Flights of Fancy
It never ceases to amaze me how intricate and beautiful life on our planet is - and the development of flight is one of the most wonderful intricacies of all. Who better than Richard Dawkins to take us on the journey through the evolution of flight? His obvious passion and love for science is always contagious.
From the deadly dance between moths and bats, to the wonders of mechanised flight, this book examines nature’s desire to break free from the bonds of gravity (or, as Dawkins says in the closing lines of the book, nature's escape from gravity into the third dimension). These moments, though sometimes brief and ungainly, have nevertheless provided safety, threat and wonder in equal measure to those who have learned flight’s secrets.
What I really enjoyed about “Flights of Fancy” is the way in which Dawkins switches back and forth between natural flight and its mechanical (or human) equivalent. Flying, gliding, floating or free-falling; humans have copied nature and invented new mechanisms not (yet) observed in life in the universe.
Why has flight evolved? Why does it become increasingly difficult for larger species to fly? What are the differences between evolved and designed flight? Dawkins examines the answers to these and many other questions on becoming airborne. In the process, he once again demonstrates his immense knowledge on the subjects of evolution and science.
And finally, writing about this book without mentioning the illustrations would be like describing a bird and not mentioning its wings! Jana Lenzova’s illustrations add their own colourful stories to a fascinating read.