The Origin of Feces: What Excrement Tells Us About Evolution, Ecology, and a Sustainable Society

David Waltner-Toews, Author
David Waltner-Toews. ECW, $16.95 trade paper (190p) ISBN 978-1-77041-116-6
Reviewed on: 05/06/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
Open Ebook - 225 pages - 978-1-77090-396-8
Open Ebook - 220 pages - 978-1-77090-397-5
Hardcover - 318 pages - 978-1-4596-6873-7
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As an old joke goes, "A horse, a cow, and a sheep all eat grass, but the sheep excretes pellets, the cow plops out patties, and the horse puts out something that looks like rye buns. Why is that?" Answers to this question and more fill veterinarian and epidemiologist Waltner-Toews's fascinating evolutionary and cultural history of excrement. Aside from cocktail-party tidbits—like how a person in 18th century Japan could be imprisoned for stealing human excrement, or why the poop of sperm whales protects against global warming—this book is also a clear examination of the "wicked problem" excrement poses regarding our health and as a means for "seed dispersal". While overpopulation, "rapid growth in economies of scale in agriculture," and global trade have "created new pathways for the pathogens of excrement," feces are also "essential ingredients that make places what they are." Guiding readers through the "complex challenges" of the effects of human and animal waste, Waltner-Toews (Food, Sex and Salmonella) offers working solutions towards creating a sustainable ecosystem. More than just a "bathroom read", this book offers delightful revelations of the history, evolution, and effects our bowel movements have on our world. (May)
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