Book | J.W. Jenkinson Laboratory for Evolution and Development



1. Book recommendation
2. Youtube video on phylogeny
3. Video on animal evolution
4. Royal Society 'Summer Science Exhibition'

1. Book recommendation

Holland, Peter (2011) The Animal Kingdom: a Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
£ 7.99 To order click

Also available in Japanese, click

and Arabic, click


This book serves as a short and readable introduction to the diversity of the animal kingdom, including a summary of recent insights from molecular phylogenetics and the relevance of evolutionary developmental biology. Suitable for a general readership, undergraduates and non-specialists.

From the book cover: “Did you know that a tuna is a closer cousin to you than it is to a shark? And a coelacanth is your blood brother when compared to a tuna? It is good for us to learn our place, tucked away in one small corner of one side room of the gigantic art gallery that is the animal kingdom. Peter Holland shows us round the whole gallery with the mature expertise of the world authority yet with the light touch of a youthful enthusiast”. Richard Dawkins

“Lovely little book”
Jerry Coyne ‘Why Evolution is True’ blog, 1 Dec 2012:

“Short (120 small pages), up to date (how many animal phyla do you think there are now?), and packed with cool information”
Jerry Coyne ‘Why Evolution is True’ blog, 28 Nov 2012:

“An excellent introductory evo-devo text. For old hands, the description of the molecular revolution of the 1980s and the discovery of the ‘developmental toolkit’ is particularly entertaining. …. it’s worth the money on its own. I heartily recommend it.”
Thomas Butts, The Node, 1 Mar 2012:

“One of my favorite overall popular science books”
Bojan Tunguz, Amazon review, 19 Mar 2012:

“You're going to love reading The Animal Kingdom: A Very Short Introduction”
Grrlscientist, The Guardian online, 23 Jan 2012:

2. Youtube video

I gave a short talk at the Oxford Literary Festival. An edited version - a 4-minute snaphot - is online at

3. Interview about animal evolution

A very short interview about animal evolution, based on my Very Short Introduction book; online at

4. Royal Society 'Summer Science Exhibition'

Charing a discussion on animal diversity, with Geoff Boxshall, Sam Turvey and Charles Godfray