Beauty and the Beast: The Coevolution of Plants and Animals

Beauty and the Beast: The Coevolution of Plants and Animals
by Grant, Susan T.

(Illus. by Laszlo Kubinyi)
SH, C, GA **


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This well-written, interesting book describes many aspects and types of ecological interactions among plants and animals, both antagonistic and helpful. The introductory chapter provides the framework for the readers' thoughts; it defines coevolution and points out that mutual aid and mutual injury are not always opposing concepts. Several chapters are devoted to self-defense mechanisms, from bodily armor to speed to repellents and poisons. These are followed by several chapters on pollination describing the aid of wind and insects bees, birds, and other animals. Plant dispersal via birds and animals is also discussed. Finally, a few examples of long-term mutual aid--symbiosis--are presented. Beauty and the Beast looks at a fascinating area of biology that can be appreciated by everyone. This is not a textbook, for it is written in prose meant to capture the lay person's attention. It would also be suitable as supplementary material in a general biology course.

--Reviewed by Janan T. Eppig in Science Books and Films, 21/3 (January/February 1986), p. 138.