Natural History
Featured Items
The Ghosts of Gombe: A True Story of Love and Death in an African Wilderness
The Ghosts of Gombe
A True Story of Love and Death in an African Wilderness
Hardcover      ISBN: 0520297717

On July 12, 1969, Ruth Davis, a young American volunteer at Dr. Jane Goodall's famous chimpanzee research camp in the Gombe Stream National Park of Tanzania, East Africa, walked out of camp to follow a chimpanzee into the forest. Six days later, her body was found floating in a pool at the base of a high waterfall. With careful detail, The Ghosts of Gombe reveals for the first time the full story of day-to-day life in Goodall's wilderness camp--the people and the animals, the stresses and excitements, the social conflicts and cultural alignments, and the astonishing friendships that developed between three of the researchers and some of the chimpanzees--during the months preceding that tragic event. Was Ruth's death an accident? Did she jump? Was she pushed? In an extended act of literary forensics, Goodall biographer Dale Peterson examines how Ruth's death might have happened and explores some of the painful sequelae that haunted two of the survivors for the rest of their lives.

Western Birds: Backyard Guide - Watching - Feeding - Landscaping - Nurturing - Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, New
Western Birds
Backyard Guide - Watching - Feeding - Landscaping - Nurturing - Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, New
Paperback      ISBN: 1591865557
From the editor of the nation's premier birding magazine, a no-nonsense, no-fluff quick guide to the birds you see every day. Of all the classic American pastimes, perhaps none is as widely accessible as watching birds. Our unusually vast, diverse environmental landscape supports fascinating species and variations exclusive to each region of the country. But while birders often spend their efforts in search of the rarest creatures, some of the most beautiful and intriguing birds are the ones that frequent our backyards (or nearby) daily. For that reason, where other, larger volumes focus on bird types that the casual observer is never likely to encounter, Western Birds concisely celebrates those species living under our very noses. Written by Bill Thompson III, the editor and co-publisher of Bird Watcher's Digest, this portable 5"x8" book contains the same variety of entertaining and informative entries that make Bird Watcher's Digest the nation's most popular birding magazine. Inside, you'll find profiles of the 55 most common birds in the West, complete with large color photos, gender-specific physical descriptions, nesting and feeding information, bird call particulars, and interesting stories about each species. Thompson also introduces the reader to the basics of bird watching: essential gear, bird-friendly food and plantings, housing tips, and observational techniques. This guide covers Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska. Look for our other backyard bird guides covering the Mid-Atlantic, South, Northeast, and Midwest regions of the United States.
What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World
What the Dog Knows
Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World
Paperback      ISBN: 1451667329

A firsthand exploration of the extraordinary abilities and surprising, sometimes life-saving talents of "working dogs"--pups who can sniff out drugs, find explosives, even locate the dead--as told through the experiences of a journalist and her intrepid canine companion, which The New York Times calls "a fascinating, deeply reported journey into the...amazing things dogs can do with their noses."

There are thousands of working dogs all over the US and beyond with incredible abilities--they can find missing people, detect drugs and bombs, pinpoint unmarked graves of Civil War soldiers, or even find drowning victims more than two hundred feet below the surface of a lake. These abilities may seem magical or mysterious, but author Cat Warren shows the science, the rigorous training, and the skilled handling that underlie these creatures' amazing abilities.

Cat Warren is a university professor and journalist who had tried everything she could think of to harness her dog Solo's boundless energy and enthusiasm...until a behavior coach suggested she try training him to be a "working dog." What started out as a hobby soon became a calling, as Warren was introduced to the hidden universe of dogs who do this essential work and the handlers who train them.

Her dog Solo has a fine nose and knows how to use it, but he's only one of many astounding dogs in a varied field. Warren interviews cognitive psychologists, historians, medical examiners, epidemiologists, and forensic anthropologists, as well as the breeders, trainers, and handlers who work with and rely on these intelligent and adaptable animals daily. Along the way, Warren discovers story after story that prove the capabilities--as well as the very real limits--of working dogs and their human partners. Clear-eyed and unsentimental, Warren explains why our partnership with working dogs is woven into the fabric of society, and why we keep finding new uses for the wonderful noses of our four-legged friends.
The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions
The Ends of the World
Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions
Paperback      ISBN: 0062364812

One of Vox's Most Important Books of the Decade

New York Times Editors' Choice 2017

Forbes Top 10 Best Environment, Climate, and Conservation Book of 2017

As new groundbreaking research suggests that climate change played a major role in the most extreme catastrophes in the planet's history, award-winning science journalist Peter Brannen takes us on a wild ride through the planet's five mass extinctions and, in the process, offers us a glimpse of our increasingly dangerous future

Our world has ended five times: it has been broiled, frozen, poison-gassed, smothered, and pelted by asteroids. In The Ends of the World, Peter Brannen dives into deep time, exploring Earth's past dead ends, and in the process, offers us a glimpse of our possible future.

Many scientists now believe that the climate shifts of the twenty-first century have analogs in these five extinctions. Using the visible clues these devastations have left behind in the fossil record, The Ends of the World takes us inside "scenes of the crime," from South Africa to the New York Palisades, to tell the story of each extinction. Brannen examines the fossil record--which is rife with creatures like dragonflies the size of sea gulls and guillotine-mouthed fish--and introduces us to the researchers on the front lines who, using the forensic tools of modern science, are piecing together what really happened at the crime scenes of the Earth's biggest whodunits.

Part road trip, part history, and part cautionary tale, The Ends of the World takes us on a tour of the ways that our planet has clawed itself back from the grave, and casts our future in a completely new light.

--Paste Magazine
What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins
What a Fish Knows
The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins
Paperback      ISBN: 0374537097

A New York Times Bestseller

Do fishes think? Do they really have three-second memories? And can they recognize the humans who peer back at them from above the surface of the water? In What a Fish Knows, the myth-busting ethologist Jonathan Balcombe addresses these questions and more, taking us under the sea, through streams and estuaries, and to the other side of the aquarium glass to reveal the surprising capabilities of fishes. Although there are more than thirty thousand species of fish--more than all mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians combined--we rarely consider how individual fishes think, feel, and behave. Balcombe upends our assumptions about fishes, portraying them not as unfeeling, dead-eyed feeding machines but as sentient, aware, social, and even Machiavellian--in other words, much like us.
What a Fish Knows draws on the latest science to present a fresh look at these remarkable creatures in all their breathtaking diversity and beauty. Fishes conduct elaborate courtship rituals and develop lifelong bonds with shoalmates. They also plan, hunt cooperatively, use tools, curry favor, deceive one another, and punish wrongdoers. We may imagine that fishes lead simple, fleeting lives--a mode of existence that boils down to a place on the food chain, rote spawning, and lots of aimless swimming. But, as Balcombe demonstrates, the truth is far richer and more complex, worthy of the grandest social novel.
Highlighting breakthrough discoveries from fish enthusiasts and scientists around the world and pondering his own encounters with fishes, Balcombe examines the fascinating means by which fishes gain knowledge of the places they inhabit, from shallow tide pools to the deepest reaches of the ocean.
Teeming with insights and exciting discoveries, What a Fish Knows offers a thoughtful appraisal of our relationships with fishes and inspires us to take a more enlightened view of the planet's increasingly imperiled marine life. What a Fish Knows will forever change how we see our aquatic cousins--the pet goldfish included.

The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar: Evolution's Most Unbelievable Solutions to Life's Biggest Problems
The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar
Evolution's Most Unbelievable Solutions to Life's Biggest Problems
Hardcover      ISBN: 014312868x
"A bizarre collection of evolution tales . . . the weirder, the better." --Entertainment Weekly

A fascinating exploration of the awe-inspiring, unsettling ingenuity of evolution from Wired writer Matt Simon, author of Plight of the Living Dead (coming soon from Penguin Books)

On a barren seafloor, the pearlfish swims into the safety of a sea cucumber's anus. To find a meal, the female bolas spider releases pheromones that mimic a female moth, luring male moths into her sticky lasso web. The Glyptapanteles wasp injects a caterpillar with her young, which feed on the victim, erupt out of it, then mind-control the poor (and somehow still living) schmuck into protecting them from predators.

These are among the curious critters of The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar, a jaunt through evolution's most unbelievable, most ingenious solutions to the problems of everyday life, from trying to get laid to finding food. Join Wired science writer Matt Simon as he introduces you to the creatures that have it figured out, the ones that joust with their mustaches or choke sharks to death with snot, all in a wild struggle to survive and, of course, find true love.

Winner of the American Library Association's Alex Award
Galapagos: A Traveler's Introduction
Galapagos
A Traveler's Introduction
Paperback      ISBN: 0228100194

In 1979, the Galapagos Islands was one of the earliest World Heritage Sites to be selected by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), a designation intended to protect and preserve sites of cultural and natural heritage around the world. Today, there are over a thousand World Heritage Sites and the Galapagos Islands are one of the most widely valued.

The biology of the Galapagos Islands has arguably been studied more than any other archipelago in the world. Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands for five weeks in 1835 and then spent the next several decades at his home in England conducting experiments on a multitude of non-Galapagos species to confirm his theory of natural selection. His observations and collections contributed to the inception of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, one of the most important ideas in all of science.

The islands are located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, 605 miles (973 km) off the west coast of South America and consist of 13 main islands and 6 smaller islands. Only some are open to visitors.

In this richly illustrated tour of the Galapagos, world renowned photographer and naturalist Wayne Lynch captures the unique wildlife living here, including the Galapagos tortoise, the marine iguana, the flightless cormorant, the blue-footed boobie and the magnificent frigatebird.

The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea
The Gulf
The Making of an American Sea
Paperback      ISBN: 1631494023

Winner - Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction
Finalist - National Book Critics Circle Award (Nonfiction)
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post, NPR, Library Journal, and gCaptain
Booklist Editors' Choice (History)
Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence

In this "cri de coeur about the Gulf's environmental ruin" (New York Times), "Davis has written a beautiful homage to a neglected sea" (front page, New York Times Book Review).

The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms
The Earth Moved
On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms
Hardcover      ISBN: 1565123379

In "The Earth Moved," Amy Stewart takes us on a journey through the underground world and introduces us to one of its most amazing denizens. The earthworm may be small, spineless, and blind, but its impact on the ecosystem is profound. It ploughs the soil, fights plant diseases, cleans up pollution, and turns ordinary dirt into fertile land. Who knew?
In her witty, offbeat style, Stewart shows that much depends on the actions of the lowly worm. Charles Darwin devoted his last years to the meticulous study of these creatures, praising their remarkable abilities. With the august scientist as her inspiration, Stewart investigates the worm's subterranean realm, talks to oligochaetologists the unsung heroes of earthworm science who have devoted their lives to unearthing the complex life beneath our feet, and observes the thousands of worms in her own garden. From the legendary giant Australian worm that stretches to ten feet in length to the modest nightcrawler that wormed its way into the heart of Darwin's last book to the energetic red wigglers in Stewart's compost bin, "The Earth Moved" gives worms their due and exposes their hidden and extraordinary universe. This book is for all of us who appreciate Mother Nature's creatures, no matter how humble."

Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are
Our Inner Ape
A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are
Paperback      ISBN: 1594481962
Visit the author's Web site at www.ourinnerape.com

It's no secret that humans and apes share a host of traits, from the tribal communities we form to our irrepressible curiosity. We have a common ancestor, scientists tell us, so it's natural that we act alike. But not all of these parallels are so appealing: the chimpanzee, for example, can be as vicious and manipulative as any human.

Yet there's more to our shared primate heritage than just our violent streak. In Our Inner Ape, Frans de Waal, one of the world's great primatologists and a renowned expert on social behavior in apes, presents the provocative idea that our noblest qualities--generosity, kindness, altruism--are as much a part of our nature as are our baser instincts. After all, we share them with another primate: the lesser-known bonobo. As genetically similar to man as the chimpanzee, the bonobo has a temperament and a lifestyle vastly different from those of its genetic cousin. Where chimps are aggressive, territorial, and hierarchical, bonobos are gentle, loving, and erotic (sex for bonobos is as much about pleasure and social bonding as it is about reproduction).

While the parallels between chimp brutality and human brutality are easy to see, de Waal suggests that the conciliatory bonobo is just as legitimate a model to study when we explore our primate heritage. He even connects humanity's desire for fairness and its morality with primate behavior, offering a view of society that contrasts markedly with the caricature people have of Darwinian evolution. It's plain that our finest qualities run deeper in our DNA than experts have previously thought.

Frans de Waal has spent the last two decades studying our closest primate relations, and his observations of each species in Our Inner Ape encompass the spectrum of human behavior. This is an audacious book, an engrossing discourse that proposes thought-provoking and sometimes shocking connections among chimps, bonobos, and those most paradoxical of apes, human beings.