While there is a solid body of literature published on the mental abilities of Chimpanzees, this is the first work to be devoted entirely to the Gorillas and Orangutans, as such it is a welcome addition to the library of anybody studying the mentalities of the great apes, primates in general and mammals as a whole.
These two larger and less excitable members of great ape family have in the last couple of decades been the subject of a number of useful studies. these studies lead one inevitably to the conclusion that the mental capabilities of both are relatively similar to that of the chimpanzees. Both show the ability to use tool, to recognise themselves as individuals, to learn by mimicry and to deceive. However this book leaves us well aware that there is still much work to be done before we can say we fully understand the mental potential of the great apes and why it manifests in the wild the way it does. Both Gorillas and Orangutans show variation within populations in the wild-state usage of tools as well as displaying a far greater facility for acquiring tool using habits in captivity than in the wild.
This book covers all that is currently know concerning the mental and emotional states of these two close relatives of ours. Most chapters compare not only the performances of these two apes but also compare them with Chimpanzees and human children, giving us a well rounded idea of what they are capable of.
The chapters are well written and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It will be essential reading for anyone working with these amazing animals, both in the wild and in captivity.
Chapter headings are:- 1)Hominid family values: morphological and molecular data on relations among great apes and humans; 2)The life history and development of great apes in comparative perspective; 3)The frontal lobes of the great apes, with a focus on the gorilla and the orangutan; 4)Intelligent tool use in wild Sumatran orangutans; 5)Orangutans' imitation of tool use: a cognitive interpretation; 6)Object manipulation and skill organization in the complex food preparation of mountain gorillas; 7)Development of sensoriomotor intelligence in infant gorillas: the manipulation of objects in problem-solving and exploration; 8)Tool use in captive gorillas; 9)A survey of tool use in captive gorillas; 10)Symbolic communication with and by great apes; 11)The development of spontaneous gestural communication in a group of zoo-living lowland gorillas; 12)Early sign-language acquisition: comparisons between children and gorillas; 13)Early sign performance in a free-ranging, adult orangutan; 14)Comparative aspects of mirror self-recognition in great apes; 15)Deception and concealment as strategic script violation in great apes and humans; 16)Levels of imitation and cognitive mechanisms in orangutans; 17)Parental encouragement in Gorilla in comparative perspective: implications for social cognition; 18)The development of social roles in the play of an infant gorilla and its relationship to sensoriomotor intellectual development; 19);The mentalities of gorillas and orangutans in phylogenetic perspective.
This work concerned, as it is, with the Cercopithecoidea, is a high level text aimed at post-graduate researchers and beyond. Personally when I agreed to review it I was hoping for something primarily ecologically oriented, this expectation was not really fulfilled and the first four chapters were really pretty disappointing. The first chapter is a watery introduction to the following chapters, a complete waste of space as each chapter contains its own quite adequate introduction. The following 3 chapters are taxonomic but take up nearly 20% of the book to say they really do not have enough information to make any solid conclusions. While papers of this sort have there place in academic journals I feel that to gain a place in a book a paper really ought to have something worthwhile to say.
From here on in the book improves considerably and includes many well written and interesting chapters. Perhaps the best of the lot is the final chapter by Yeager and Kool (see below), though the proceeding 4 chapters were all highly informative and a pleasure to read.
There is a strange mixture of of taxonomy, anatomy and ecology with a hint of physiology to the make up of this book giving it a broad feel that is somewhat at odds with the depth and focus of some of the individual chapters. Perhaps this is a reflection of the current state of research and the available papers. Undoubtedly there is a good deal of useful information here, and the book will uphold its place in many university libraries, and although I find it hard to believe it will ever be considered a great text once I was passed the initial chapters I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Chapter headings:- 1)World monkeys: three decades of development and change in the study of the Cercopithecoidea; 2)The molecular systematics of the Cercopithecoidea; 3)Molecular genetic variation and population structure in Papio baboons; 4)The phylogeny of the Cercopithecoidea; 5)Ontogeny of the nasal capsule in cercopithecoids: a contribution to the comparative and evolutionary morphology of catarrhines; 6)Old World monkey origins and diversification: an evolutionary study of diet and dentition; 7)Geological context of fossil Cercopithecoidea from eastern Africa; 8)The oro-facial complex in macaques: tongue and jaw movements in feeding; 9)Evolutionary morphology of the skull in Old World monkeys; 10)Evolutionary endocrinology of the cercopithecoids; 11)Behavioral ecology and socioendocrinology of reproductive maturation in cercopithecine monkeys; 12)Quantitative assessment of occlusal wear and age estimation in Ethiopian and Tanzanian baboons; 13)Maternal investment throughout the life span in Old World monkeys; 14)Cognative capacities of Old World monkeys based on studies of social behaviour; 15)The effects of predation and habitat quality on the socioecology of African monkeys: lessons from the islands of Bioko and Zanzibar; 16)The loud calls of black-and-white colobus monkeys: their adaptive and taxonomic significance in light of new data; 17)Agonistic and affiliative relationships in blue monkey groups; 18)Locomotor behavior in Ugandan monkeys; 19)The behavioral ecology of Asian colobines.
This is the third of three titles on primate societies that I have reviewed recently and in many ways it is the best, it certainly is the most enjoyable to read as a book.
The first part of the book is three chapters on Comparative analysis as a tool in examining social systems and its relevance to the study of primate socioecology. These are in depth chapters, well thought out and well written that should be of great value to students of ecological methods as well as to research workers. Though requiring a relatively high degree of background understanding for their full appreciation they set a solid basis for the book as a whole.
Part two is six chapters under the joint heading of "Comparative Life History and Biology". One of the main themes in this section of the book is the problem posed by variation in sex-specific distribution of individuals within populations. Answers are sort from a number of causes such as, the need for co-operation in reproduction (Ross and Jones chapter 4), allocating resources to ensure infant growth and survival (Lee chapter 5), food sharing (Blurton Jones et al., chapter 6), or in the prevention of infanticide (van Schaik et al., chapter 8). It is reasonable to assume that that each of these potential causes plays its role to a differing degree among the various primate taxa. This highlights one of the most fascinating aspects of the study of primate social ecology - namely the high degree of variability exhibited within the group around the single theme of group living.
Part three is a further six chapters under the heading "Comparative Socioecology and Social Evolution". Three of these chapters 10, 11 and 13 are concerned with patterns of male-female distribution, looking specifically at lemurs, neotropical monkeys and apes. Chapter 12 discusses an attempt to model some aspects of the behavioural ecology of baboons and chimpanzees based on climatic data. Their model produces generally robust results with some interesting exception. The last two chapters take a look at humanity, firstly as a whole analysing what can be known of the forces effecting our social evolution over the last five million years and secondly at the rise and decline of systems of matrilineal inheritance of land in the numerous cultures of sub-Saharan Africa.
Over all this book suffers surprisingly little from the major problems normally inherent in multi-author works. In places it is so well written as to warrant its having a place in the 'Natural History' section of non-academic libraries, as well in the academic libraries for which it has been written.
Chapter headings are:- 1)The comparative method: principles and illustrations from primate socioecology; 2)Cladistics as a tool in comparative analysis; 3)Phylogentically independent comparisons and primate phylogeny; 4)Socioecology and the evolution of primate reproductive rates; 5)Comparative ecology of postnatal growth and weaning among haplorhine primates; 6)Some current ideas about the evolution of the human life history; 7)The evolutionary ecology of the primate brain; 8)Sex and social evolution in primates; 9)Mating systems, intrasexual competition and sexual dimorphism in primates; 10)Lemur social structure and convergence in primate socioecology; 11)Why is female kin bonding so rare? Comparative sociality of neotropical primates; 12)Energetics, time budgets and group size; 13)Ecology of sex differences in great ape foraging; 14)Hominid behavioural evolution: missing links in comparative primate socioecology; 15)Evolutionary ecology and cross-cultural comparisons: the case of matrilineal descent in sub-Saharan Africa.
The tiger is a flagship species, and sometimes an umbrella species in a world where the human demands for land seem never ending. Tigers and their conservation has been in and out of the news for over a decade now, inevitably one wonders what is real and what is sensation among the many articles and reports. This book will answer many of those questions and many more regarding the last five to ten years of tiger conservation efforts.
Here you will find, written usually in in an easily readable form, all that is current, to early 1999, in the world of tiger conservation. This includes surveys and population estimates, what are the main problems confronting the conservation movement, the theories concerning how these problems can best be tackled as well as a run down on what is actually being achieved.
The main thrusts of this work are:- firstly that can not survive limited to the current reserves, and that in India at least many of the reserves are in danger of becoming so degraded they have little value. Secondly it is essential that conservationists and politicians alike accept that prey densities are of fundamental importance in regulating tiger populations. tiger conservation is tiger prey conservation. Thirdly it becomes imperative that local people become more integrated in tiger conservation concerns. Only when local people have, in these financially impoverished areas, a real fiscal incentive to protect tigers and their habitat will tiger conservation really happen.
Chapter headings are:- 1)Ecology, behaviour and resilience of the tiger and its conservation needs; 2)Tiger distribution, phenotypic variation and conservation issues; 3)Subspecies of tigers: molecular assessment using 'voucher specimens' of geographically traceable individuals; 4)The tiger in human consciousness and its significance in crafting solutions for tiger conservation; 5)Population dynamics of the Amur tiger in Sikhote-Alin Zapodevnik, Russia; 6)Hierarchical spatial analysis of Amur tiger relationships to habitat and prey; 7)Prey depletion as a critical determinant of tiger population viability; 8)Long-term monitoring of tigers: lessons from Nagarahole; 9)Tigers in Panna: preliminary results from an Indian tropical dry forest; 10)Last of the Indonesian tigers: a cause for optimism; 11)The status of the Indochinese tiger: separating fact from fiction; 12)Metapopulation structure of tigers in Thailand; 13)Metapopulation structure of tigers in Nepal; 14)Effective tiger conservation requires cooperation: zoos as a support for wild tigers; 15)The beginning of the end of tigers in trade; 16)Roaring back: anti-poaching strategies for the Russian Far East and the come back of the Amur tiger; 17)Combating tiger poaching and illegal wildlife trade in India; 18)Where can tigers live in the future? A framework for identifying high-priority areas for the conservation of tigers in the wild; 19)A habitat protection plan for the Amur tiger: developing political and ecological criteria for a viable land-use plan; 20)The tragedy of the Indian tiger: starting from scratch; 21)Reconciling the needs of conservation and local communities: Global Environmental Facility support for tiger conservation in India; 22)Tigers as neighbours: efforts to promote local guardianship of endangered species in lowland Nepal; Epilogue) Vision and process in securing a future for wild tigers; Appendix 1) Common and scientific names used in the text; Appendix 2)The fossil tigers; Appendix 3)Key to locations in Figs. 11.1 to 11.6; Appendix 4)Indices for ranking tiger conservation units; Appendix 5)Counting tigers with confidence.
As can be seen from the chapter headings there is a lot of area covered by this book and it will be essential reading for conservationists and students of conservation for a number of years. I t is a book I enjoyed for the most part, I only wish it could have been written by a single author, reading the same introduction to nearly twenty chapters degrades what is other a very useful book.
There are nearly 270 species of marsupials left in the world and between them they eat just about everything, though unfortunately the larger marsupial carnivores are now all extinct. There however still some smaller marsupial carnivores left as well as frugivores, fungivores, folivores, insectivores, nectivores and omnivores as well as species that specialise in tree sap, underground tubers and grass seeds. This makes them a good useful group to compare with the placental mammals when seeking to understand the relationships between diet and digestive physiology. The degree of evolutionary convergence is startling at times, to the extent that both group of mammals have folivorous species that produce two different sorts of faeces, one of which is eaten and redigested. i.e. Ringtailed possums and the European Rabbit.
Nutrition, as you would expect is the central theme of this book as well as the central the of most animals lives, to eat is to live or perhaps to live is to eat. Which ever, the importance of diet in constraining and directing and animals daily and yearly rhythms is considerable, almost total in some cases. Nutrition then is a valid standpoint from which to study the ecology and evolution of an animal. What you eat is dependant to some extent on what you can digest, and it is the physiological slant that this book takes in its study of marsupial nutrition. chapter one is an introduction to the central themes of digestion discussing topic such as the relationship between body weight and basal metabolic rate, food intake, nitrogen requirements, protein turnover and water turnover. The seven following chapters look at deal with marsupial digestion in terms of dietary groups and digestive tactics (see below). Chapter nine summarises this data in relationship to the evolution both marsupials and of digestive systems. Chapter ten allows the author to ponder on the future of nutritional research.
Chapter headings are:- 1)Metabolic rates and nutrient requirements; 2)Carnivorous marsupials; 3)Omnivorous marsupials; 4)Hindgut fermenters - the wombats; 5)Hindgut fermenters - the arboreal folivores; 6)Foregut fermenters - kangaroos and wallabies; 7)Nutritional ecology of kangaroos and wallabies; 8)Foregut fermenters - the rat-kangaroos; 9)Evolution of marsupials and of digestive systems; 10)Future directions; there is also an taxonomic appendix, references and an index, though the index is fairly shallow.
This is a much improved and updated rewrite of "Physiology and Nutrition of Marsupials" (1982) by the same author. There has been a considerable body of research done since then and the author is in an admirable position to take on the work of bringing it all together. The book is well written and relatively easy to read, albeit it is aimed and undergraduates and postgraduate students. It is reasonably well illustrated with a selection of B/W diagrams and in my opinion deserve its place on any relevant library shelf.
This book is a counterpoint and sister volume to the earlier published "Primate Communities" (Fleagle, Janson and Reed 1999 which, along with "Comparative Primate Socioecology" (Lee 1999) make up a trilogy of recently published books looking at primate societies from different points of view.
Though the book is titled "Primate Males", and is nominally focused on males it is really about the forces that primate societies and females are discussed as regularly as males. Interestingly the scene is set, after a brief introduction, by a excellent chapter on birds written by N.B. Davies, one of my favourite scientific writers, and a wonderfully informative chapter on Kangaroos by P. J. Jarman, both of these chapters are stimulating and well written, the book then moves into its main these with 20 chapters on primates.
Unfortunately none of the these chapters were nearly as well written as the first two and one wonders at times if the editor had even read them himself. On the whole this book suffers from perhaps the worst case of textual bloat I have ever come across and at a rough estimate I conclude that nearly a third of its 316 pages could have been happily omitted. Chapter 17 for instance is a 12 page theoretical discussion and model analysis of "Collective Action Problems" or CAPs. The author starts the chapter by admitting that there is little evidence for the existence of CAPs in primate communities at all. The rest of the chapter contains little, if anything that is enlightening and could easily have been cut down to two pages. Worse still in Chapter 12, page 131 we find the amazing statement "When males aggregate in all male bands group size is larger than when males stay solitary", I suspect it probably is, and George Bush may well have been proud of such a statement but how did it get into a edited scientific publication.
Finally in chapter 16, page 183, the author states "Unlike food and many other resources fertilisations cannot be shared". This is pure nonsense, the sort of logical error you expect from undergraduates. Here the author has compared two different resources at two different scales. You can not logically compare individual fertilisations with total available food. Compared on the same scale i.e total food with total fertilisations, or individual food items with individual fertilisations the two are the same, the same food item can not be digested by more than one individual any more that a female giving birth to a single infant can be fertilised for that birth by more than one male. This is especially relevant as the author is discussing multi-female primate groups.
All this is not to say that the book does not contain much good science as well, on the contrary it contains a reasonable amount of useful information and some good thinking and it will undoubtedly be an important work to many mammal biologists but I would not recommend it as a text to students without the experience or knowledge to recognise its shortcomings. Potentially it could be a good work, and perhaps still is if you are willing to wade through the excess, it is a pity a little more effort was not extended by the editor.
Chapter headings are:- 1)Primate males: history and theory; 2)Multi-male breeding groups in birds: ecological causes and social conflicts; 3)Males in Macropod society; 4)Social counterstrategies against infanticide by males in primates and other mammals; 5)Causes and consequences of unusual sex ratios among lemurs; 6)The number of adult males in callitrichine groups and its implications for callitrichine social evolution; 7)From binding brotherhoods to short-term sovereignty: the dilemma of male Cebidae; 8)The number of males in Guenon groups; 9)Socioecology of baboons: the interaction of male and female strategies; 10)Variation in adult sex ratios of red colobus monkey social groups: implications for interspecific comparisons; 11)The number of males in langur groups: monopolizability of females or demographic processes; 12)The costs and benefits of one male, age graded, and all male phases in wild Thomas's langur groups; 13)Male dispersal and mating season influxes in Hanuman langurs living in multi-male groups; 14)Rethinking monogamy: the gibbon case; 15)Causes and consequences in male mountain gorilla life histories and group membership; 16)Relationships among non-human primate males: a deductive framework; 17)Collective benefits, free riders, and male extra-group conflict; 18)Dominance, egalitarianism, and stalemate: an experimental approach to male-male competition in Barbary macaques; 19)The evolution of male philopatry in neotropical monkeys; 20)Models of outcome and process: predicting the number of males in primate groups; 21)Why are male chimpanzees more gregarious than mothers? A scramble competition hypothesis; 22)Male mating strategies: a modeling approach; 23)Understanding male primates.
This is the first of three volumes recently published by Cambridge University Press on primates as group living animals. Its 19 chapters take a series of looks at the differences between primate communities in four major biogeographical regions; Africa, Asia, Central and South America and Madagascar. Comparisons are made between both comparable communities in the separate regions and between different communities within these separate areas. In their efforts to explain the many differences observed the authors turn to both long and short term historical events as well as human mediated changes and environmental variables such as rainfall, gross primary production, seasonality, soil type, tree species diversity, nutrient availability and interactions with other mammalian faunas. The book focuses on multi-species whole primate communities, rather than single species communities.
The two most obvious conclusions from these chapters are firstly, the dawning awareness among many primate ecologists that the causes underlying currently existing primate community structures are many and diverse as well as being interactive and temporarily variable, and are therefore difficult to separate from a whole ecological and evolutionary perspective. Secondarily, we currently do not have anywhere near enough data to begin to assign percentage points to the varying causes we can discern. Rainfall, up to 2500 mm per year, correlates well with species diversity, however this may merely reflect its effect on plant diversity and the whole forest ecology. As with many volumes of this type this book asks more questions than it answers, though it does serve an important purpose in that it makes available and a reasonable price much of the current state of knowledge and thought in the area of understanding primate community structure.
On the whole the book is well written and readable work on an important group of tropical animals, primates are often the dominant observable mammalian taxa in tropical rainforests. To understanding tropical rainforests, which are rapidly vanishing aspect of our world environment necessitates necessitates understanding primates and their communities.
Chapter headings are:- 1)African primate communities: Determinants of structure and threats to survival; 2)Biomass and use of resources in south and south-east Asian primate communities; 3)Species coexistance, distribution and environmental determinants of neotropical primate richness. A community-level zoogeographic analysis; 4)Primate communities: Madagascar; 5)Primate diversity; 6)Phylogenetic and temporal perspectives on primate ecology; 7)Population density of primates in communities: Differences in community structure; 8)Body mass, competition and structure of primate communities; 9)Convergence and divergence in primate social systems; 10)Of mice and monkeys: Primates as predictors of mammal community richness; 11)Comparing communities; 12)Large-scale patterns of species richness and species range size in anthropoid primates; 13)The recent evolutionary past of primate communities: Likely environmental impacts during the past three millennia; 14)Resources and primate community structure; 15)Effects of subsistence hunting and forest types on the structure of Amazonian primate communities; 16)Spatial and temporal scales in primate community structure; 17)Primate communities in Africa: The consequences of long-term evolution or the artifact of recent hunting; 18)The future of primate communities: A reflection of the present; 19)concluding remarks; as well as a systematic index and a subject index.
The subject of this book is without doubt a fire risk zone in the arena of biological politics. Although the editors admit that the relationship of the human mind to the concept of infanticide interacts with, and conditions, the way data is presented in many analyses, both those for and against the sexual selection theory, they have not managed to remove the proselytising attitude from some of the papers in this book. This has resulted in quite unscientific use of the English language in some cases and a sense of defensiveness in some papers. There is evidence throughout the book of what I would call "New Theory Condition" which results in the proponents of a new theory trying use it as an explanation for nearly everything. This is a function of the whole field and I think has to be accepted, in time the claims for the importance of infanticide, and infanticide avoidance or defence will calm down and we will have more rational reports of its occurrence.
Some of the chapters are noticeable better written than others, and as infanticide obviously does occur in nature, it is important that these ideas should be discussed openly and this book is an important step in that direction. Most of the chapters in this is quit a large volume contain a lot of useful data and will be valuable to future researchers and students alike. The one chapter to deal with infanticide in human beings is sadly inadequate and deals only with a couple of cases giving an entirely wrong impression of the history of human infanticide which was far more extensive than this paper could indicate.
Whether you accept all that is written here or not this remains an important work and will be compulsory reading for behavioural ecologists and their students for years to come.
Chapter headings are:-1)The holy wars about infanticide. Which side are you on? and why?; 2)Infanticide by male primates: the sexual selection hypothesis revisited; 3)Vulnerability to infanticide by male: patterns among mammals; 4)Infanticide in red howlers: Female group size, male membership, and a possible link to folivory; 5)Infanticide in hanuman langurs: social organisation, male migration, and weaning age; 6)Male infanticide and defence of infants in chacma baboons; 7)Infanticide by males and female choice in wild Thomas's langurs; 8)The evolution of infanticide in rodents: a comparative analysis; 9)Infanticide by male birds; 10)Prevention of infanticide: the perspective of infant primates; 11)Infanticide and the evolution of male-female bonds in animals; 12)The other side of the coin: infanticide and the evolution of affiliative male-infant interactions in Old World primates; 13)Female dispersal and infanticide avoidance in primates; 14)Reproductive patterns in eutherian mammals: adaptations against infanticide; 15)Paternity confusion and the ovarian cycles of female primates; 16)Social evolution in primates: the relative roles of ecology and intersexual conflict; 17)Infanticide by female mammals: implications for the evolution of social systems; 18)"The hate that love generated";- sexually selected neglect of one's own offspring in humans 19)The behavioural ecology of infanticide by males.
The Bathyergidae have become the subject of much research in the last 20 years following the seminal publication on the eusocial nature of Heterocephalus glaber by J. U. M. Jarvis in 1981. The interested this stimulated in this small family of sub-Saharan rodents has resulted in us now having a considerable body of knowledge concerning their ecology. It is timely that this book should be published summarising these efforts as a spur to further research and a useful resource for lecturers and students of behavioural ecology everywhere.
The book is well written starting with a general introduction to the family before moving on steadily through a series of chapters describing and discussing the full range of social strategies that the Bathyergidae employ. The Bathyergidae contain species that are solitary, social and fully eusocial, making them unique among mammals and an ideal subject for the study of the factors involved in the maintenance of different degrees of sociality in animal species. After having supplied us with all the relevant data in the first 7 chapters, and having convinced us that sociality is a successful adaptation to subterranean life for animals living in arid conditions with a patchy distribution of resources, the authors use the last chapter to analyse the occurrence of social and eusocial practices within the Bathyergidae in relationship to other vertebrates and to eusocial insects. This inevitably includes a synopsis of the current state of the discussion on the nature and evolution of eusociality itself.
Chapter headings:- 1)Introduction to the Bathyergidae; 2)The subterranean niche; 3)The food resource of African mole-rats; 4)Social organisation in African mole-rats; 5)Life-history patterns and reproductive biology; 6)Social suppression of reproduction in African mole-rats; 7)The Genetic structure of mole-rat populations; 8).The evolution of sociality in African mole-rats.
All in all this is an informative and highly readable addition to the world of zoological literature, it will undoubtedly be an important component of the reading list of anyone study animal behaviour and or the evolution of social structures in vertebrates.
Wildlife conservation is an important issue in the minds of all right thinking human beings. Mammals, as this volume points out, while representing only a small portion of the total biodiversity of this planet draw a disproportionately large percentage of conservation funding and play a pivotal role conservation publicity. This is not only because 25% of all known mammals are believed to be endangered to some degree (IUCN 1996 Red Data Book lists), but also because of their immediately perceivable relevance to us human beings and our lives. This relevance is ever present and diverse, ranging from mammals a resources; food, skins, labour etc., through mammals as hindrances to our agricultural aspiration to their acceptability within our minds as species worthy of conservation, perhaps partly because of their similarity to us. all this is just to say that Mammal Conservation Biology is currently a 'hot topic'
This book is an excellent look at the state of mammal conservation biology today. The various authors discuss a wide range of topics such as the validity of large mammals as 'Flagship' species, and or 'Umbrella Species', the discussion on the confusion that seems to exist in some peoples minds over these two terms as well as 'Keystone' and 'Indicator' species was interesting, paralleling comments I made concerning the same problem in insect conservation biology a few years ago. the four concepts are distinct and there is no real reason for confusion. Other subjects that come up for discussion include the relevance of captive breeding programs given their low success rate and the means by which conservation priorities are worked out and implemented. The results of these discussions are enlightening and indicate the growth, learning and maturity of Mammal conservation Biology as a discipline.
The books main suggestions are, in no order of preference:- 1)The need to better promote mammals as having long term economic value to politicians; 2)The importance of involving local people in conservation efforts, in gaining their support through education and in keeping it by ensuring they reap some material benefit from the conservation actions; 3) The need to shift our focus from conserving species to conserving biodiversity as a whole; 4) The need for zoos as exsitu conservationists to co-ordinate better with with insitu conservationists and vica versa; 5)The need to put a greater percentage of our efforts into conserving small mammals and into the use of these small mammals as publicity generating symbols.
All in all this is a well written and informative read, an important reservoir of clear thinking in regard to the conservation of our rapidly dwindling mammals.
Domesticated mammals dominated the lives of an ever increasing portion of humanity from about 10 000 years ago until the last century. Only the advent of modern technology in the first world has been able to separate mankind from the horse, the cow, the pig and the sheep. However even in leaving the land for high rise flats we have taken our dogs and cats with us. The history of civilisation is intimately tied up with the history of the domestication of mammals, and in much of the world life still revolves around a few essential domestic mammals. This book has a universal interest to mankind as a whole and to anyone who wishes to understand his own society and its deepest roots.
In this pleasant and easy to read book the author takes us through all that is known of the history of mankind's domestication of his fellow mammals. It supplies the when, the where and the how of the beginning of domestication for each species of mammal. During this process she answers questions such as. Why these mammals and not others? As well as why were some species domesticated in some places and not in others, though this issue is less well understood.
The book starts with those mammals most well known in the first world, the cat, the cow, the dog, the goat, the horse, the pig and the sheep. From here she goes on to discuss alpacas, assess, elephants, mithans and yaks (including hybrids) amongst others in what is a very comprehensive and informative survey.
The suggestion that the Golden Hamster is the only domesticated hamster might raise a few eyebrows and she missed out on last years discovery that the African Forest Elephant is really a separate species but otherwise the book is excellent, well researched and accurate.
Analysing the diets of animals that became extinct millions of years ago is not easy. The science is inevitably deductive and even then it is from limited evidence. Mistakes and reassessments are the rungs on this ladder of learning in this field of knowledge This book does not claim to be a definitive laying down of the law of ancient terrestrial vertebrate diet, nor is it a monograph of all that is currently know.
What it is, is eight chapters written by different authors who discuss a selection of the topics available within this field in the light of our most up-to-date and well analysed ideas. There is much clear thinking evinced within its pages, as well as a large amount of precise data culled from the fossil record. Undoubtedly this book deserves its place on any academic shelf dealing with subjects such as evolution, odontology, herbivory, dinosaurian ecology or mammalian ecology. In the final analysis this book is about the form, function and evolution of teeth in relationship to changing diets that in turn reflect changes in vegetation patterns.
This is a book written for research workers and higher level students, it contains much that is thoughtful and informative but is not always an easy read. Chapter headings are: 1)Herbivory in terrestrial vertebrates: an introduction; 2)Herbivory in late Paleozoic and Triassic terrestrial vertebrates; 3);Prosauropod dinosaurs and iguanas: speculations on the diets of extinct reptiles 4);The evolution of sauropod feeding mechanisms 5)Plant-eaters and ghost lineages:dinosaurian herbivory revisited; 6)Dental constraints in the evolution of mammalian herbivory; 7)Patterns in the evolution of herbivory in large terrestrial mammals: the Paleogene of North America; 8)Origin and evolution of the grazing guild in Cenozoic New World terrestrial mammals.
Bats are fascinating and much misunderstood animals, in the general world view of mankind the are far from receiving the respect they deserve. Despite the fact that they represent more than 1/5th of all mammal species literature about them is thinly spread, at least in terms of books, though the situation is improving. This book then, embarrassing as it does a poorly represented aspect of bat biology is a welcome addition to the world of mammalian literature. However it should be noted that this is not a work for the casual reader. Instead it is a very scientifically rigorous work mostly centred on the science of ontogeny. It is definitely aimed at Chiropteran research workers and university students rather than lay people with an interest in bats. Having said that several of the chapters, particularly numbers 8 and 12, would make interesting reading for any intelligent amateur as well as for professionals, and as such it would well be worth badgering you library into getting a copy so you can spend some time browsing through it.
For university workers in the fields of mammal biology, developmental biology or animal evolution and their libraries this must surely be an essential reference work. The 12 chapters cover a wide range of aspects of chiropteran development with the notable exception of the alimentary canal. as with any work with its chapters written by a succession of different authors there is a certain variance in style, some scientists simple write more coherently than others. Generally speaking however the information is well presented, discussed and referenced throughout. Their is a considerable amount of specific detail in some chapters which will be appreciated by workers with a limited budget for reprints. The focus of the book is, as the title infers the ontogeny and development of the many specialised morphological and physiological adaptations of bats. Secondarily these factors are related to evolutionary choices in behavioural ecology.
Overall this is very accurate and detailed work which must be highly recommended.
Chapter headings include:- 1) Integrating ontogeny into ecological; and evolutionary investigations; 2) Bat phylogeny: an evolutionary context for comparative studies; 3) Early embryology, fetal membranes and placentation; 4) Brain ontogeny and ecomorphology in bats; 5) Evolutionary plasticity and ontogeny of the bat cochlea; 6) Skull growth and acoustical axis in the head of bats; 7) Ontogeny of the chiropteran basicranium, with reference to the Indian false vampire bat; 8) A theoretical consideration of dental morphology, ontogeny and evolution; 9) Wing ontogeny, shifting niche dimensions, and adaptive landscapes; 10) Ontogeny and evolution of the hindlimb calcar: assessing phylogenetic trends; 11) A comparative perspective on the ontogeny of flight muscles in bats; 12) The ontogeny of behaviour in bats: a functional perspective.
The Domestic cat is probably the most popular non-human animal on this planet, only the domestic dog could offer a challenge and our relationship to it is quite different. This book then comes with a large natural audience. The first edition in 1989 was very popular, however 11 years is a long time in the world of scientific research and much has been added to our biology of the cat in this time. This book will bring you up to date, it is a welcome renewal of an already popular title.
The work loses something in readability, firstly in being a collection of chapters written by individual experts. although this undoubtedly brings a greater depth of knowledge and experience to the work it leave a certain inconsistency in style. It can be annoying to have the same facts and references thrown at you time and again in succeeding chapters. Secondly this problem is exacerbated by the 'scientific paper' style of writing which tends to repeat itself anyway.
The book is fully referenced throughout which will make it more valuable to those involved in research or seeking confirmation of statistics. Personally however, I think, that with such a popular subject, and at a very reasonable price there should have been no need to pander to academia and the false concept that including references in the text gives a work greater verisimilitude. Or else the work should have been aimed entirely at the academic market. As it is the book falls between two stools. However if you can learn to ignore the (Ramel 1992, Nazaridis 1996, Hoare et al 1999)'s that litter the text you are in for a fascinating read. By the time you are finished there is little you will not know about the ecology and behaviour of domestic cat and your eyes will have been opened to a new way of seeing your favourite moggy.
Reading through the chapter headings will give you a good idea of what is in store:- 1) Why the cat; 2) Behavioural development in the cat; 3) Factors influencing the mother kitten relationship; 4) Individuality in the domestic cat: origins, development and stability; 5) The signalling repertoire of the domestic cat and it undomesticated relatives; 6) Group-living in the domestic cat: its sociobiology and epidemiology; 7) Density, spatial organisation and reproductive tactics in the domestic cat and other felids; 8) Hunting behaviour of domestic cats and their impact on prey populations; 9) Domestication and history of the cat; 10) The human-cat relationship; 11) Feline welfare issues; 12) Questions about cats.
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