrated book, the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin explains the theory – what it is and how it works.
Feature spreads explain the important things that you need to know, a timeline plots the history of life on Earth., maps and charts show the Tree of Life, and extensive back matter includes a glossary, and index, a bibliography and the whole is backed by both the Natural History Museum in London and the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin making it a model of authoritative presentation. As well as what has gone before, there are also sections on how humans have changed their own worlds, how evolution continues to influence adaptation and survival and a suggestion as to what the future holds, as long as we are willing to learn from the past.
As well as being an excellent introduction to the history of life on this planet spanning 4.5 billion years, this is also an important addition to both the environment and sustainability curriculum and collection because “The better we understand evolution, the better we can protect the planet”.