cover image Sex on Earth: A Celebration of Animal Reproduction

Sex on Earth: A Celebration of Animal Reproduction

Jules Howard. Bloomsbury/Sigma, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4081-9341-9

In the spirit of enthusiastic animal sex tour books like Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice for All Creation, wildlife blogger Howard’s debut puts aside sensational curiosities like supposedly giant dinosaur penises, instead taking great pleasure in appreciating reproductive strategies of everyday creatures such as ducks, dogs, mites, even the Edinburgh Zoo’s pandas, whose failed mating attempts were ridiculed in the press. Howard’s story is as much anthropology as zoology, but not because he draws lessons for human sexual behavior from the rest of Earth’s inhabitants. He is at least as interested in documenting the specialized thinking and the personality quirks of his fellow naturalists, scientists, and animal breeders whose deep, narrow focus on specific species makes them perfect experts on animal mating strategies, and in communicating his own delight in chasing down evidence directly, such as when hearing the sound of his spring pond coming to life sparks an obsession with seeing frogs have sex. Though there’s little that groundbreaking in Howard’s scientific content, the infectious optimism of his fascination with an Earth full of beings doing exactly what they need to to go on gives the reader a comforting sense that, in the grand scheme of things, everything is right with the world. [em](Nov.) [/em]