The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st Century Bestiary
by Caspar Henderson
University of Chicago Press, 2013 ($29)

Inspired by medieval bestiaries, Henderson describes amazing but real creatures, from the axolotl (a salamander with “gills branching like soft coral from its neck”) to the zebra fish (whose genetic manipulability and transparent embryos make it a good model for biology research). Each entry marries history and philosophy with science, and fantastical illustrations, photographs and diagrams enrich the book's pages.

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