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

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5

The Improbable Invasion

In which we find out how our fishy ancestors took a deep breath and crawled out of the water

                   Let me, if not by birth, have lands by wit:

                   All with me’s meet that I can fashion fit.

—William Shakespeare, King Lear

Cute is not an adjective commonly applied to sharks. Vicious, deadly, menacing, and assorted synonyms all spring easily to mind, thanks in no small measure to the movie Jaws and its celluloid ilk (and the more excitable brand of nature documentary). Sleek and graceful may also be used once in a while by those of us who think sharks have had more than their fair share of bad press over the years. But unlikely as the prospect may seem, I defy you to watch an epaulette shark ...

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