Mark Cocker

Let there be light: the Atlantic footballfish dwells 3,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. [Paulo Oliveira / Alamy Stock Photo]

How to live in a world without light: Life in the Dark at the Natural History Museum reviewed

18 August 2018 9:00 am

Like most of our ape ancestors, we have really had only one response to the fall of night. We have…

The long limbs, light frame and deep chest of sighthounds, like the Borzoi or Russian wolfhound, give them the speed and endurance to outrun their quarry. Drawing by Katrina van Grouw

The selective breeding of pets: how far should we go?

11 August 2018 9:00 am

It was in his play Back to Methuselah that George Bernard Shaw honoured a lesser known aspect of Charles Darwin’s…

Forty years ago, curlews were ubiquitous on British coasts in winter. But mechanised farming and the use of chemicals have spelt disaster

The lovely curlew is wading into extinction

2 June 2018 9:00 am

Mary Colwell, a producer at the BBC natural history unit, is on a mission: to save the British curlew from…

Detail of a fresco from the House of the Golden Bracelet, Pompeii

The sacred chickens that ruled the roost in ancient Rome

26 May 2018 9:00 am

Even the most cursory glance at the classical period reveals the central place that birds played in the religious and…

Both Henry Williamson and Edward Thomas acknowledged their debt to Richard Jefferies (above)

Richard Jefferies: a naturalist under the microscope

3 February 2018 9:00 am

Alan Bennett once defined a classic as ‘a book everyone is assumed to have read and forgets if they have…

‘The Kindly Robin’: a Victorian Christmas card portrays the robin as a ‘good’ bird, despite it being aggressive by nature, and quick to see off intruders

Animals make us human

28 October 2017 9:00 am

There was a time when biologists so scorned the attribution of human qualities to other animals that anthropomorphism was seen…

Kathmandu is famously reputed to have more temples than houses, more idols than residents

Kathmandu — or don’t

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Although Nepal’s earthquake last April visited our television screens with images of seismic devastation, the disaster has probably had little…

Tracking the great Siberian tiger

23 January 2016 9:00 am

Of all charismatic animals, tigers are surely the most filmed, televised, documented, noisily cherished and, paradoxically, the most persecuted on…

Green is the colour of happiness

17 October 2015 8:00 am

According to this wonderfully thought-provoking book, human attachment to plants was much more evident in the 19th century than it…

The Clouded Yellow, especially vulnerable to cold, wet weather, is rare in Britain and usually confined to the South Downs and south coast

We all love butterflies — so why are we wiping them out?

1 August 2015 9:00 am

Last month, at Edinburgh School of Art, I was interested to come across a student who’d chosen Marlowe’s Dr Faustus…

New ways to destroy the world

6 June 2015 9:00 am

Despite the offer of joy proposed in the subtitle, this is a deeply troubling book by one of Britain’s foremost…

Cuckoo chick with wren parent

Why the cheating cuckoo may finally be getting its comeuppance

21 March 2015 9:00 am

In recent years there has been a fashion for so-called ‘new nature writing’, where the works are invariably heavy with…

A short-eared owl in the Highlands, one of many predators still being killed by gamekeepers

John Lister-Kaye tracks Highland wildlife through a pair of binoculars as he lies in his bath

7 March 2015 9:00 am

Sir John Lister-Kaye has adopted a very familiar format in his new book of wildlife encounters. Essentially he charts a…

Simon Barnes’s final chapters converge not at mammals, even less at primates, but at fish

From water-dwelling sponges to face-eating hyenas: the whole of life is in this book

15 November 2014 9:00 am

‘The meaning of life’, announces Simon Barnes in the opening pages of his new book, ‘is life, and the purpose…