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Sleeping Beauties

The Mystery of Dormant Innovations in Nature and Culture

Andreas Wagner

Life innovates constantly, producing perfectly adapted species – but there’s a catch.

Animals, plants and even human inventions can languish for eons, despite having everything going for them. Once you start to look, those ‘sleeping beauties’ crop up everywhere. But why?

Looking at the book of life, from apex predators to keystone crops, and through cutting-edge experiments, Andreas Wagner demonstrates that innovations come frequently and cheaply to nature, well before they are needed. Look at prehistoric bacteria with the remarkable ability to fight off 21st-century antibiotics. And human history fits the pattern too, with life-changing technologies invented, forgotten and rediscovered before they finally took off.

  • Publication date: April 6, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780861545278
  • RRP: £20.00
  • Pages: 352


‘Andreas Wagner has again cut through to the heart of a vital question.’

Matt Ridley on Life Finds a Way

‘A wonderful, mind-expanding book.’

Alice Roberts on Life Finds a Way

Andreas Wagner

Andreas Wagner is a professor and chairman at the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich. He is the author of four books on evolutionary innovation, including Life Finds a Way, which is also published by Oneworld. He lives in Zurich.

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More books by Andreas Wagner

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