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He became obsessed with fish during his early childhood and carried this passion with him throughout his career. Mike Bruton was born in the town where the first living coelacanth was discovered and studied at Rhodes University in South Africa at the same time as the great ichthyologist, Professor JLB Smith, who described ‘old fourlegs’. He subsequently became Director of the Ichthyology Institute established in Smith’s name and pioneered searches for the coelacanth off the coast of southern Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean using the German research submersible, ‘Jago’. Together with colleagues from South Africa, the USA, Canada and Germany he made many new discoveries on the biology of this extraordinary fish and campaigned internationally for its conservation.
Mike’s research on the freshwater fish of Africa and the Middle East lead to entanglements with crocodiles, hippopotami, giant snakes and military operations but also allowed him to contribute to international efforts to conserve wetlands and endangered species. He also made major contributions to our understanding of the ways in which fish are adapted to their watery environments and how they made that epic evolutionary transition from water onto land.
Whether or not you are a fisherman, aquarist or sushi eater, you will be fascinated by these astonishing tales of a man who almost became a fish!
What could be more delightful than to colour in the amazing plumage of true-to-life birds of paradise? This beautiful book contains illustrations of 39 different birds of paradise, drawn by Andrew Leach, from the work of Dr Edwin Scholes and photojournalist Tim Laman from a Cornell Lab of Ornithology expedition. The photographs are also included as a wonderful bonus and to show the dazzling colours of these remarkable birds. There have been more than 12 million views of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's introductory video to the birds of paradise project on YouTube alone.
As read by James Corden, Fearne Cotton, Jim Chapman and Dougie Poytner. 'We have a responsibility, every one of us' David Attenborough Around 12.7 million tonnes of plastic are entering the ocean every year, killing over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals. By 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight. Plastic pollution is the environmental scourge of our age, but how can YOU make a difference? This accessible guide, written by the campaigner at the forefront of the anti-plastic movement, will help you make the small changes that make a big difference, from buying a reusable coffee cup to running a clean-up at your local park or beach. Tips on giving up plastic include: * Washing your clothes within a wash bag to catch plastic microfibers (the cause of 30% of plastic pollution in the ocean) * Replacing your regular shampoo with bar shampoo * How to lobby your supermarket to remove unnecessary packaging * How to throw a plastic-free birthday party * How to convince others to join you in giving up plastic Plastic is not going away without a fight. We need a movement made up of billions of individual acts, bringing people together from all backgrounds and all cultures, the ripples of which will be felt from the smallest village to the tallest skyscrapers. This is a call to arms - to join forces across the world and to end our dependence on plastic. #BreakFreeFromPlastic Plastic is not going away without a fight. We need a movement made up of billions of individual acts, bringing people together from all backgrounds and all cultures, the ripples of which will be felt from the smallest village to the tallest skyscrapers. 'Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world' Theresa May 'As Head of Oceans at Greenpeace, Will is on the front line of humanity's global fight against plastic. This timely book not only explains how we got into this mess, but most importantly offers an optimistic and proactive approach as to how we can get out of it'. - Richard Walker, Managing Director at Iceland
What's the difference between a swallow and a swift? How many species of ducks, penguins, owls or thrushes are there? Which is the rarest parrot or the most endangered hummingbird? What do toucans eat? Discover all the key facts about the world's orders and families of birds with this ultimate handbook. Expert ornithologist Jonathan Elphick provides a comprehensive survey of every one of the 36 orders and 234 families of birds, revealing their remarkable diversity, appearance, behaviour and lifestyle. With clear, lively text, informative fact boxes that include the latest research and data, and special photography from award-winning wildlife photographers such as David Tipling, The Handbook of Bird Families belongs on the shelf of everyone interested in birds.
Rising from sandbars on the Platte River with clarion calls, the sandhill crane ("Grus canadensis") feels the urgency of spring migration. Elegant, noble, and spiritual, the sandhill crane is one of the most ancient of all birds. More than a half-million strong, flying in squadrons, these majestic creatures point northward to their Arctic and sub-Arctic breeding ranges. Theirs is an epic story of endurance through the ages. With 153 stunning color photographs, "On Ancient Wings" presents sandhill cranes in their wild but increasingly compromised habitats today. Over the course of five years, Michael Forsberg documented the tall gray birds in habitats ranging from the Alaskan tundra, to the arid High Plains, from Cuban nature preserves to suburban backyards. With an eye for beauty and an uncommon persistence, the author documents the cranes' challenges to adapt and survive in a rapidly changing natural world. Forsberg argues that humankind, for its own sake, should secure the cranes' place in the future. "On Ancient Wings" intertwines the lives of cranes, people, and their common places to tell an ancient story at a time when sandhill cranes and their wetland and grassland habitats face daunting prospects.
In this unique and unprecedented study of birding in Africa, historian Nancy Jacobs reconstructs the collaborations between well-known ornithologists and the largely forgotten guides, hunters and taxidermists who worked with them. Drawing on ethnography, scientific publications, private archives and interviews, Jacobs asks: How did white ornithologists both depend on and operate distinctively from African birders? What investment did African birders have in collaborating with ornithologists? By distilling the interactions between European science and African vernacular knowledge, this work offers a fascinating examination of the colonial and postcolonial politics of expertise about nature. It is also a riveting history of the discovery of certain bird species.
The Chicken is an encyclopaedic, science-based study that offers a true understanding of the species, reclaiming it from its commercial status as a mere egg and meat provider. High-quality photography, illustration, and info-graphics combine with engaging and authoritative text to create an accessible reference title for the general market. Topics include anatomy, developmental biology, ancestry, breeding, and origins, and there is a comprehensive look at chicken behaviours. Boxed asides are included throughout, relating the scientific detail to the practicalities of chicken husbandry. The book's final chapter is devoted to a beautiful visual study of the characteristics of particular breeds, providing quick-reference information on their origins, particulars, and appearance.
A state-of-the-art photographic identification guide to Europe (TM)s whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals This cutting-edge photographic identification guide to Europe (TM)s sea mammals "the only such guide of its kind "covers the 39 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises and 9 species of seals found in the region, which spans the eastern Atlantic from Iceland to Macaronesia, and the Mediterranean, Caspian and Baltic seas. Written and illustrated by a team of professional tour guides with extensive experience presenting the region (TM)s sea mammals, the guide features more than 180 color photographs, maps and graphics, highlights key identification features and includes information on the range, ecology, behaviour and conservation status of each species. Produced with the marine conservation charity ORCA, the book presents mapping data from a decade of surveys, which shows both current distribution and changes over time. Europe (TM)s Sea Mammals is an essential companion for whale watchers and anyone else who is interested in this enigmatic group of mammals. The only photographic guide dedicated to this popular whale-watching region Features more than 180 color photos, maps and graphics Highlights key identification features and provides essential information on the range, ecology, behaviour and conservation status of each species
As a boy, Jon Day was fascinated by pigeons, which he used to rescue from the streets of London. Twenty years later he moved away from the city centre to the suburbs to start a family. But in moving house, he began to lose a sense of what it meant to feel at home. Returning to his childhood obsession with the birds, he built a coop in his garden and joined a local pigeon racing club. Over the next few years, as he made a home with his young family in Leyton, he learned to train and race his pigeons, hoping that they might teach him to feel homed. Having lived closely with humans for tens of thousands of years, pigeons have become powerful symbols of peace and domesticity. But they are also much-maligned, and nowadays most people think of these birds, if they do so at all, as vermin. A book about the overlooked beauty of this species, and about what it means to dwell, Homing delves into the curious world of pigeon fancying, explores the scientific mysteries of animal homing, and traces the cultural, political and philosophical meanings of home. It is a book about the making of home and making for home: a book about why we return.
An introduction to France for anyone visiting with birds in mind, from casual birdwatchers checking a bird that flies over the terrace during a family holiday to addict birders who would sell their souls for a dream species or a record-breaking checklist. Some may have just a few spare hours to get their binoculars out between business meetings or museum visits, others will be out in the field for two weeks or more, from sunrise to sunset. The authors wrote this book for all bird lovers, birdwatchers and birders, whatever the duration of their stay, the number of kilometres they are prepared to travel and how they enjoy birds. With over 400 regularly occurring species, of which 357 normally breed or winter, France has one of the most diverse avifaunas of the whole of Europe, spanning an incredible range from colourful Mediterranean flagship species such as roller, bee-eater or black-winged kite to secretive cold-climate or mountain specialists like three-toed woodpecker and Tengmalm's owl. The Birdfinder section provides targeted details for 30 species which often rank in the top wish-list of birders visiting France. Dividing the country into 14 regions, the authors highlight 312 representative sites, chosen for their bird species composition and ease of access. The selected sites enable the reader to see the widest possible species diversity and largest range of local specialities in a reasonable time, while respecting the basic ethical rules obvious to all birdwatchers. Whenever possible, sites are arranged in clusters or itineraries that can be covered in two to three days without hurrying. To supplement the use of the book in the field, all the sites described are geolocated in a file that can be downloaded from the publisher's website and loaded onto any GPS device.
A catalog of wonders, from walking fish to self-medicating chimpanzees. This Atlas of Poetic Zoology leads readers into a world of wonders where turtles fly under the sea, lizards walk on water, insects impersonate flowers, birds don't fly, frogs come back from the dead, and virgin sharks give birth. Animals, writes Emmanuelle Pouydebat, are lyric poets; they discover and shape the world when they sing, dance, explore, and reproduce. The animal kingdom has been evolving for 700,000 million years, weathering many crises of extinction; this book allows us to draw inspiration from animals' enduring vitality. Pouydebat's text, accompanied by striking color illustrations by artist Julie Terrazzoni, offers a catalog of wondrous beings. Pouydebat describes the African bush elephant-the biggest land mammal of them all, but the evolutionary descendant of a tiny animal that stood less than fifty centimeters (nineteen inches) high sixty million years ago; the scaly, toothless pangolin, the world's most endangered mammal-and perhaps its most atypical; the red-lipped batfish, which walks, rather than swims, across the ocean floor; and the great black cockatoo, a gifted percussionist. Chimpanzees, she tells us, self-medicate with medicinal plants; the jellyfish, under stress, reverts to juvenile polyp-hood; and the sweetly named honey badger feeds on reptiles, termites, scorpions, and earthworms. Pouydebat, a researcher at the French Museum of Natural History, and Terrazzoni capture the astonishment promised by any excursion into nature-the happiness that comes from watching a dragonfly, spider, frog, lizard, elephant, parrot, mouse, orangutan, or ladybug. It's the joy of witnessing life itself. We need only open our eyes to see.
When and where did the ancestors of modern birds evolve? What enabled them to survive the meteoric impact that wiped out the dinosaurs? How did these early birds spread across the globe and give rise to the 10,600-plus species we recognise today - from the largest ratites to the smallest hummingbirds? Based on the latest scientific discoveries and enriched by personal observations, The Ascent of Birds sets out to answer these fundamental questions. The Ascent of Birds is divided into self-contained chapters, or stories, that collectively encompass the evolution of modern birds from their origins in Gondwana, over 100 million years ago, to the present day. The stories are arranged in chronological order, from tinamous to tanagers, and describe the many dispersal and speciation events that underpin the world's 10,600-plus species. Although each chapter is spearheaded by a named bird and focuses on a specific evolutionary mechanism, the narrative will often explore the relevance of such events and processes to evolution in general. The book starts with The Tinamou's Story, which explains the presence of flightless birds in South America, Africa, and Australasia, and dispels the cherished role of continental drift as an explanation for their biogeography. It also introduces the concept of neoteny, an evolutionary trick that enabled dinosaurs to become birds and humans to conquer the planet. The Vegavis's Story explores the evidence for a Cretaceous origin of modern birds and why they were able to survive the asteroid collision that saw the demise not only of dinosaurs but of up to three-quarters of all species. The Duck's Story switches to sex: why have so few species retained the ancestral copulatory organ? Or, put another way, why do most birds exhibit the paradoxical phenomenon of penis loss, despite all species requiring internal fertilisation? The Hoatzin's Story reveals unexpected oceanic rafting from Africa to South America: a stranger-than-fiction means of dispersal that is now thought to account for the presence of other South American vertebrates, including geckos and monkeys. The latest theories underpinning speciation are also explored. The Manakin's Story, for example, reveals how South America's extraordinarily rich avifauna has been shaped by past geological, oceanographic and climatic changes, while The Storm-Petrel's Story examines how species can evolve from an ancestral population despite inhabiting the same geographical area. The thorny issue of what constitutes a species is discussed in The Albatross's Story, while The Penguin's Story explores the effects of environment on phenotype - in the case of the Emperor penguin, the harshest on the planet. Recent genomic advances have given scientists novel approaches to explore the distant past and have revealed many unexpected journeys, including the unique overland dispersal of an early suboscine from Asia to South America (The Sapayoa's Story) and the blackbird's ancestral sweepstake dispersals across the Atlantic (The Thrush's Story). Additional vignettes update more familiar concepts that encourage speciation: sexual selection (The Bird-of-Paradise's Story); extended phenotypes (The Bowerbird's Story); hybridisation (The Sparrow's Story); and 'great speciators' (The White-eye's Story). Finally, the book explores the raft of recent publications that help explain the evolution of cognitive skills (The Crow's Story); plumage colouration (The Starling's Story); and birdsong (The Finch's Story)
"Meshing deft scientific text with Tuttle's sumptuous images, it's a superb introduction to the baroque morphologies and flying prowess of these beguiling beasts."- Nature Bats: An Illustrated Guide to All Species looks in detail at the more than 1,300 species known today. Nocturnal, fast-flying and secretive, they are endlessly fascinating, yet extremely difficult to observe and catalogue. The diversity of bats is both rich and underestimated and the threats they face from humans are very real. This guide illuminates the world of bats and reveals their true nature as intelligent, social and deeply misunderstood creatures. This extravagantly illustrated handbook features the work of famed nature photographer Merlin D. Tuttle and in-depth profiles of 288 bats, from the Large Flying Fox, which has a wingspan of more than five feet, to the Bumblebee Bat, contender for the world's smallest mammal. Bats includes close-up images of these animals' delicate and intricate forms and faces, each shaped by evolution to meet the demands of an extraordinarily specialized life, and a thorough introduction which explores their natural history and unique adaptations to life on the wing.
A celebrated figure in myth, song, and story, the nightingale has captivated the imagination for millennia, its complex song evoking a prism of human emotions,-from melancholy to joy, from the fear of death to the immortality of art. But have you ever listened closely to a nightingale's song? It's a strange and unsettling sort of composition-an eclectic assortment of chirps, whirrs, trills, clicks, whistles, twitters, and gurgles. At times it is mellifluous, at others downright guttural. It is a rhythmic assault, always eluding capture. What happens if you decide to join in? As philosopher and musician David Rothenberg shows in this searching and personal new book, the nightingale's song is so peculiar in part because it reflects our own cacophony back at us. As vocal learners, nightingales acquire their music through the world around them, singing amidst the sounds of humanity in all its contradictions of noise and beauty, hard machinery and soft melody. Rather than try to capture a sound not made for us to understand, Rothenberg seeks these musical creatures out, clarinet in tow, and makes a new sound with them. He takes us to the urban landscape of Berlin-longtime home to nightingale colonies where the birds sing ever louder in order to be heard-and invites us to listen in on their remarkable collaboration as birds and instruments riff off of each other's sounds. Through dialogue, travel records, sonograms, tours of Berlin's city parks, and musings on the place animal music occupies in our collective imagination, Rothenberg takes us on a quest for a new sonic alchemy, a music impossible for any one species to make alone. In the tradition of The Hidden Life of Trees and The Invention of Nature, Rothenberg has written a provocative and accessible book to attune us ever closer to the natural environment around us.
Mama's Last Hug is a whirlwind tour of new ideas and findings about animal emotions, based on Frans de Waal's renowned studies of the social and emotional lives of chimpanzees, bonobos and other primates. It opens with the moving farewell between Mama, a dying 59-year-old chimpanzee matriarch, and Jan Van Hoof, who was Frans de Waal's mentor and thesis advisor. The filmed event has since gone viral (over 9.5 million views on YouTube). De Waal discusses facial expressions, animal sentience and consciousness, the emotional side of human politics, and the illusion of free will. He distinguishes between emotions and feelings, all the while emphasizing the continuity between our species and other species.
And he makes the radical proposal that emotions are like organs: we haven't a single organ that other animals don't have, and the same is true for our emotions.
There are over 3,700 species of snake found on every continent except for Antarctica, ranging in size from Barbados' tiny threadsnake to Southeast Asia's massive reticulated python. More than any other creature snakes are surrounded by dark, compelling myths and legend, unsurprising since many constrict their prey to death, or kill with a venomous bite, using a diverse armory of venoms that affect the blood, tissues, organs, and respiration. However, it is especially true of snakes that the closer you observe them, the more exquisite they are in their intricate geometry of pattern, the fine texture of the overlapping scales, and the intricacies of their multifarious lifestyles. The Book of Snakes profiles 600 significant species from all 32 families-one in six of all known species-to create a beautiful collector's piece that is both a significant resource for enthusiasts and scholars, and the most visually stimulating guide on the market.
How can you tell when a Rufous or a Ruby-throated hummingbird will be in your neighborhood? What is the correct sugar-to-water ratio for your visiting hummingbirds? Should you put red dye #2 in the mixture? How do you keep that feisty Rufous from scaring other hummers away? Hummingbird enthusiast Dan True answers these questions and many more in this beautifully illustrated, informative guide to the sixteen species of hummingbirds that breed in the United States and Canada. Available in this handy guide are life-size photos of the male and female of each of the sixteen species, detailed information on each species, maps showing where the species can be spotted, how hummers mate, when and where they migrate to and from, and new banding information. There is also easy-to-follow, step-by-step information on how to photograph hummingbirds in flight. True has spent years talking to other hummer experts and enthusiasts and includes here anecdotes from all over the country that help readers understand why hummingbirds do what they do. An indispensable book for any one with a hummingbird feeder.
While birding literature is filled with tales of expert observers spotting rare species in exotic locales, John Yow reminds us that the most fascinating birds can be the ones perched right outside our windows. In thirty-five engaging and sometimes irreverent vignettes, Yow reveals the fascinating lives of the birds we see nearly every day. Following the seasons, he covers forty-two species, discussing the improbable, unusual, and comical aspects of his subjects' lives. Yow offers his own observations, anecdotes, and stories as well as those of America's classic bird writers, such as John James Audubon, Arthur Bent, and Edward Forbush. This unique addition to bird literature combines the fascination of bird life with the pleasure of good reading.
Britain hosts a diversity of freshwater environments, from torrential hill streams and lowland rivers to lakes and reservoirs, ponds and canals, and ditches and estuaries. "Britain's Freshwater Fishes" covers more than 50 species of freshwater and brackish fish found in these waters. This beautifully illustrated guide features in-the-hand and in-the-water photographs throughout, and accessible and informative overviews of topics such as fish biology and life cycles. Detailed species accounts describe key identification features, with information on status, size and weight, habitat, ecology, and conservation. The book also includes a glossary and suggestions for further reading.
This easy-to-use field guide will be invaluable to anyone interested in Britain's freshwater fish life, from naturalists and academics to students and anglers.Covers all of Britain's freshwater fishes Features beautiful photos throughout Includes detailed information on more than 50 species, the places they inhabit, and their roles in Britain's ecosystems Attractively designed and easy to use
In a Panamanian pond, male tungara frogs ("Physalaemus pustulosus") gather in choruses, giving their "advertisement" call to the females that move among them. If a female chooses to make physical contact with a male, he will clasp her and eventually fertilize her eggs. But in vying for the females, the males whose calls are most attractive may also attract the interest of another creature: the fringe-lipped bat, a frog eater. In the "Tungara Frog," the most detailed and informative single study available of frogs and their reproductive behavior, Michael J. Ryan demonstrates the interplay of sexual and natural selection. Using techniques from ethology, behavioral ecology, sensory physiology, physiological ecology, and theoretical population genetics in his research, Ryan shows that large males with low-frequency calls mate most successfully. He examines in detail a number of explanations for the females' preferences, and he considers possible evolutionary forces leading to the males' success. Though certain vocalizations allow males to obtain mates and thus should be favored by sexual selection, this study highlights two important costs of such sexual displays: the frogs expand considerable energy in their mating calls, and they advertise their whereabouts to predators. Ryan considers in detail how predators, especially the frige-lipped bat ("Trachops cirrhosus"), affect the evolution of the tungara frog's calls."
Humans are mammals. Most of us appreciate that at some level. But what does it mean for us to have more in common with a horse and an elephant than we do with a parrot, snake or frog?
After a misdirected football left new father Liam Drew clutching a uniquely mammalian part of his anatomy, he decided to find out more. Considering himself as a mammal first and a human second, Liam delves into ancient biological history to understand what it means to be mammalian.
In his humorous and engaging style, Liam explores the different characteristics that distinguish mammals from other types of animals. He charts the evolution of milk, warm blood and burgeoning brains, and examines the emergence of sophisticated teeth, exquisite ears, and elaborate reproductive biology, plus a host of other mammalian innovations. Entwined are tales of zoological peculiarities and reflections on how being a mammal has shaped the author's life.
I, Mammal is a history of mammals and their ancestors and of how science came to grasp mammalian evolution. And in celebrating our mammalian-ness, Liam Drew binds us a little more tightly to the five and a half thousand other species of mammal on this planet and reveals the deep roots of many traits humans hold dear.
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