The Lives of Whales and Dolphins: From the American Museum of Natural History

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9780805019506: The Lives of Whales and Dolphins: From the American Museum of Natural History

An accessible and lavishly illustrated exploration of the world of whales and dolphins, based on the latest research, follows the seventy-five species of these creatures from birth through all aspects of their fascinating lives. 10,000 first printing.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

An informative, nuts-and-bolts look at the compelling world of whales and dolphins from Connor, vice president of the Shark Bay Research Foundation, and Peterson, a freelance science writer. In the second in a series on animal behavior from the American Museum of Natural History, Connor and Peterson paint a broad canvas of the cetacean's natural history. Although advances in cetacean biology have proceeded by leaps and bounds over the last two decades, much about these creatures remains murky. Connor and Peterson, while thoroughly covering what is thought to be known, give plenty of ink to conjecture and theory. While the fact that whales may once have been footed land creatures is admittedly fascinating, the text really gets captivating when it describes cetacean social dynamics: from tender courting rituals to domestic tendings and squabbles, from extraordinary displays of cooperation and affection to what can only be understood as gang behavior- -hooligans looking for trouble. There are loners, too, as Connor and Peterson note, rebels among the compassionate midwives, protective circlers, and baby sitters. But this is also a hardheaded science text with comparative anatomy, orientation and navigation techniques, migration routes, foraging activities, and measures of intelligence prominently figuring in the text. And cetacean communication skills--those clusters of whistles, clicks, pops, growls, and moans now available on audio cassette--receive up-to-date ponderings. Connor and Peterson close with a chapter on the near-extinction of the Yangtze River baiji, a freshwater dolphin. It is a sorry tale of habitat destruction and that dubious testament to progress, the hydroelectric dam. A thorough and engaging overview of magnetic creatures that have kept humans lost in amazement for thousands of years. (Photos and line drawings, not seen) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Second in the publisher's series on animal behavior produced with the American Museum of Natural History, this informative volume explores the world and behaviors of whales and dolphins. Whale authority Connor and science writer Peterson begin with the birth of a sperm whale in the tropical Pacific. The text, illustrated with drawings and photos, then follows several species of cetaceans through each stage of life. We learn how these creatures communicate, play, fight, take care of their young and catch prey. In examining the animals' social lives, the authors describe dolphins begging fish from tourists at Shark Bay in Western Australia, observe the interaction of newborn calves and their mothers and probe the sounds made by beluga and bowhead whales off the Alaskan coast. One of the animals' most notable features is their cooperative behavior, not only among themselves but also with other species.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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