Yale University ornithologist Richard Prum--reviving Darwin's own views--thinks not. Deep in tropical jungles around the world are birds with a dizzying array of appearances and mating displays: Club-winged Manakins who sing with their wings, Great Argus Pheasants who dazzle prospective mates with a four-foot-wide cone of feathers covered in golden 3D spheres, Red-capped Manakins who moonwalk. In thirty years of fieldwork, Prum has seen numerous display traits that seem disconnected from, if not outright contrary to, selection for individual survival. To explain this, he dusts off Darwin's long-neglected theory of sexual selection in which the act of choosing a mate for purely aesthetic reasons--for the mere pleasure of it--is an independent engine of evolutionary change.
Mate choice can drive ornamental traits from the constraints of adaptive evolution, allowing them to grow ever more elaborate. It also sets the stakes for sexual conflict, in which the sexual autonomy of the female evolves in response to male sexual control. Most crucially, this framework provides important insights into the evolution of human sexuality, particularly the ways in which female preferences have changed male bodies, and even maleness itself, through evolutionary time.
The Evolution of Beauty presents a unique scientific vision for how nature's splendor contributes to a more complete understanding of evolution and of ourselves.
On Valentine's Day 1985, biologist Stacey O'Brien adopted Wesley, a baby barn owl with an injured wing who could not have survived in the wild. Over the next nineteen years, O'Brien studied Wesley's strange habits with both a tender heart and a scientist's eye--and provided a mice-only diet that required her to buy the rodents in bulk (28,000 over the owl's lifetime). She watched him turn from a helpless fluff ball into an avid com-municator with whom she developed a language all their own. Eventually he became a gorgeous, gold-and-white macho adult with a heart-shaped face who preened in the mir-ror and objected to visits by any other males to "his" house. O'Brien also brings us inside Caltech's prestigious research community, a kind of scientific Hogwarts where resident owls sometimes flew freely from office to office and eccentric, brilliant scientists were extraordinarily committed to studying and helping animals; all of them were changed by the animals they loved. As O'Brien gets close to Wesley, she makes astonishing discoveries about owl behavior, intelligence, and communication, coining the term "The Way of the Owl" to describe his noble behavior. When O'Brien develops her own life-threatening ill-ness, the biologist who saved the life of a helpless baby bird is herself rescued from death by the insistent love and courage of this wild animal.Enhanced by wonderful photographs, Wesley the Owl is a thoroughly engaging, heart-warming, often funny story of a complex, emotional, non-human being capable of reason, play, and, most important, love and loyalty. Translated into eight languages and named an Audubon Magazine Editor's Choice, Wesley the Owl is sure to be cherished by animal lovers everywhere.
New York Times BestsellerA Discover Magazine Best Book of 2012 An O, The Oprah Magazine "Summer Reading" Pick
Finalist, 2013 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books
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 her 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. Here, they present a revelatory understanding 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.
Recalling his life from a childhood exploring the Gulf Coast of Alabama to a career as a renowned professor at Harvard, Pulitzer Prize winner Edward O. Wilson details how a boyhood enchantment with nature became a lifelong calling. Thoughtful and utterly charming, Wilson provides insight into the origin and development of the ideas that have shaped his biological research and defines the central principles of the field of evolutionary biology. Witty, honest, and profoundly intelligent, his memoir is required reading for all impassioned by the frontiers of scientific understanding.Candid and lively....Quite wonderful. -- Washington Post Book WorldA mixture of loneliness, amusement, curiosity, and intellectual rigor makes the voice of this thoughtful man unforgettable. -- The New York Times Book ReviewExquisitely written....Wilson beautifully conveys his love of nature and his passion for science. -- USA Today
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.
A new series for living the good life
Made At Home
This exciting series comes from the father-and-son team Dick and James Strawbridge, who live "the good life" on their small acreage. In Made At Home they share the knowledge and experience gained over years of producing an abundance of good things to eat and drink: organic fruits and vegetables eaten, juiced, fermented and preserved; pigs smoked for ham, sausages, salamis and bacon; a mixed flock of birds used for eggs and eating; and bees for honey, to name a few. It's an enviable lifestyle driven by a desire to eat well every day.
It is also a lifestyle that does not require a lot of space. Made At Home contains numerous adaptations to urban and suburban life. Plants are grown in small lots and pots, chickens are kept in backyard pens, and meat items, such as sausages, are smoked in the backyard. Proof positive that anyone can live the good life.
A guide to raising chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys, with 27 recipes.
Backyard poultry have gained popularity in recent years as some municipalities loosen regulations to allow homeowners to keep coops. Raising poultry is a sustainable activity, which in relatively little space produces fresh eggs and meat.
Eggs and Poultry is organized in five sections. The first four cover everything needed to successfully keep the most popular types of poultry: chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. It discusses the pros and cons of each and provides all the information needed to start out, including building a shelter, planning runs and ponds, dealing with pests and problems, laying and breeding, incubating and hatching, slaughter, and plucking and drawing. Butcher skills are also illustrated.
The 80-page recipe section explains the essentials of cooking with eggs and poultry: butcher skills, such as deboning a chicken; cooking methods, such as coddling eggs; and features 27 delicious dishes. They include Eggs Benedict, Smoked Eggs with Halloumi, Turkey Pie, Crispy Duck with Pancakes, Southwestern Fried Chicken, Confit Duck with Caramelized Orange and Fennel Salad, Lemon Pepper Chicken Nuggets, The Ultimate Turkey Burger and Goose Livers with Cider.
Eggs and Poultry is aimed directly at an audience who dream of, or are actually enjoying, the authors' made-at-home lifestyle. It is a beautiful and practical addition to the cookbook shelf.
With her celebrated blend of scientific insight, clarity, and curiosity, Diane Ackerman explores our human capacity both for destruction and for invention as we shape the future of the planet Earth. Ackerman takes us to the mind-expanding frontiers of science, exploring the fact that the "natural" and the "human" now inescapably depend on one another, drawing from "fields as diverse as evolutionary robotics...nanotechnology, 3-D printing and biomimicry" (New York Times Book Review), with probing intelligence, a clear eye, and an ever-hopeful heart.
"A volume for a lifetime" is how The New Yorker described the first of Donald Culross Peatie's two books about American trees published in the 1950s. In this one-volume edition, modern readers are introduced to one of the best nature writers of the last century. As we read Peattie's eloquent and entertaining accounts of American trees, we catch glimpses of our country's history and past daily life that no textbook could ever illuminate so vividly.Here you'll learn about everything from how a species was discovered to the part it played in our country's history. Pioneers often stabled an animal in the hollow heart of an old sycamore, and the whole family might live there until they could build a log cabin. The tuliptree, the tallest native hardwood, is easier to work than most softwood trees; Daniel Boone carved a sixty-foot canoe from one tree to carry his family from Kentucky into Spanish territory. In the days before the Revolution, the British and the colonists waged an undeclared war over New England's white pines, which made the best tall masts for fighting ships. It's fascinating to learn about the commercial uses of various woods -- for paper, fine furniture, fence posts, matchsticks, house framing, airplane wings, and dozens of other preplastic uses. But we cannot read this book without the occasional lump in our throats. The American elm was still alive when Peattie wrote, but as we read his account today we can see what caused its demise. Audubon's portrait of a pair of loving passenger pigeons in an American beech is considered by many to be his greatest painting. It certainly touched the poet in Donald Culross Peattie as he depicted the extinction of the passenger pigeon when the beech forest was destroyed. A Natural History of North American Trees gives us a picture of life in America from its earliest days to the middle of the last century. The information is always interesting, though often heartbreaking. While Peattie looks for the better side of man's nature, he reports sorrowfully on the greed and waste that have doomed so much of America's virgin forest.