Beetle. Adam Dodd.

London: Reaktion Books, 2016. Octavo, paperback, photographs and illustrations.

WAS $25. Reaktion Animal Series. From ancient Egyptian deities to German automobiles, beetles have left an indelible mark on human cultures around the world. Comprising more than 350,000 species, beetles are among the most prolific animals on Earth, even if we rarely give them a second thought. In this book Adam Dodd explores the world of the beetle and its sometimes astounding and bizarre intersections with the world of the human being.Beetle relates this resilient insect's emergence from the 'Great Dying' extinction event some 250 million years ago, showing how it became a permanent fixture in the natural world, thriving in the inhabitation of niches. Inspiring early occult beliefs and religious myths, the beetle also finds its way into art, folklore, literature and science. Dodd uncovers the beetle's ongoing place in the aesthetic appreciation of nature, and shows how knowledge of beetle anatomy is assisting the development of cutting-edge cybernetics, blurring the boundary between science and fiction.Thoroughly illustrated, bursting with historical detail and accessibly written, this cultural and natural history of the beetle is sure to change the way readers think about their relationship with these ancient, enduringly captivating animals.

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