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Jelle Reumer

Jelle Reumer (*1953) was (until 2020) full Professor of Paleontology and Earth Sciences at the University of Utrecht after being director of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam for many years. In an extremely fruitful combination of evolutionary biology and paleontology he consults fossil remains and biological phenomena to reconstruct how the seemingly infinite biodiversity of millions of kinds of animals and plants was formed. Reumer has already proved himself an astute researcher, an inventive thinker and a lively writer.

At the same time Jelle Reumer was appointed at the university to communicate academic science with the general public, which he does in many different ways. For one year, together with the British artist Michael Coates, he is supplying daily nature reports about arrivals and departures on the information boards of Utrecht Central Station. Every week he writes in Trouw newspaper, and at the invitation of Dutch Nature Reserves he has been ‘writer in nature’ on the South Holland island of Tiengemeten in the autumn of 2016, preparing his next book on Henry David Thoreau (2017), a bicentennial memorial of the inventor of nature conservancy.

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Wildpark Rotterdam

isbn 978 90 6554 0669

160 pages, 5 (full colour) illustrations

2600 copies sold

For more information, please contact Patrick Everard

cover of Wildpark Rotterdam

Wildlife in Rotterdam
Nature in the city

Homo sapiens is the most successful animal species on our planet. Today more and more animals and plants are following us into our urban environment. Rubbish tips, subway passages, high-tech savannas, mountain chains of glass and concrete: they form a habitat just as suitable as pristine forest or new wilderness. How does this change of scene impact on conservationists, urban developers and architects? What does it mean for biologists? Is the white tiger or orphan seal more valuable than the scavenging seagull or suburban fox?

Wildlife in Rotterdam – Nature in the city is a small history of urban ecology and an ode to the resilience of nature. With infectious gusto Jelle Reumer speculates about urban nature in the future and signposts the astonishing evolutions taking place every day under our citified noses. Tomatoes sprouting from tramlines, swans building nests of plastic bottles, subway mosquitoes that never leave their underground lair: the city is a miraculous cradle of wildlife. Wildlife in Rotterdam is a case study for every metropolis willing to recognize and promote the return of nature in a former stone paradise.

De mierenmens

isbn 978 90 6554 4858

148 pages

2000 copies sold

For more information, please contact Patrick Everard

cover of De mierenmens

Homo urbanus
An evolutionary paradox

Nothing indicates that the purpose of evolution was to create man. And nothing indicates that life revolves around one single individual. So why do we think we are so important, so unique? Though the behaviours of groups of people show a structural similarity to what has been called a superorganism, a termite state, each individual member of such a group is firmly convinced that he has total control over his own thoughts, actions, and feelings. This somewhat uneasy paradox is the subject of De mierenmens (Homo urbanus). From a sense of original wonder Jelle Reumer takes us through the events of our time, in which individualization, carried through to nearly absurd lengths, seems to coincide with an almost obsessive group behaviour reminiscent of a school of fish or a flock of starlings. Is man preferring more and more to live on a self-chosen desert island, or is he increasingly forming a well-adapted link in a superbrain – composed of the collective brains of all those people connected by invisible glass filaments? In his quest to explain this paradox Jelle Reumer sees the shaping of a new, as yet unknown kind of human being, who seems to do more justice to evolution than we would like. De mierenmens is not a futuristic or apocalyptic scenario. On the contrary. Jelle Reumer sticks to the facts which have governed life itself throughout an entire evolution, since the future, too, belongs to evolution.

He is the perfect guide through the contemporary museum that hosts the permanently changing exposition of evolution.

De vis die aan land kroop

isbn 978 90 6554 0393

212 pages, 83 (full colour) illustrations

3000 copies sold

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cover of De vis die aan land kroop

The Fish that Crawled onto Land
The Evolution of the Vertebrates

Although evolution has no purpose, the origin of species does have a rich past. The Fish that Crawled onto Land offers a complete survey of the origin of the vertebrates. Whatever happened in evolution, from the first and the second Big Bang up to the invention of the wheel: our spines are products of chance and mishap.

Perhaps, then, humankind is not the crowning glory of creation, but Jelle Reumer does turn evolution into an astonishing history. What is so special about walking, flying, swimming, crawling and breathing? What is a fish actually? And why is a cow more similar to a dolphin than to a horse? The Fish that Crawled onto Land is the best travel guide to our origins.


isbn 978 90 6554 0676

160 pages, 220 (full colour) illustrations

3000 copies sold

For more information, please contact Patrick Everard

cover of Stadsfossielen

Watch How You Go!
On Urban Palaeontology

Where Jelle Reumer argued earlier for a positive appreciation of urban nature in Wildlife in Rotterdam, in Watch How You Go! he asks us once again to look at the urban environment through different, more focused eyes. By way of a preliminary study to his major work in preparation, The Canon of Dutch Fossils – the lowland delta is one of Europe’s most interesting fossil treasure-houses – Jelle Reumer draws our attention to the amazing fossils that we can see right before us, with the naked eye, in the street, in pavements, walls and buildings. Urban palaeontology at its best!

To make a start with inventorying the variety of petrified animals in the Dutch delta, Jelle Reumer travelled along the lowland seawalls to luxurious northern urinals, crawled over modern marble shop floors from the last century and charted, centimetre by centimetre, church walls in Maastricht, corals in Hanseatic monasteries and brachiopods in the Amsterdam Weteringplantsoen, and then: eye to eye with the ancient oyster in the wall of Utrecht Cathedral. The multicoloured, unexpected and surprising yield of fossils in the Netherlands is photographed in colour, painstakingly mapped and described according to origin, species and moment of petrifaction. The result is a convenient fossilarium, with extensive and relevant fossil-historical descriptions of what you never saw before Jelle Reumer opened your eyes: if you watch how you go, you see a lot more!

Natuur als misverstand

isbn 978 90 6554 0249

copies sold

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cover of Natuur als misverstand

Natura Morte

isbn 978 90 6554 0256

1000 copies sold

For more information, please contact Patrick Everard

cover of Natura Morte


omslag Jelle Reumer De mierenmens - Een evolutieparadox
isbn 9789662355833
omslag Jelle Reumer Wildpark Rotterdam - Nature in the city
isbn 9789073424005