Animal Earth: The Amazing Diversity of Living Creatures

Piper, Ross

Publication date:2013
Publisher:Thames and Hudson

Piper, R. (2013). Animal Earth: The Amazing Diversity of Living Creatures. New York: Thames and Hudson




What most of us think of as the animal kingdom really only accounts for a tiny portion of the tens of millions of species that inhabit our planet. This book, Animal Earth, is an unbiased tour of this (still) largely undiscovered world, illuminating the bizarre appearances and hidden lives of the creatures that share our planet, but which we’ve rarely seen. What is perhaps more surprising is that this bewildering range of animal species can be traced to a small number of lineages, sharing a common body plan and evolutionary history. Animal Earth not only provides an evenhanded summary of each but also reflects the latest research on the evolutionary relationships between species. It contains beautiful, color photographs that draw the reader in and make them want to stay. It’s a large book and resembles a textbook in many ways, from its organization and readability.


The readability of this text would likely be described as “post-high school,” but I believe that is because it often uses rather long sentences – the wording isn’t overly complicated though. I would use this in an advanced high school biology class, not only for the written content, but especially for the visuals, which are stunning. This is the only book in my text set that I think the visuals steal the show and make it important to expose high school students to.

Use in Class

This book is written and organized much like a textbook, so I would probably have to use it sparingly, but it could very well be a great resource regardless of that fact. Like I mentioned, I am most impressed with the visuals, so in-class heterogeneous group readings may be what’s in order in this case. I imagine that I could photocopy some visuals from this text into testing material because I think the visuals will help the information stick well and jog students’ memories.

Unit Focus


Submitted by Luke Evancoe

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