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Spirals in Time: Book summary and reviews of Spirals in Time by Helen Scales

Spirals in Time

The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells

by Helen Scales

Spirals in Time by Helen Scales X
Spirals in Time by Helen Scales
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Book Summary

Seashells, stretching from the deep past into the present day, are touchstones leading into fascinating realms of the natural world and cutting-edge science. Members of the phylum Mollusca are among the most ancient animals on the planet. Their shells provide homes for other animals, and across the ages, people have used shells not only as trinkets but also as a form of money, and as powerful symbols of sex and death, prestige and war.

The science and natural history of shells are woven into a compelling narrative, revealing their cultural importance and the ways they have been used by humans over the millennia. (Seashells have even been tapped as a source of mind-bending drugs.) Marine biologist Helen Scales shows how seashells have been sculpted by the fundamental rules of mathematics and evolution; how they gave us color, gems, food, and new medicines.

After surviving multiple mass extinctions millions of years ago, molluscs and their shells still face an onslaught of anthropogenic challenges, including climate change and corrosive oceans. But rather than dwelling on all that is lost, Scales emphasizes that seashells offer an accessible way to reconnect people with nature, helping to bridge the gap between ourselves and the living world. Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells shows why nature matters, and reveals the hidden wonders that you can hold in the palm of your hand.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Scales's eclectic approach to this ancient bridge between the human and natural worlds conveys her curiosity and appreciation, which readers will share." - Publishers Weekly

"Scales demonstrates her encyclopedic knowledge ... an enchanting, accessible tour of the seashell and its place and purpose within the natural world." - Kirkus

"Recommended for readers of marine science and nature books." - Library Journal

This information about Spirals in Time shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Helen Scales Author Biography

Helen Scales, PhD, is a marine biologist, writer, and public broadcaster. She is the author of Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells and Eye of the Shoal: A Fishwatcher's Guide to Life, the Ocean, and Everything. She has written for National Geographic, the Guardian, New Scientist, BBC Wildlife Magazine, and BBC Focus, among others, and also presents the Earth Unscrewed podcast. She teaches marine biology and science writing at Cambridge University and advises the marine conservation charity Sea Changers. She divides her time between Cambridge, England, and the French coast of Finistère.

Link to Helen Scales's Website

Other books by Helen Scales at BookBrowse
  • The Brilliant Abyss jacket
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