In this book, the author, an expert in his field, describes the most fascinating stages in the eels biological cycle, its migrations and the modifications it undergoes during its life. Eels interest us not only because of their life and breeding cycles, but also because of the questions they raise concerning our ideas about evolution. Does the notion of adaptation suffice to explain everything the eel has become? Doesnt a living creature maintain a certain amount of independence in relation to the world that surrounds it? Or is the relationship between a living creature and the environment which surrounds it more complex that we have generally realised ?
In the course of development, our way of living is fashioned by the world around us, but it is also shaped by discrete characteristics such as nature and the intensity of emotions like anxiety and egoism. From this point of departure, the author draws analogies about the ways in which we are human individuals and members of a species, and proffers the theory that, in the evolutionary process, there is also a sort of anxiety and egoism at work. Evolution, he suggests, might very well be both sentimental and selective. Yves Alain Fontaine is an honorary professor at the National Museum of Natural History.