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Mammals of North America: Temperate and…

Mammals of North America: Temperate and Arctic Regions

by Adrian Forsyth

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 155209409X, Hardcover)

Field guides help naturalists identify animals, but understanding their behavior is much more difficult. That's why this hefty reference work is so welcome. Mammals of North America is an excellent introduction to the behavior, ecology, and evolution of temperate and arctic mammals. Adrian Forsyth, a scientist and author of several other books on natural history, provides more than 100 species accounts, complete with excellent color photographs, range maps, basic life-history data, and concise summaries of behavior and ecology. From bighorn sheep to pygmy shrew, blue whale to black bear, Forsyth always finds something interesting to say.

But Forsyth's best writing shines in the mini-essays that occur throughout the text. What good are antlers? At less than a 10th of an ounce, how do shrews stay warm? Why do mammals produce milk? (From modified sweat glands, no less!) Why are seals such excellent divers? These topics allow him to address the big issues raised by recent advances in ecology and evolution, but always in the context of the mammal at hand, hoof, or flipper.

The geographical coverage is not truly North American. Forsyth provides accounts for only one-third of the North American species in some families. Most of the species omitted are from California, the arid Southwest, and Mexico. Is a companion volume for the arid regions of North America planned? Even with these omissions, Mammals of North America provides rich rewards for armchair naturalists as well as those who follow Louis Agassiz's advice to "study Nature, not books." --Pete Holloran

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:40 -0400)

Reference guide includes scientific names, behavioral data, full anatomical descriptions, range maps and habitats.

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