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A Lively Book About Wild Death

Life Everlasting by Bernd Heinrich Reviewed by Alexis Williams

Life Everlasting: The animal way of death is a book about wild death that should be called Decomposition: Ecological recyclers. It’s not only about animals, it talks about plants and fungi and protists and bacteria. It looks at a long list of fascinating organisms that facilitate decomposition. (with out ever using the word saprophyte)

It is a beautiful look at the mechanics and behaviors that guide nutrients through ecology. There were some details that I found obscene and plan to redact with black marker, but I give this full marks for being exciting and weird and smart and interested in all the right stuff: Dung Beetles, Vultures, mushrooms, he even explains how caterpillars turn into moths. The whole way through he manages to be insightful rather than yucky.


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