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

by Carl Zimmer


Carl Zimmer is the author of At the Water's Edge and a frequent contributor to Discover, National Geographic, Natural History, Nature . AIDS, are nature's way of trying to rid itself of a persistent parasite repeatedly attacking its host

Carl Zimmer is the author of At the Water's Edge and a frequent contributor to Discover, National Geographic, Natural History, Nature, and Science. He is a winner of the Everett Clark Award for science journalism and the American Institute of Biological Sciences Media Award. He lives in New York City. AIDS, are nature's way of trying to rid itself of a persistent parasite repeatedly attacking its host. I remember a marine biologist once telling me that she wasn't interested in science fiction, because nature always outdid the imagination. This book is proof of that theory.

Parasites are among the world’s most successful and sophisticated organisms. They can transform the insides of other creatures into hospitable homes. They can evade the onslaught of the immune system and even make it serve them. They can even control the minds of their hosts and force them to do their bidding. And thanks to these skills, parasites may make up the majority of all species

Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures is a nonfiction book by Carl Zimmer that was published by Free Press in 2000.

Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures is a nonfiction book by Carl Zimmer that was published by Free Press in 2000. The book discusses the history of parasites on Earth and how the field and study of parasitology formed, along with a look at the most dangerous parasites ever found in nature.

Prologue: A Vein Is a River. The boy in the bed in front of me was named Justin, and he didn’t want to wake up. His bed, a spongy mat on a metal frame, sat in a hospital ward, a small concrete building with empty window frames. The hospital was made up of a few of these buildings, some with thatched roofs, in a wide dusty courtyard.

Now award-winning writer Carl Zimmer takes us on a fantastic voyage into the secret parasite universe we actually live in but haven't recognized. He reveals not only that parasites are the most successful life-forms on Earth, but that they triggered the development of sex, shape ecosystems, and have driven the engine of evolution.

In Parasite Rex, Carl Zimmer deftly balances the scientific and the disgusting as he takes readers on a fantastic .

In Parasite Rex, Carl Zimmer deftly balances the scientific and the disgusting as he takes readers on a fantastic voyage. Traveling from the steamy jungles of Costa Rica to the fetid parasite haven of southern Sudan, Zimmer graphically brings to life how parasites can change DNA, rewire the brain, make men more distrustful and women more outgoing, and turn hosts into the living dead. This thorough, gracefully written book brings parasites out into the open and uncovers what they can teach us about the most fundamental survival tactics in the universe

Yet these creatures are among the world's most successful and sophisticated organisms

Read unlimited books and audiobooks on the web, iPad, iPhone and Android. Yet these creatures are among the world's most successful and sophisticated organisms. In Parasite Rex, Carl Zimmer deftly balances the scientific and the disgusting as he takes readers on a fantastic voyage.

In "Parasite Rex," Carl Zimmer deftly balances the scientific and the disgusting as he takes readers on a fantastic voyage. The Free Press New York London Toronto Sydney Singapore. PARASITE REX. Inside the Bizarre World of Nature’s Most Dangerous Creatures. At the Water’s Edge: Macroevolution and the Transformation of Life.

Pettalo
One of the reviews of this book claimed it would change the way you thought about the world. That sounds like hyperbole, but after reading "Parasite Rex," I have to concede it's true. I'm about as lay as laymen come (at least when it comes to hard science), and yet I found myself so spellbound by the descriptions of how various parasites operate, survive, and evolve, that I finally understood the passion of entomologists, which had always seemed so foreign to me.

The author takes the lives of parasitic organisms and makes it into high drama,and sometimes high comedy, as in the case of a bug, that, in order to thwart predators who scent its droppings, has turned its derriere into a high-powered rocket launcher that fires its feces far away in order to throw parasites off its trail.

I've spent enough time in academia (in the soft sciences/humanities) to have my eyes glaze over whenever I hear the word "interdisciplinary," but this book really does deserve the word. Zimmer brings everything to bear in his discussion, from parasites in pop culture/ media (the films of David Cronenberg and Ridley Scott). to ecological philosophy (a variation on the Gaia Hypothesis), arguing credibly that the ecosystem may perceive Homo Sapiens Sapiens as a parasite swimming in its own bloodstream, and that the multiple banes of our existences, like malaria, cancer, and AIDS, are nature's way of trying to rid itself of a persistent parasite repeatedly attacking its host.

I remember a marine biologist once telling me that she wasn't interested in science fiction, because nature always outdid the imagination. This book is proof of that theory. Hats off to Zimmer. Highest Recommendation.
Runeterror
Easily understood narrative with just enough science and Latin to pique one's interest. The amount of research done by Mr. Zimmer and the difficulties he must have faced in doing so are remarkable and well represented in the book. I'm reading it on Kindle, and enjoying every minute. It opened my eyes to a lot of things going on around me about which I had absolutely no knowledge.
Opimath
Long ago, I watched a PBS special about molds and mildews. Most of the documentary was about all the damage they do, and how they turn up in places like bagpipes and even jet fuel. But when they got to the mold called penicillin, and referred to it as the medical miracle of the 20th century, I pondered long on how the yuck factor can often mask a world we really need to get to know better, for our own good. Thus, Zimmer's book found a prepared way in my mind. I still walked new yuck factor ground here, since your average parasite is a devious Einstein compared to a mildew. But I looked for and quickly discovered the same kind of insight, and even more ancient and important relationships, in this book.

The zombie crabs,snails and ants, the genesis theories of sex and language, and the way parasites are hidden modifiers of the old "survival of the fittest" paradigm were eye-openers, as was the discussion of how sickle cell anemia is a byproduct of natural selection for the single sickle cell gene, brought on by the prevalence of malaria. As a professional science writer who is expert in bringing out the meaning and implications of research so that the layman can understand, Zimmer paints the incredible picture for us, of the multi-billion year old interplay between competing parasite/host DNA chains and natural selection. Along the way, the various hookworms and blood flukes have learned biochemical tricks that science still hasn't figured out, but will turn into blood thinners and anti-rejection treatments.

And I learned that there is a parasitic fungus on insects, Cordyceps, that is the source of an important antibiotic called cyclosporin, which took me right back to my moldy epiphany long ago.
Ylonean
The book its an excellent review of the parasites among us. It also does not miss any key topics, although some of them it glosses over a bit. For example, the chapeter on how these criters beat our immune system could have been much better and more detailed, particularly as this was for me one of the key quesitons I had as I continued to read. While we are told that basically it is too costly for organisms to proof themselves against even particular parasites, that was never explained in sufficient detail. On the whole, however, it covers the important parasite concepts and the evolutionary twists and turns in the battle between parasites and their hosts, and responsibly differentiates scientific speculation from experimental fact.

Perhaps the biggest flaw in the book is the lack of diagrams and its minimal number of photos. One of the coolest things about parasites is how gross they are and I wanted to see more of them. Also the same parasites seemed to keep coming up as examples of everything. Perhaps there are only so many types of parasites so it just doesn't matter whether one discusses blood flukes of humans or some other animal. But the book makes bold statements about how much more diverse parasites are than so called "free living" organisms, so it seemed a bit weird to continually be presnted with the "usual suspects" as examples of each of the parasitic principles.

The writing is clear and well organized, but goes on too long and is repetitive in places. This would probably have been a better book if were 30 pages shorter. But that's a quibble.

On the whole, a very good book that should interest anyone interested in natural systems and evolution, and parasites in particular.
Nagor
Within this strange book lurks many ferocious critters ready to eat your tongue, boil your blood, give you blindness, and hijack your body for their own sinister needs. Zimmerman does a spectacular job writing about these creatures and the history of the sciences that study them. My only issue with this book is that sometimes the science can get a little hard to follow for someone who does not have a deep background in microbiology or parasitology. I give this novel four out of five stars.
Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures ebook
Author:
Carl Zimmer
Category:
Biological Sciences
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1840 kb
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1794 kb
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1544 kb
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Rating:
4.6
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