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Restless Creatures: The Story of Life in Ten Movements by Matt Wilkinson

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4

Go-Faster Stripe

In which we see how a knack for underwater wriggling took the vertebrates to the evolutionary front line

                   To bend like a reed in the wind—that is true strength.

—Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching

In 348 B.C. an event took place that would forever change the course of biological thought: King Philip II of Macedon sacked the Greek city of Olynthus and sold its entire population into slavery. This may not appear to be an obvious addition to the timeline of science. Indeed, on the face of it, Philip’s act was just one among many similar atrocities that pepper ancient history. However, the destruction of Olynthus had one seemingly insignificant consequence that would eventually lead to the publication of the Origin of Species ...

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