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Summary

Welcome to the biggest, fastest, deadliest science book you'll ever hear.

The world's largest land mammal could help us end cancer. The fastest bird is showing us how to solve a century-old engineering mystery. The oldest tree is giving us insights into climate change. The loudest whale is offering clues about the impact of solar storms. 

For a long time, scientists ignored superlative life forms as outliers. Increasingly, though, researchers are coming to see great value in studying plants and animals that exist on the outermost edges of the bell curve. 

As it turns out, there’s a lot of value in paying close attention to the “oddballs” nature has to offer. 

Go for a swim with a ghost shark, the slowest-evolving creature known to humankind, which is teaching us new ways to think about immunity. Get to know the axolotl, which has the longest-known genome and may hold the secret to cellular regeneration. Learn about Monorhaphis chuni, the oldest discovered animal, which is providing insights into the connection between our terrestrial and aquatic worlds. 

Superlative is the story of extreme evolution, and what we can learn from it about ourselves, our planet, and the cosmos. It's a tale of crazy-fast cheetahs and super-strong beetles, of microbacteria and enormous plants, of whip-smart dolphins and killer snakes. 

This book will inspire you to change the way you think about the world and your relationship to everything in it.

©2018 by Matthew D. LaPlante. (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing Inc., all rights reserved. Published by arrangement with BenBella Books.

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  • Nerd's-eye view
  • 06-12-19

Fascinating survey of amazing biology

The narrative was great, but the narrator kept mispronouncing words and putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable in various terms. Mispronounced terms like "amigdala" and "cyclopamine" and "cnidarian" and several others grated my ears.

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  • Aaron
  • 16-06-20

Very entertaining book of biology!

This book was very entertaining and wonderfully written. Full of fun facts and funny quips. If you are looking for a detailed explanation of how superlative biology comes to exist, this may leave you wanting a little more. But if you want to learn some things you never knew in a fun and light hearted way, this is a great read/listen!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-06-19

Awesome book

I dont consider myself an environmentalist, but after reading this, I am more environmentally conscious. it is also a great book on exploring how science is being applied for developing new products, medicines through the study of extreme animals and plants. One of my new favorite books.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-06-19

Fascinating and fun

If you have any sort of curiosity about the living world around us and how we fit in, this is a must read. LaPlante uses extremes as a platform to guide us to a better realization of what’s going on right under our feet and out the door. He instills the enthusiasm of a child with solid scientific backing to take us on the journey.