Natural History
Featured Items
Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex
Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation
The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0805063323

A sex guide for all living things and a hilarious natural history in the form of letters to and answers from the preeminent sexpert in all creation.

Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation is a unique guidebook to sex. It reveals, for example, when necrophilia is acceptable and who should commit bestiality with whom. It discloses the best time to have a sex change, how to have a virgin birth, and when to eat your lover. It also advises on more mundane matters -- such as male pregnancy and the joys of a detachable penis.

Entertaining, funny, and marvelously illuminating, the book comprises letters from all creatures worried about their bizarre sex lives to the wise Dr. Tatiana (a.k.a. Olivia Judson), the only sex columnist in creation with a prodigious knowledge of evolutionary biology. Fusing natural history with advice to the lovelorn, blending wit and rigor, she is able to reassure her anxious correspondents that although the acts they describe might sound appalling and unnatural, they are all perfectly normal -- so long as you are not a human. In the process, she explains the science behind it all, from Darwin's theory of sexual selection to why sexual reproduction exists at all. Applying human standards to the natural world, in the end she reveals the wonders of both.

Delightful . . . Easy to understand and hard to resist, it's sex education at its prime -- accurate, comprehensive, and hilarious. -- Newsweek
A Natural History of the Mojave Desert
A Natural History of the Mojave Desert
Paperback      ISBN: 0816532621

The Mojave Desert has a rich natural history. Despite being sandwiched between the larger Great Basin and Sonoran Deserts, it has enough mountains, valleys, canyons, and playas for any eager explorer. Ancient and current waterways carve the bajadas and valley bottoms. This diverse topography gives rise to a multitude of habitats for plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.

A Natural History of the Mojave Desert explores how a combination of complex geology, varied geography, and changing climate has given rise to intriguing flora and fauna--including almost 3,000 plant species and about 380 terrestrial vertebrate animal species. Of these, one quarter of the plants and one sixth of the animals are endemic.

The authors, who, combined, have spent more than six decades living in and observing the Mojave Desert, offer a scientifically insightful and personally observed understanding of the desert. They invite readers to understand how the Mojave Desert looks, sounds, feels, tastes, and smells. They prompt us to understand how humans have lived in this desert where scant vegetation and water have challenged humans, past and present.

A Natural History of the Mojave Desert provides a lively and informed guide to understanding how life has adapted to the hidden riverbeds, huge salt flats, tiny wetlands, and windswept hills that characterize this iconic desert.
Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences Between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom
Odd Couples
Extraordinary Differences Between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom
Hardcover      ISBN: 0691141967

While we joke that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, our gender differences can't compare to those of many other animals. For instance, the male garden spider spontaneously dies after mating with a female more than fifty times his size. And male blanket octopuses employ a copulatory arm longer than their own bodies to mate with females that outweigh them by four orders of magnitude. Why do these gender gulfs exist?

Introducing readers to important discoveries in animal behavior and evolution, Odd Couples explores some of the most extraordinary sexual differences in the animal world. Daphne Fairbairn uncovers the unique and bizarre characteristics of these remarkable species and the special strategies they use to maximize reproductive success. Fairbairn also considers humans and explains that although we are keenly aware of our own sexual differences, they are unexceptional within the vast animal world.

Looking at some of the most amazing creatures on the planet, Odd Couples sheds astonishing light on what it means to be male or female in the animal kingdom.

-- "AAAS"
Wildlife of the Galapagos
Wildlife of the Galapagos
Paperback      ISBN: 0691102953

The Gal pagos is a truly special place. Unlike the rest of the world's archipelagoes, it still has 95 percent of its prehuman quota of species. Wildlife of the Gal pagos is the most superbly illustrated and comprehensive identification guide ever to the natural splendor of these incomparable islands--islands today threatened by alien species and diseases that have diminished but not destroyed what so enchanted Darwin on his arrival there in 1835. Covering over 200 commonly seen birds, mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, and plants, it reveals the archipelago's striking beauty through more than 400 color photographs, maps, and drawings and well-written, informative text.


While the Gal pagos Giant Tortoise, the Gal pagos Sea Lion, and the Flightless Cormorant are recognized the world over, these thirty-three islands--in the Pacific over 600 miles from mainland Ecuador--are home to many more unique but less famous species. Here, reptiles well outnumber mammals, for they were much better at drifting far from a continent the archipelago was never connected with; the largest native land mammals are rice rats. The islands' sixty resident bird species include the only penguin to breed entirely in the tropics and to inhabit the Northern Hemisphere.


There is a section offering tips on photography in the Equatorial sunlight, and maps of visitors' sites as well as information on the archipelago's history, climate, geology, and conservation. Wildlife of the Gal pagos is the perfect companion for anyone who wants to know what so delighted Darwin.


  • Covers over 200 commonly seen species including birds, mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, plants, and coastal and marine life

  • Illustrated with over 400 color photographs, maps, and drawings; includes maps of visitors' sites

  • Written by wildlife experts with extensive knowledge of the area

  • Includes information on the history, climate, geology, and conservation of the islands

  • The most complete identification guide to the wildlife of the Gal pagos

Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait
Floating Coast
An Environmental History of the Bering Strait
Hardcover      ISBN: 0393635163

Whales and walruses, caribou and fox, gold and oil: through the stories of these animals and resources, Bathsheba Demuth reveals how people have turned ecological wealth in a remote region into economic growth and state power for more than 150 years.

The first-ever comprehensive history of Beringia, the Arctic land and waters stretching from Russia to Canada, Floating Coast breaks away from familiar narratives to provide a fresh and fascinating perspective on an overlooked landscape. The unforgiving territory along the Bering Strait had long been home to humans--the Inupiat and Yupik in Alaska, and the Yupik and Chukchi in Russia--before Americans and Europeans arrived with revolutionary ideas for progress. Rapidly, these frigid lands and waters became the site of an ongoing experiment: How, under conditions of extreme scarcity, would the great modern ideologies of capitalism and communism control and manage the resources they craved?

Drawing on her own experience living with and interviewing indigenous people in the region, as well as from archival sources, Demuth shows how the social, the political, and the environmental clashed in this liminal space. Through the lens of the natural world, she views human life and economics as fundamentally about cycles of energy, bringing a fresh and visionary spin to the writing of human history.

Floating Coast is a profoundly resonant tale of the dynamic changes and unforeseen consequences that immense human needs and ambitions have brought, and will continue to bring, to a finite planet.

Ever Since Darwin: Reflections on Natural History
Ever Since Darwin
Reflections on Natural History
Paperback      ISBN: 0393308189

Ever Since Darwin, Stephen Jay Gould's first book, has sold more than a quarter of a million copies. Like all succeeding collections by this unique writer, it brings the art of the scientific essay to unparalleled heights.

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
Paperback      ISBN: 0393353664

Hailed as a classic, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? explores the oddities and complexities of animal cognition--in crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, chimpanzees, and bonobos--to reveal how smart animals really are, and how we've underestimated their abilities for too long. Did you know that octopuses use coconut shells as tools, that elephants classify humans by gender and language, and that there is a young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame? Fascinating, entertaining, and deeply informed, de Waal's landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal--and human--intelligence.

Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event That Changed History
Noah's Flood
The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event That Changed History
Hardcover      ISBN: 0684810522

For thousands of years, the legend of a great flood has endured in the biblical story of Noah and in such Middle Eastern myths as the epic of Gilgamesh. Few believed that such a catastrophic deluge had actually occurred. But now two distinguished geophysicists have discovered an event that changed history, a sensational flood 7,600 years ago in what is today the Black Sea.

Ancient clay tablets excavated from the ruins of biblical Nineveh more than a hundred years ago revealed a much older version of the same flood legend. Archaeologists searched the length and breadth of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Mesopotamia for evidence of such a flood, to no avail. Then, as earth scientists made new discoveries about the history of rapid climate change, they learned that the Mediterranean had once been a desert and that five million years ago, the Atlantic Ocean burst through the Strait of Gibraltar and refilled the Mediterranean basin. William Ryan and Walter Pitman posed the scientific question "Could some more recent, similar catastrophe have been the source of Noah's Flood?"

The end of the Cold War enabled Ryan and Pitman to team up with oceanographers from Bulgaria and Russia, as well as Turkey, to explore the Black Sea. Using sound waves and coring devices to probe the sea floor, they discovered clear evidence that this inland body of water had once been a vast freshwater lake lying hundreds of feet below the level of the world's rising oceans. Sophisticated dating techniques confirmed that 7,600 years ago the mounting seas had burst through the narrow Bosporus valley, and the salt water of the Mediterranean had poured into the lake with unimaginable force, racing overbeaches and up rivers, destroying or chasing all life before it. The margins of the lake, which had been a unique oasis, a Garden of Eden for an advanced culture in a vast region of semidesert, became a sea of death. The people fled, never to return.

The authors explore the exciting archaeological, genetic, and linguistic evidence suggesting that the flood rapidly created a human diaspora that spread as far as Western Europe, Central Asia, China, Egypt, and the Persian Gulf. They suggest that the Black Sea People could well have been the mysterious proto-Sumerians, who developed the first great civilization in Mesopotamia, the source of our own.

Could the people who fled the Black Sea Flood and their descendants have preserved for thousands of years the stories that became the myths we know today? Ryan and Pitman show how illiterate storytellers in our own century still recited tales thousands of lines in length that had been transmitted down through the ages with remarkable fidelity. So, they argue, the mythology of the Great Flood is an oral narrative, preserving the memory of a traumatic event -- the great divide in human history.

"Noah's Flood" is solidly grounded in contemporary science. It is an astonishing story that sheds new light on our roots and gives fresh meaning to ancient myths.

Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet
Dog Sense
How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet
Hardcover      ISBN: 0465019447

Dogs have been mankind's faithful companions for tens of thousands of years, yet today they are regularly treated as either pack-following wolves or furry humans. The truth is, dogs are neither--and our misunderstanding has put them in serious crisis.

What dogs really need is a spokesperson, someone who will assert their specific needs. Renowned anthrozoologist Dr. John Bradshaw has made a career of studying human-animal interactions, and in Dog Sense he uses the latest scientific research to show how humans can live in harmony with--not just dominion over-- their four-legged friends. From explaining why positive reinforcement is a more effective (and less damaging) way to control dogs' behavior than punishment to demonstrating the importance of weighing a dog's unique personality against stereotypes about its breed, Bradshaw offers extraordinary insight into the question of how we really ought to treat our dogs.

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.