Non-fiction, Popular Science
(Paperback | ISBN 9789387693753 | 304 pp | July 2018)
This fascinating book takes you into the improbably extravagant secret world of dung—the inevitable by-product of all human, animal and bird life.
While humans have traditionally made use of this abundant natural resource, from burning cow-dung patties to making elephant poo paper, the world would be drowning in dung if it weren’t for nature’s ultimate recyclers. As Call of Nature explains, the expulsion of bodily waste is the start of a race against time, as creatures eat, breed and compete for dung, creating a miniature ecosystem to explore. This secret world contains dung-feeders who can devour a giant ball of elephant dung in minutes; dung-breeders, including the enigmatic dung-rolling beetles that gave rise to the Egyptian sacred scarab; and parasites, such as the terrifying wasps that lay their eggs in the larvae of other dung-breeding insects.
For those who want a hands-on approach, the author completes the book with the various types of dung and illustrated identification guides to the species of dung-feeders you’re most likely to encounter on an exploration of the dung heap. But even if you never go hunting through dung heaps yourself, this witty, highly acclaimed book is an eye-opening look into the alien world that surrounds all of us.
‘We all know that s**t happens. It’s what happens to it afterwards that is really important…a beautiful book about the biological poetry of dung…’ —Nick Baker
‘This book is a true gem and one that opened up a whole new world of natural history to me...a best practice example of scientific writing.’—Clive Herbert, London Naturalist
‘I love this book. Packed with scatological gems, it is a magnificent, highly entertaining and beautifully illustrated guide to the world of excrement. No bookshelf could be complete without it.’
—Professor Dave Goulson, author of A Sting in the Tale