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
They deftly bring together findings from many disparate areas of science in a book that science buffs will find hard to put down. --Publishers WeeklyScience has worked hard to piece together the story of the evolution of our world up to this point, but only recently have we developed the understanding and the tools to describe the entire life cycle of our planet. Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee, a geologist and an astronomer respectively, are in the vanguard of the new field of astrobiology. Combining their knowledge of how the critical sustaining systems of our planet evolve through time with their understanding of how stars and solar systems grow and change throughout their own life cycles, the authors tell the story of the second half of Earth's life. In this masterful melding of groundbreaking research and captivating, eloquent science writing, Ward and Brownlee provide a comprehensive portrait of Earth's life cycle that allows us to understand and appreciate how the planet sustains itself today, and offers us a glimpse of our place in the cosmic order.
Illustrated with examples of his work both in watercolour and oil, this volume documents the life and personality of the artist John James Audubon (1785-1851). He rendered wildlife directly from observations made on his travels throughout North America and is renowned for his scientific accuracy.
The remarkable and unique ways that male and female animals play out gender roles in natureWhile 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.
Winner of 2014 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Best Young Adult Science Book
Longlisted for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
One of Nature's Summer Book Picks
One of Publishers Weekly's Top Ten Spring 2013 Science Books
For centuries, we've toyed with our creature companions, breeding dogs that herd and hunt, housecats that look like tigers, and teacup pigs that fit snugly in our handbags. But what happens when we take animal alteration a step further, engineering a cat that glows green under ultraviolet light or cloning the beloved family Labrador? Science has given us a whole new toolbox for tinkering with life. How are we using it?
In Frankenstein's Cat, the journalist Emily Anthes takes us from petri dish to pet store as she explores how biotechnology is shaping the future of our furry and feathered friends. As she ventures from bucolic barnyards to a "frozen zoo" where scientists are storing DNA from the planet's most exotic creatures, she discovers how we can use cloning to protect endangered species, craft prosthetics to save injured animals, and employ genetic engineering to supply farms with disease-resistant livestock. Along the way, we meet some of the animals that are ushering in this astonishing age of enhancement, including sensor-wearing seals, cyborg beetles, a bionic bulldog, and the world's first cloned cat.
Through her encounters with scientists, conservationists, ethicists, and entrepreneurs, Anthes reveals that while some of our interventions may be trivial (behold: the GloFish), others could improve the lives of many species-including our own. So what does biotechnology really mean for the world's wild things? And what do our brave new beasts tell us about ourselves?
With keen insight and her trademark spunk, Anthes highlights both the peril and the promise of our scientific superpowers, taking us on an adventure into a world where our grandest science fiction fantasies are fast becoming reality.
The author, a worldrenowned mammalogist, invites readers on a fascinating journey to New Guinea in search of undocumented species, meeting tree kangaroos, "extinct" bats, and vengeful cannibals along the way. Reprint.
"Each new page is] more spellbinding than the one before--this is surely one of the most interesting books I've ever read."--Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs
When Bernd Heinrich decided to write a memoir of his ultramarathon running experience he realized that the preparation for the race was as important, if not more so, than the race itself. Considering the physiology and motivation of running from a scientific point of view, he wondered what he could learn from other animals.
In Why We Run, Heinrich considers the flight endurance of birds, the antelope's running prowess and limitations, and the ultra-endurance of camels to understand how human physiology can or cannot replicate these adaptations. With his characteristic blend of scientific inquiry and philosophical musings, Heinrich offers an original and provocative work combining the rigors of science with the passion of running.
The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition, brings the genius of David Allen Sibley to the world once again in a thoroughly updated and expanded volume that every birder must own.
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.