Since Charles Darwin, evolutionary biologists have been convinced that the males of the animal kingdom are the interesting ones—dominating and promiscuous, while females are dull, passive, and devoted. Cooke tells a new story.
Offering a wealth of examples ranging from cannibal spiders to sex-switching reef fish, Cooke dismantles a mass of misconceptions about binary sex roles, many of which can be traced back to that beloved bearded icon, Charles Darwin ... Cooke gleefully rebuts many of these assumptions about male dominance and female docility ..so full of marvellous surprises about sex roles that I sensed Cooke herself was transformed in its writing.
Cooke is willing to question the scientific validity of the evolutionary story as handed down by Darwin – a scientific sacred cow. To do so even now is to invite controversy and even anger, but the author does so with a charming mix of wit and scientific analysis. Cooke’s career in television began in comedy production, which is not surprising given her often hilarious descriptions of the sexual lives of hermaphrodite hagfish, lesbian albatrosses and bisexual bonobos ... Aside from knocking males off their evolutionary perch and empowering women, this book can inspire the LGBTQ community, as it’s clear that their identities and lives are reflected across the natural world.
... riveting research ... Cooke, a superb science writer with a Masters in zoology, covers the spectrum of female sexuality (and many other topics) throughout the animal kingdom, including more about spiders and hyenas than you ever thought you wanted to know.