Richard Fortey

Wipeout

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

By

Bloomsbury 336pp £20 order from our bookshop

Casu marzu is a Sardinian cheese full of living maggots, and an image of this delicacy popped unbidden into my mind as I read about what we humans are doing to our fellow creatures. As we proliferate, other species die out. This is not simply a phenomenon of the industrial age. In The Sixth Extinction Elizabeth Kolbert acknowledges that destructiveness is a lethal characteristic of our species, as intrinsic as the spots on a leopard, and that extermination is something we have been doing for more than ten thousand years.

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