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Snippets about: Biology

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Cuvier Discovers Extinction and a Pre-Human "Lost World"

In revolutionary France, naturalist Georges Cuvier studied fossilized elephant and mastodon bones, including specimens discovered in North America. He recognized that their anatomy was distinct from living species. This led him to propose that some species had gone extinct - a radical idea at the time. He identified the mastodon, mammoth, giant ground sloth, and more as "lost species." Cuvier envisioned a pre-human world populated by unfamiliar creatures that had been wiped out by sudden catastrophes.

His work established extinction as a scientific fact and the existence of a "former world" before humans, though his catastrophist views were later overturned.

Section: 1, Chapter: 2

Book: The Sixth Extinction

Author: Elizabeth Kolbert

"Your Biology Is, In Effect, 24/7"

"The body's tendency to hold on to what we have [is] a brilliant survival strategy...Evolution could never have anticipated that we would have an abundance of energy [dense food] all the time. The system was designed for one environment that took millions of years to create, and now it's trying to cope with a radically different environment... Of course, that's really bad news for individuals with obesity, because they're fighting their biology, and their biology is, in effect, 24/7."

- Michael Lowe, hunger and obesity researcher, on how weight loss triggers biological backlash that relentlessly drives weight regain

Section: 1, Chapter: 6

Book: Magic PIll

Author: Johann Hari

Sleep Is Universal Across All Organisms

Virtually every organism studied to date sleeps or engages in something remarkably like it, including: Insects, including flies, bees, and cockroaches, and even very simple organisms like nematodes and jellyfish

The universality of sleep across living creatures suggests it evolved with life itself and must serve critical functions. The fact that animals will die if deprived of sleep further proves its life-sustaining importance.

Section: 1, Chapter: 4

Book: Why We Sleep

Author: Matthew Walker

Books about Biology

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