A unique one-volume encyclopedia looking at the natural world through lifespans. This unique book is a treasure-trove of information about the natural world, presented in a truly original and attention-grabbing way. Instead of being arranged in the usual categories - plants, fungi, invertebrates, fish, reptiles, birds and mammals - species are arranged by how long they live. The approach taken is one of objective wonder - from astonishment that the mayfly lives its full life in less time than it takes to read this book, to the awe inspired by trees over a thousand years old and colonies of simple life forms that have existed since before recorded time. At the heart of the book is the human story: a section looks at human life expectancy today and historically.