Natural History
Featured Items
What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World
What the Dog Knows
Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World
Paperback      ISBN: 1451667329

A firsthand exploration of the extraordinary abilities and surprising, sometimes life-saving talents of "working dogs"--pups who can sniff out drugs, find explosives, even locate the dead--as told through the experiences of a journalist and her intrepid canine companion, which The New York Times calls "a fascinating, deeply reported journey into the...amazing things dogs can do with their noses."

There are thousands of working dogs all over the US and beyond with incredible abilities--they can find missing people, detect drugs and bombs, pinpoint unmarked graves of Civil War soldiers, or even find drowning victims more than two hundred feet below the surface of a lake. These abilities may seem magical or mysterious, but author Cat Warren shows the science, the rigorous training, and the skilled handling that underlie these creatures' amazing abilities.

Cat Warren is a university professor and journalist who had tried everything she could think of to harness her dog Solo's boundless energy and enthusiasm...until a behavior coach suggested she try training him to be a "working dog." What started out as a hobby soon became a calling, as Warren was introduced to the hidden universe of dogs who do this essential work and the handlers who train them.

Her dog Solo has a fine nose and knows how to use it, but he's only one of many astounding dogs in a varied field. Warren interviews cognitive psychologists, historians, medical examiners, epidemiologists, and forensic anthropologists, as well as the breeders, trainers, and handlers who work with and rely on these intelligent and adaptable animals daily. Along the way, Warren discovers story after story that prove the capabilities--as well as the very real limits--of working dogs and their human partners. Clear-eyed and unsentimental, Warren explains why our partnership with working dogs is woven into the fabric of society, and why we keep finding new uses for the wonderful noses of our four-legged friends.
Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts
Frankenstein's Cat
Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts
Paperback      ISBN: 0374534241

Winner of 2014 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Best Young Adult Science Book
Long-listed 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.

Galapagos: A Traveler's Introduction
Galapagos
A Traveler's Introduction
Paperback      ISBN: 0228100194

In 1979, the Galapagos Islands was one of the earliest World Heritage Sites to be selected by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), a designation intended to protect and preserve sites of cultural and natural heritage around the world. Today, there are over a thousand World Heritage Sites and the Galapagos Islands are one of the most widely valued.

The biology of the Galapagos Islands has arguably been studied more than any other archipelago in the world. Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands for five weeks in 1835 and then spent the next several decades at his home in England conducting experiments on a multitude of non-Galapagos species to confirm his theory of natural selection. His observations and collections contributed to the inception of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, one of the most important ideas in all of science.

The islands are located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, 605 miles (973 km) off the west coast of South America and consist of 13 main islands and 6 smaller islands. Only some are open to visitors.

In this richly illustrated tour of the Galapagos, world renowned photographer and naturalist Wayne Lynch captures the unique wildlife living here, including the Galapagos tortoise, the marine iguana, the flightless cormorant, the blue-footed boobie and the magnificent frigatebird.

Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History
Ever Since Darwin
Reflections in 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.

Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose: Natural History in Early America
Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose
Natural History in Early America
Hardcover      ISBN: 0226169146

In the years after the Revolutionary War, the fledgling republic of America was viewed by many Europeans as a degenerate backwater, populated by subspecies weak and feeble. Chief among these naysayers was the French Count and world-renowned naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon, who wrote that the flora and fauna of America (humans included) were inferior to European specimens.

Thomas Jefferson--author of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. president, and ardent naturalist--spent years countering the French conception of American degeneracy. His Notes on Virginia systematically and scientifically dismantled Buffon's case through a series of tables and equally compelling writing on the nature of his home state. But the book did little to counter the arrogance of the French and hardly satisfied Jefferson's quest to demonstrate that his young nation was every bit the equal of a well-established Europe. Enter the giant moose.

The American moose, which Jefferson claimed was so enormous a European reindeer could walk under it, became the cornerstone of his defense. Convinced that the sight of such a magnificent beast would cause Buffon to revise his claims, Jefferson had the remains of a seven-foot ungulate shipped first class from New Hampshire to Paris. Unfortunately, Buffon died before he could make any revisions to his Histoire Naturelle, but the legend of the moose makes for a fascinating tale about Jefferson's passion to prove that American nature deserved prestige.

In Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose, Lee Alan Dugatkin vividly recreates the origin and evolution of the debates about natural history in America and, in so doing, returns the prize moose to its rightful place in American history.

Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival
Winter World
The Ingenuity of Animal Survival
Paperback      ISBN: 0060957379

From award-winning writer and biologist Bernd Heinrich, an intimate, accessible and eloquent illumination of animal survival in Winter.

From flying squirrels to grizzly bears, torpid turtles to insects with antifreeze, the animal kingdom relies on some staggering evolutionary innovations to survive winter. Unlike their human counterparts, who must alter their environment to accommodate our physical limitations, animals are adaptable to an amazing range of conditions--i.e., radical changes in a creature's physiology take place to match the demands of the environment. Winter provides an especially remarkable situation, because of how drastically it affects the most elemental component of all life: water.

Examining everything from food sources in the extremely barren winter landscape to the chemical composition that allows certain creatures to survive, Heinrich's Winter World awakens the largely undiscovered mysteries by which nature sustains herself through the harsh, cruel exigencies of winters