[UCP Books]: Dawn of the Deed: The Prehistoric Origins of Sex

“You are now holding a compromise between a book that you should carry hidden inside an opaque bag, and a sober, respectable scientific treatise. It’s a deliciously written account of the evolution of sex, in all of its bizarre manifestations. Read, blush, and enjoy!”
Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel

“Erotica for empiricists.”
Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic Magazine

Dawn of the Deed
The Prehistoric Origins of Sex
by John A. Long

Publication Date: November 1, 2012 978-0-226-49254-4 


Stegosaurus sex! Barnacle canoodling! Tales of a well-endowed (16.5 inches!) Argentine duck! All of this and more can be found in The Dawn of the Deed, where natural history reads a little like an issue of Cosmo. Paleontologist John A. Long takes us all the way back to the origins of sex as we know it—sort of—380 million years ago. That’s the age of the placoderm fish fossil that Long and a team of researchers discovered that revealed the oldest vertebrate embryo and thus, the earliest known example of internal fertilization.

Inspired by this incredible find, Long began a quest to uncover the paleontological and evolutionary history of copulation and insemination. In The Dawn of the Deed, he takes readers on an entertaining and lively tour through the sex lives of ancient fish and exposes the unusual mating habits of arthropods, tortoises, and of course—mammals. Long discusses these significant discoveries alongside what we know about reproductive biology and evolutionary theory, using the fossil record to provide a provocative account of prehistoric sex. The Dawn of the Deed also explores fascinating revelations about animal reproduction, from homosexual penguins to monogamous seahorses to the difficulties of dinosaur romance and how sexual organs in ancient shark-like fishes actually relate to our own sexual anatomy.

John Long is vice president of research and collections at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. His other books include, most recently, Frozen in Time: Prehistoric Life of Antarctica and The Rise of Fishes. He is available for interviews.

Please contact Carrie Olivia Adams at 773-702-4216 or cadams@press.uchicago.edu for more information.



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