This book is full of surprises, taking
on the thorny issue of where different species come from, where people think
they belong, and what people are doing about it. Written in an entertaining
way, Ken Thompson takes on those who hate and try to kill species simply
because they perceive them to be in the wrong place. First, he establishes the
science, pointing out that many species evolved in places that you wouldn't
guess…. Camels did not evolve in western Asia or North Africa originally, but I
won’t spoil the story.
Most species evolved somewhere but today survive
somewhere else. This is obvious to someone like Thompson, whose career
has been based in Sheffield in England, which was at the edge of an ice sheet a
mere 20,000 years ago. Virtually all of the species that live in and
around Sheffield today only colonised the area in the last 10,000 years or so,
a blink of an eye in geological terms. They evolved somewhere else. Full of anecdotes, and fascinating natural history, Ken Thompson takes aim at a
cadre of scientists - invasion biologists - who take a holier-than-thou
attitude to where species should be allowed to live and who, amazingly, have
persuaded policymakers to try and keep ‘foreign species’ out of their native
lands, wherever possible.
Ken Thompson reveals not only the contradictions of
this stance but the impossibility as well as the stupidity of this stance. If you are interested in natural history, conservation, or how people are
changing the world, this is a great read.