A billion-year history of movement,
from bacteria to Olympic athletes.
'Packed with revelations, scholarly but clear, Restless Creatures carries
you from the kinetics of the amoeba to that of the blue whale, from the
swim-cycle of spermatozoa, to why skipping works best on the moon. A
pop-science treat.' Gavin Francis, author of Adventures in Human Being
Despite the overwhelming diversity of life on earth, one theme has
dominated its evolution: the apparently simple act of moving from one place to
another. Restless Creatures is the first book for a general
audience telling the incredible story of locomotion in human and animal
Evolutionary biologist Matt Wilkinson traces this 4-billion-year
history, showing why our ancestors became two-legged, how movement explains why
we have opposable thumbs and a backbone, how fish fins became limbs, how even
trees are locomotion-obsessed, and how movement has shaped our minds as well as
our bodies. He explains why there are no flying monkeys or biological wheels,
how dinosaurs took to the air, how Mexican waves were the making of the animal
kingdom, and why moving can make us feel good.
Restless Creatures opens up an astonishing new perspective -
that little in evolution makes sense unless in the light of movement.
Matt Wilkinson is a zoologist and science communicator at the University of Cambridge. His work has been covered in the Telegraph, Metro, New Scientist and Nature. He has been a runner-up in the Daily Telegraph/BASF science writer competition, and reached second place in the first Cheltenham Science Festival FameLab competition. In 2007 he went to drama school, and he wrote a play about T.H. Huxley that was premiered at the 2009 Darwin Festival. Restless Creatures is his first book.