Aug 26, 2011

The New York Times Book of Mammals

edited by Nicholas Wade

Pretty interesting book, The New York Times Book of Mammals is a compilation of the best articles on mammals from the newspaper's Science Times section, spanning the years 1991 through 2002. They're organized in sections regarding which type of mammal is featured: rodents, wild cats, wolves and their cousins, primates, etc. The articles range in subject- some are about new studies into animal physiology that hope to impact modern medicine, others look at animal behavior, or the reintroduction of species to lands they've been extinct from for decades (namely the wolf; there were four or five articles on wolves alone!) I think the most interesting ones for me were to read about the social structure of naked mole rats (similar to insects'), the genetic deterioration of cheetahs, how hormone exposure in the womb influences the gender of infant gerbils, and how reindeer herds are being lost to migrating caribou who tempt them to leave their accustomed lands. Also of course the ones regarding pregnancy, birth, infants bonding to the mother, the amazingly complex components of human milk (subjects close to me right now). I'm intrigued to see if there's a newer edition printed with reports more current to what's being discovered in science today.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 302 pages, 1998

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