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The Variety of Life

by Colin Tudge
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. 704 pages.

"[A]n eye for classification is a constant reminder that nothing on this planet is as homely as it seems — there are several thousand million years of evolutionary drama behind everything that moves and breathes," Colin Tudge explains in The Variety of Life, which provides both a primer on systematics and (in the words of the book's subtitle) a survey and a celebration of all the creatures that have ever lived. The Variety of Life was praised by Edward O Wilson as "a valuable introduction to the higher classification of organisms and an easily accessible reference work to the entire spread of biodiversity."