If the World were 100 Animals
Miranda Smith and Aaron Cushley
The total number of individual animals on Earth is around 20 billion billion. So says Miranda Smith, author of this book; but it’s exceedingly difficult to visualise such a number, so instead let’s use just one hundred: how does that look? Well, there are many ways of looking at that number; for instance how many are vertebrates and how many invertebrates; how do they differ?
What about mammals? It appears that of the 100, 94 are placental ( I was fascinated to learnt that baby dolphins are born with a moustache), 5 are marsupial and just one is a monotreme -an egg laying mammal) with all five species living in Australia and New Guinea. We’re also shown – by means of a pictorial map – the distribution of wild mammals across the continents.
I was astonished that when considering 100 marine animal species, a mere 9 are already known, the rest have yet to be discovered. I guess that’s not really surprising as we also read that 95% of our oceans haven’t been explored.
Flighted animals, mammals living in the wild,
pets, the animals most deadly to humans, extinct animals and those endangered are the remaining explorations based on that one hundred supposition, and this hugely thought-provoking exploration of biodiversity concludes with some key questions relating to human actions and how these endanger the world of animals, to consider, discuss and one hopes, act upon to ensure the survival of the creatures threatened.
With Aaron Cushley’s bright, eye-catching illustrations on each of the eleven double-page spreads, what is quite a difficult overall concept (that of percentage), with a fair number of biological terms used in Miranda Smith’s text, becomes much more approachable. However, parents of children under seven (the publishers state 5+ in their PR) who haven’t studied biology beyond the basics may well find it tricky to help youngsters grasp some of the content..