Natural History
Featured Items
Natural Acts: A Sidelong View of Science and Nature
Natural Acts
A Sidelong View of Science and Nature
Paperback      ISBN: 0393333604

"Lively writing about science and nature depends less on the offering of good answers, I think, than on the offering of good questions," said David Quammen in the original introduction to Natural Acts. For more than two decades, he has stuck to that credo. In this updated version of curiosity leads him from New Mexico to Romania, from the Congo to the Amazon, asking questions about mosquitoes (what are their redeeming merits?), dinosaurs (how did they change the life of a dyslexic Vietnam vet?), and cloning (can it save endangered species?).

This revised and expanded edition best-loved "Natural Acts" columns, which first appeared in Outside magazine in the early 1980s, and includes recent pieces such as "Planet of Weeds," an influential new Natural Acts is an eye-opening journey that will please both Quammen fans and newcomers to his work.

The Sibley Guide to Birds
The Sibley Guide to Birds
2nd Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 030795790x
"Undoubtedly the finest guide to North American birds."--Guy McCaskie, Birding

The publication of The Sibley Guide to Birds, First Edition quickly established David Allen Sibley as the author and illustrator of the nation's supreme and most comprehensive guide to birds. Used by millions of birders from novices to the most expert, The Sibley Guide became the standard by which natural history guides are measured. The highly anticipated second edition builds on this foundation of excellence, offering massively expanded and updated information, new paintings, new and rare species, and a new, elegant design.

The second edition of this handsome, flexibound volume offers a wealth of improvements and updates:

- All illustrations reproduced 15 to 20 percent larger for better detail.

- Includes nearly 7,000 paintings digitally remastered from original art for enhanced print quality.

- Expanded text includes habitat information and voice description for every species and more tips on finding birds in the field.

- More than 600 new paintings, including illustrations of 115 rare species and additional paintings of common species and regional populations.

- More than 700 updated maps of ranges, showing winter, summer, year-round, migration, and rare ranges.

- 85 bird family pages now cross-referenced to species accounts.

- Revised taxonomic order and most current common names for every species.
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.
Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health
Zoobiquity
The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health
Paperback      ISBN: 0307477436

A revelatory depiction of what animals can teach us about the human body and mind, exploring how animal and human commonality can be used to diagnose, treat, and heal patients of all species.

Full of fascinating stories." --Atul Gawande, M.D.

Do animals overeat? Get breast cancer? Have fainting spells? Inspired by an eye-opening consultation at the Los Angeles Zoo, which revealed that a monkey experienced the same symptoms of heart failure as human patients, cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz embarked upon a project that would reshape how she practiced medicine.

Beginning with the above questions, she began informally researching every affliction that she encountered in humans to learn whether it happened with animals, too. And usually, it did: dinosaurs suffered from brain cancer, koalas can catch chlamydia, reindeer seek narcotic escape in hallucinogenic mushrooms, stallions self-mutilate, and gorillas experience clinical depression.

Natterson-Horowitz and science writer Kathryn Bowers have dubbed this pan-species approach to medicine zoobiquity.

New York Times Bestseller

An O, The Oprah Magazine "Summer Reading" Pick

A Discover Magazine Best Book

Throwim Way Leg: Tree-Kangaroos, Possums, and Penis Gourds
Throwim Way Leg
Tree-Kangaroos, Possums, and Penis Gourds
Paperback      ISBN: 0802136656

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.

Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History
Isaac's Storm
A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History
Paperback      ISBN: 0375708278
From the bestselling author of The Devil in the White City, here is the true story of the deadliest hurricane in history.

National Bestseller

September 8, 1900, began innocently in the seaside town of Galveston, Texas. Even Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau failed to grasp the true meaning of the strange deep-sea swells and peculiar winds that greeted the city that morning. Mere hours later, Galveston found itself submerged in a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over six thousand people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history--and Isaac Cline found himself the victim of a devastating personal tragedy.

Using Cline's own telegrams, letters, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our latest understanding of the science of hurricanes, Erik Larson builds a chronicle of one man's heroic struggle and fatal miscalculation in the face of a storm of unimaginable magnitude. Riveting, powerful, and unbearably suspenseful, Isaac's Storm is the story of what can happen when human arrogance meets the great uncontrollable force of nature.
Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts
Frankenstein's Cat
Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts
Hardcover      ISBN: 0374158592

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.

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.

Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin
Full House
The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin
Paperback      ISBN: 0609801406

Few would question the truism that humankind is the crowning achievement of evolution; that the defining thrust of life's history yields progress over time from the primitive and simple to the more advanced and complex; that the disappearance of .400 hitting in baseball is a fact to be bemoaned; or that identifying an existing trend can be helpful in making important life decisions. Few, that is, except Stephen Jay Gould who, in his new book Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin, proves that all of these intuitive truths are, in fact, wrong.
"All of these mistaken beliefs arise out of the same analytical flaw in our reasoning, our Platonic tendency to reduce a broad spectrum to a single, pinpointed essence," says Gould. "This way of thinking allows us to confirm our most ingrained biases that humans are the supreme being on this planet; that all things are inherently driven to become more complex; and that almost any subject can be expressed and understood in terms of an average."
In Full House, Gould shows why a more accurate way of understanding our world (and the history of life) is to look at a given subject within its own context, to see it as a part of a spectrum of variation rather than as an isolated "thing" and then to reconceptualize trends as expansion or contraction of this "full house" of variation, and not as the progress or degeneration of an average value, or single thing. When approached in such a way, the disappearance of .400 hitting becomes a cause for celebration, signaling not a decline in greatness but instead an improvement in the overall level of play in baseball; trends become subject to suspicion, and too often, only a tool of those seeking to advance a particular agenda; and the "Age of Man" (a claim rooted in hubris, not in fact) more accurately becomes the "Age of Bacteria."
"The traditional mode of thinking has led us to draw many conclusions that don't make satisfying sense," says Gould. "It tells us that .400 hitting has disappeared because batters have gotten worse, but how can that be true when record performances have improved in almost any athletic activity?" In a personal eureka , Gould realized that we were looking at the picture backward, and that a simple conceptual inversion would resolve a number of the paradoxes of the conventional view.
While Full House deftly reveals the shortcomings of the popular reasoning we apply to everyday life situations, Gould also explores his beloved realm of natural history as well. Whether debunking the myth of the successful evolution of the horse (he grants that the story still deserves distinction, but as the icon of evolutionary failure); presenting evidence that the vaunted "progress of life" is really random motion away from simple beginnings, not directed impetus toward complexity; or relegating the kingdoms of Animalai and Plantae to their proper positions on the genealogical chart for all of life (as mere twigs on one of the three bushes), Full House asks nothing less than that we reconceptualize our view of life in a fundamental way.

"From the Hardcover edition."

Warblers and Other Songbirds of North America: A Life-Size Guide to Every Species
Warblers and Other Songbirds of North America
A Life-Size Guide to Every Species
Hardcover      ISBN: 0062446819

A stunning full-color photographic field guide of 285 species of North American songbirds and warblers, captured in glorious life-sized detail and featuring concise descriptions, location maps, and useful facts for both experienced birdwatchers and armchair ornithologists alike.

Birds such as the Acadian Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Indigo Bunting, Northern Mockingbird, Pyrrhuloxia, Rock Wren, Song Sparrow, Tree Swallow, and the Yellow Throated Warbler are known for their elaborate songs produced by their highly developed vocal organs. Warblers and Other Songbirds of North America is a breathtaking collection of 285 species of these beautiful, melodious creatures, the largest number of species in a single field guide about North American songbirds.

Arranged by region and taxonomic order, every songbird is depicted life-sized; each photograph is accompanied by a short description with essential information on identification and the particular species, habits, and behavior. Every species entry also includes a map showing where the species can be found, as well as a fact grid listing key details such as common and scientific name, length, food, habitat, status, and voice. Inside you'll find fun facts, including:

  • Songbirds are members of the order Passeriformes, the most varied group of birds both in terms of numbers of species and diversity of appearance and habit preferences.
  • Songbirds have feet that allow them to perch with ease, with three toes pointing forward and one facing back.
  • Songbirds are extremely vocal; some male species are among the finest songsters in the bird world.

Every photograph is gloriously detailed and chosen to show each species' unique identification features and typical postures. Packed in a convenient portable size, Warblers and Other Songbirds of North America is ideal for the experienced birdwatcher, the aspiring naturalist, and every bird lover.

Galapagos: A Natural History (New)
Galapagos
A Natural History (New)
Paperback      ISBN: 1895176409

Twenty thousand copies of the first edition of Gal pagos were sold. An attractive and comprehensive guidebook, this work has been completely revised and updated by the author. The reader will find an easy-to-use text which details the natural history of the plants and animals found in the Gal pagos Islands. Management and conservation of the Gal pagos National Park is discussed, and visitor information and notes about the various tourist sites are given. An index and checklist of plants and animals with page references and a glossary of technical terms are provided.