Gabrielle Walker Illustration Essay

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May-June 2013

Volume: 101 Number: 3

The peacock spider (Maratus volans) is a tiny jumping spider native to eastern Australia, deriving its name from the brightly colored flaps on the male’s abdomen that it extends in a fan-like shape during courtship. The full courtship dance, which also includes waving his third pair of furry, striped legs, can be viewed in a popular nature video on YouTube: http://youtu.be/9GgAbyYDFeg. Many extreme structures in the living world are attributed to sexual selection and sexual reproduction. Divergence of structures toward extremes and the rise of new species can be detected by studying areas of the genome that are rapidly evolving. Not only are visible features, such as the peacock spider’s fan, subject to past or present rapid evolution, the process also affects the proteins that moderate sperm–egg interactions. In “Rapid Evolution in Eggs and Sperm” (pages 210–217), Katrina Claw compares and contrasts sperm and egg morphology and biochemistry across the tree of life, and explains why and how this diversity evolved. (Cover illustration by Emma Skurnick.)

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Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of the World's Most Mysterious Continent4.22 · Rating details ·  475 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews

There have been many books about Antarctica in the past, but all have focused on only one aspect of the continent - its science, its wildlife, the heroic age of exploration, personal experiences or the sheer awesome beauty of the landscape, for example - but none has managed to capture whole story, till now. Gabrielle Walker, author, consultant to New Scientist and regularThere have been many books about Antarctica in the past, but all have focused on only one aspect of the continent - its science, its wildlife, the heroic age of exploration, personal experiences or the sheer awesome beauty of the landscape, for example - but none has managed to capture whole story, till now. Gabrielle Walker, author, consultant to New Scientist and regular broadcaster with the BBC has written a book unlike any that has ever been written about the continent. Antarctica weaves all the significant threads into an intricate tapestry, made up of science, natural history, poetry, epic history, what it feels like to be there and why it draws so many different kinds of people back there again and again. It is only when all the parts come together that the underlying truths of the continent emerge. Antarctica is the most alien place on Earth, the only part of our planet where humans could never survive unaided. It is truly like walking on another planet. And yet, in its silence, its agelessness and its mysteries lie the secrets of our past, and of our future....more

Hardcover, 391 pages

Published March 1st 2012 by Bloomsbury UK (first published January 1st 2012)

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