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.
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.
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).
Gerardo Ceballos, Anne H. Ehrlich, and Paul R. Ehrlich serve as witnesses in this trial of human neglect, where the charge is the massive and escalating assault on living things. Nature is being annihilated, not only because of the human population explosion, but also as a result of massive commercial endeavors and public apathy. Despite the well-intentioned work of conservation organizations and governments, the authors warn us that not enough is being done and time is short for the most vulnerable of the world's wild birds and mammals. Thousands of populations have already disappeared, other populations are dwindling daily, and soon our descendants may live in a world containing but a minuscule fraction of the birds and mammals we know today.
The Annihilation of Nature is a clarion call for engagement and action. These outspoken scientists urge everyone who cares about nature to become personally connected to the victims of our inadequate conservation efforts and demand that restoration replace destruction. Only then will we have any hope of preventing the worst-case scenario of the sixth mass extinction.
Up North – Reflections Moments & Memories Through the pages of this awe-inspiring book, readers are taken to a place of solitude, romance, laughter and sometimes craziness. The images are woven together with quotes that will inspire and uplift your soul reminding us of the gift of up north.
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.
Eight miles long and four miles wide, Grand Island lies off the south shore of Lake Superior. It was once home to a sizable community of Chippewa Indians who lived in harmony with the land and with each other. Their tragic demise began early in the nineteenth century when their fellow tribesmen from the mainland goaded them into waging war against rival Sioux. The war party was decimated; only one young brave, Powers of the Air, lived to tell the story that celebrated the heroism of his band and formed the basis of the legend that survives today. Distinguished historian Loren R. Graham has spent more than forty years researching and reconstructing the poignant tale of Powers of the Air and his people. "A Face in the Rock "is an artful melding of human history and natural history; it is a fascinating narrative of the intimate relation between place and people.
Powers of the Air lived to witness the desecration of Grand Island by the fur and logging industries, the Christianization of the tribe, and the near total loss of the Chippewa language, history, and culture. Graham charts the plight of the Chippewa as white culture steadily encroaches, forcing the native people off the island and dispersing their community on the mainland. The story ends with happier events of the past two decades, including the protection of Grand Island within the National Forest system, and the resurgence of Chippewa culture.
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
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.
Edward O. Wilson -- University Professor at Harvard, winner of two Pulitzer prizes, eloquent champion of biodiversity -- is arguably one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. His career represents both a blueprint and a challenge to those who seek to explore the frontiers of scientific understanding. Yet, until now, little has been told of his life and of the important events that have shaped his thought.In "Naturalist," Wilson describes for the first time both his growth as a scientist and the evolution of the science he has helped define. He traces the trajectory of his life -- from a childhood spent exploring the Gulf Coast of Alabama and Florida to life as a tenured professor at Harvard -- detailing how his youthful fascination with nature blossomed into a lifelong calling. He recounts with drama and wit the adventures of his days as a student at the University of Alabama and his four decades at Harvard University, where he has achieved renown as both teacher and researcher.As the narrative of Wilson's life unfolds, the reader is treated to an inside look at the origin and development of ideas that guide today's biological research. Theories that are now widely accepted in the scientific world were once untested hypotheses emerging from one mans's broad-gauged studies. Throughout "Naturalist," we see Wilson's mind and energies constantly striving to help establish many of the central principles of the field of evolutionary biology.The story of Wilson's life provides fascinating insights into the making of a scientist, and a valuable look at some of the most thought-provoking ideas of our time.