cover image The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today

The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today

Rob Dunn. Harper, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-180648-3

In this snappy, popular science look at the human condition, North Carolina State biologist Dunn (Every Living Thing) argues that our lives and our bodily functions (including the immune system) are intimately linked to species that live on and around us. Dunn offers lots of eye-popping biological tidbits—such as how worms may set you free if you suffer from a variety of stomach disorders; or the supposedly useless appendix actually helps the microbes in our guts; and scary movies satisfy our brain parts that still tell us we're being chased by predators. Ticks and lice may have triggered our relatively hairless evolution. Yet there's far more than fun facts; Dunn begs us to look toward a future in which we interact more with the species we have moved away from. Dunn challenges us to view a "web of life in which we evolved, that once shaped us and whose rediscovery could benefit our bodies and our health." (July)