Feathers are an evolutionary marvel: aerodynamic, insulating,
beguiling. They date back more than 100 million years. Yet their
story has never been fully told.
In Feathers, biologist Thor Hanson details a sweeping
natural history, as feathers have been used to fly, protect,
attract, and adorn through time and place. Applying the research of
paleontologists, ornithologists, biologists, engineers, and even
art historians, Hanson asks: What are feathers? How did they
evolve? What do they mean to us?
Engineers call feathers the most efficient insulating material
ever discovered, and they are at the root of biology''s most
enduring debate. They silence the flight of owls and keep penguins
dry below the ice. They have decorated queens, jesters, and
priests. And they have inked documents from the Constitution to the
novels of Jane Austen.
Feathers is a captivating and beautiful exploration of
this most enchanting object.