Beautiful science books to get away from it all

Posted today at 5:00 p.m.

Journeys through galaxies, glimpses of a world from which we have disappeared, learned games around Game of Throne, stroll on the canopy or with our cousins ​​primates, diving towards the Cosquer cave and our origins, flight into the world of birds and the diversity of living things … Beautiful books, in these times of Covid, remain a powerful source of escape .

A planet of the apes in danger

Save the primates

by Brice Lefaux and Jean Wollenschneider (Belin, 364 p., € 29.90)

Beautiful books on primates regularly accompany the end-of-year celebrations. Editions Belin and veterinarian Brice Lefaux made a more original choice. As its title clearly indicates, if the work recalls the extraordinary diversity of our primate cousins ​​and their ecological importance, if it highlights the dangers they face, it emphasizes above all the means to save them. . International regulations, protection, fight against trafficking and defense of natural habitat are reviewed in detail. The author, primatologist and director of the Mulhouse zoological and botanical park, also underlines the role of ex situ conservation in raising funds and offering temporary responses to emergencies. However, all this would not make a “beautiful book” without the illustrations by Jean Wollenschneider: they are superb.

Our species, humanity among others

The Grand Atlas “Homo sapiens”

by Telmo Pievani and Valéry Zeitoun (Glénat- “Le Monde”, 208 p., € 39.95)

One of the main lessons of the past decade in paleontology is that humanity is conjugated in the plural, in an increasingly complex recomposed past. Take Denisova Cave in Russian Altai. The genetic analysis of the fossils that she delivered revealed the coexistence on the same territory, and for tens of thousands of years, of Neanderthals and Denisovans, with whom our ancestors Homo sapiens hybridized. Our species, the only survivor, carries in its genome the traces of these crossings and migrations. This atlas, a co-edition between Glénat and The world, traces this abundant heritage and invites, at a time when questions of identity saturate our present, to take a healthy step back.

In the footsteps of the “lava hunters”


by Thomas Delano (EPA editions, 328 p., € 39.95)

Both an engineer by training and an explorer, Thomas Delano defines himself as a “lava hunter”. In other words, a passionate about volcanism. Here he offers a world tour in 80 fascinating volcanoes, from Mount Saint Helens, in the United States, to Tongariro, in New Zealand, without forgetting the Italian stars (Vesuvius, Etna, Stromboli …) or the very sleepy chain des Puys. Each volcano is accompanied by its technical sheet (altitude, type of eruption, explosiveness index, etc.) and, above all, its history. Some are famous – like that of the eruption, in 2010, of Icelandic Eyjafjallajökull, which forced the closure of European airspace -, others are less so, like that of Bromo, in Indonesia, in the mouth from which the inhabitants pour out offerings every year.

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Beautiful science books to get away from it all