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Walker's Mammals of the World

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9780801839702: Walker's Mammals of the World
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From aardwolves and bandicoots to yapoks and zorillas, Ernest P. Walker's Mammals of the World is the most comprehensive--the preeminent--reference work on mammals. Now, completely revised and updated, this fascinating guide is better than ever--covering more than 1,000 genera of mammals, including nearly one hundred that did nor appear in previous editions, and describing more than 4,000 different species.

The newest Walker's Mammals offers, for the first time in a single publication, a complete account of world mammals in all of historical time--that is, since about 3,000 B.C. Another new feature is that species are arranged within each genus in the order of simple to more advanced life forms, so that species are shown in their closest relation to one another. No other work contains illustrations--more than 1,700--of virtually every genus of mammals. Included are pictures by such noted wildlife photographers as Leonard Lee Rue III, Bernhard Grzimek, David Pye, and Warren T. Houck. Many new photographs of rarely seen animals have been added and, as in previous editions, most photographic illustrations are of live animals rather than of skins or skeletons.

Each section of the book describes one genus and includes facts such as scientific and common names, the number and distribution of species, measurements and physical traits, habitat, locomotion, daily and seasonal activity, population dynamics, home range, social life, reproduction, and longevity. Textual summaries present accurate, well-documented descriptions of the physical characteristics and living habits of mammals in every part of the world. Endangered species and those having singular economic importance are given particular attention, and the names and ranges of all the species within a given genus are listed at the beginning of each entry.

Since its publication in 1964, Walker's Mammals of the World has become a favorite guide to the natural world for general readers and an invaluable resource for professionals. This fifth edition represents more than half a century of scholarship--Ernest P. Walker himself devoted more than thirty years to the original project--and remains true to Walker's vision, smoothly combining thorough scholarship with a popular, readable style to preserve and enhance what the Washington Post called "a landmark of zoological literature."

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Review:

In 1930, the great mammalogist Ernest P. Walker (1891-1969), who was then assistant director of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., set out to make a checklist of all the world's mammal species. Thirty-four years later, that simple catalog had grown into the huge first edition of Mammals of the World, a book dedicated to all mammals, "who contribute so much to the welfare and happiness of man, another mammal, but receive so little in return, except blame, abuse, and extermination."

Now in its sixth edition and compiled in two volumes, the even larger Mammals of the World contains thorough descriptions of every genus of the class Mammalia known to have lived in the last 5,000 years: 28 orders, 146 families, 1,192 genera, and 4,809 separate species. Volume 1 opens with the monotremes (including echidnas and the duck-billed platypus), which, write Walker and his successor Ronald Nowak, "resemble reptiles and differ from all other mammals in that they lay shell-covered eggs that are incubated and hatched outside of the body of the mother." The first volume then moves on to cover the insectivores, including an astonishing variety of bats, and closes with primates and carnivores. Volume 2 comprises the pinnipeds (seals and sea lions), moves through the cetacea (dolphins, porpoises, and whales) and artiodactyls (deer and their kin), and closes with a huge roster of rodents. It also contains an extensive bibliography numbering some 6,000 items, making the set of inestimable importance to students and professionals.

Many of those mammal species, Nowak writes, are now in jeopardy. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists 2,078 threatened species, an increase of 1,661 species over its first list, published in 1987. At the same time, Nowak adds, the U.S. Department of Interior list has grown by only 17 species, for, he continues, "The USDI classification process has become hopelessly subject to delay and manipulation by bureaucratic, political, and commercial interests." He argues that much greater effort needs to be given to protecting these animal citizens everywhere in the world. The knowledge of them that this extraordinary compilation affords is a start. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Ernest P. Walker (1891-1969) began work on Mammals of the World in the early 1930s, when he became assistant director of the National Zoo in Washington. His work reflected an unequaled store of knowledge about the world's mammals. Ronald M. Nowak was senior author of the fourth edition of Walker's Mammals of the World, published in 1983. His otherworks on mammalogy include North American Quaternary Canis (1979) and several parts of the National Geographic Society's Wild Animals of North America (1979, 1987), for which he also was editorial consultant. He received a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Kansas in 1973 and was staff mammalogist at the former Office of Endangered Species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, from 1974 to 1987. He served as an Air Force officer for four years and is a private pilot.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780801857898: Walker's Mammals of the World (2-Volume Set)

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ISBN 10: 0801857899 ISBN 13: 9780801857898
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999
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9780801825255: Walker's Mammals of the World

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