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The Ecology Book by DK, Tony Juniper

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INTRODUCTION

For the earliest humans, a rudimentary knowledge of ecology—how organisms relate to one another—was a matter of life and death. Without having a basic understanding of why animals grazed in a certain place and fruit-bearing plants grew in another, our ancestors would not have survived and evolved.

How living animals and plants interact with each other, and with the nonliving environment interested the ancient Greeks. In the 4th century BCE, Aristotle and his student Theophrastus developed theories of animal metabolism and heat regulation, dissected birds’ eggs to discover how they grew, and described an 11-level “ladder of life,” the first attempt at classifying organisms. Aristotle also explained how some animals consume others—the ...

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