In this menagerie of the misunderstood, zoologist Lucy Cooke explores centuries of animals myths, revealing the fascinating and often hilarious truths behind some of the strangest animal theories.
Lucy Cooke is an award-winning broadcaster and filmmaker with a
Masters in zoology from Oxford university (where she was tutored by
She began her career working behind the scenes in television comedy but is now an increasingly familiar face on natural history TV, having presented prime time series for BBC, ITV and National Geographic.
She writes for the Telegraph and the Huffington Post. Her only previous book (a picture book about sloths - A Little Book of Sloth) was a New York Times bestseller.
"A riot of facts....Cooke scores a series of goals with style and
panache." -- James Marriott * The Times *
"Beautifully written, meticulously researched, with the science often couched in outrageous asides, this is a splendid read. In fact, I cannot remember when I last enjoyed a non-fiction work so much." -- William Hartston * Daily Express *
"Best science pick. Sigmund Freud's first paper involved the dissection of eels in an attempt to locate their testes. To his frustration, Freud failed to find any. The eel's life cycle remains slippery, notes natural-history broadcaster Lucy Cooke in her deeply researched, sassily written history of "the biggest misconceptions, mistakes and myths we've concocted about the animal kingdom", spread by figures from Aristotle to Walt Disney. Other chapters spotlight the sloth, vulture, hippopotamus, panda, chimpanzee and others, and dismantle anthropocentric cliches with scientific, global evidence." -- Barbara Kiser * Nature *
"Lucy Cooke's The Unexpected Truth About Animals was a joy from beginning to end. Who could resist a writer who argues that penguins have been pulling the wool over our eyes for years, and that, far from being cute and gregarious, they are actually pathologically unpleasant necrophiliacs?" -- John Crace * Guardian *
"Packed with knowledge and eye-opening animal history . . . almost every page contains something startling. In bringing us all this information, Cooke has clearly done her homework - travelling the world to see the animals for herself, and consulting many obscure books . . . a winning combination of thorough knowledge, lots of good jokes and a passionate love of animals that means Cooke can even mount convincing defences of such despised creatures as vultures. An often eye-popping, occasionally hair-raising, but ultimately joyous reminder of just how strange our world is. " * Daily Mail *