Book 254: I, Mammal by Liam Drew

“I, Mammal: Th Story Of What Makes Us Mammals” by Liam Drew

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Finished reading on April 13th, 2020

Rating: 9/10

A few months ago I was looking for a book that would tell me more about lactation and how it evolved in mammals. Main reason for it – breastfeeding my child and pondering how it’s the most natural way to provide nutrition for an infant and yet we as humans also use the products of some other species’ lactation, and how it’s all quite weird.

This book looks at how mammals differ from other kinds of animals- not just in possessing mammary glands- and how one small change in some part of physiology led to a change in another part and ended up producing a plethora of weird and wonderful creatures.

It was an interesting book to read for sure. But as with reading probably just about any book on evolutionary biology – the end is quite poignant. Although mammals have existed in various forms for millions of years, by now humans and their domesticated animals make up most of the biomass in case of mammals…

But let’s get to the more fun bits. It was fascinating to read (and tell my partner) about why scrotums might positioned the way they are and how not every mammal has an even number of mammary glands and how hooded seals nurse their pups for a really short time and lose a lot of weight while pups grow at exceptional rates.

I found it illuminating and it left me yearning to read more evolutionary biology books at popular science level.

I’d highly recommend this to any male or female mammal reading this blog post!

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