Jan 24, 2018

Great Cats

Majestic Creatures of the Wild
edited by John Seidensticker and Susan Lumpkin

Since the last post on here I have picked up and discarded after a few dozen pages, three other books. Just not holding my interest. This one is a bit older, but still rich in material with good photographs. It is very factual, not many anecdotes, so the reading got a bit dry near the end, but still - I learned a lot. Explains the evolutionary history of cats; It was new to me that cheetahs are most closely related to pumas, and I was intrigued by the details on how saber-toothed cats' social structure and hunting methods were deduced by the wear and damage of their skeleton remains. There is a series of illustrated plates showing all six big cats, the medium-sized clouded leopard and snow leopard, and then some thirty smaller wild cats- including bobcats, lynxes, servals, ocelots and quite a few others I hadn't heard of before- oncilla, kodkod, Iriomote cat. Following chapters are dedicated individually to the lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar, cheetah, snow leopard and pumas. Bobcats and lynxes are discussed in one same chapter, ocelots and servals together in the next. The rest of the wildcats are grouped in another chapter, mostly because little was known about them when this was published. Other parts of the book go into depth on wild feline communication, hunting methods and reproduction; conflicts with man and conservation efforts, and how big cats have featured in art and been revered in various cultures through history. All in all an impressive book. The contributing authors include thirty-eight biologists and scientists. I found this volume at The Book Thing, and it's one I'm holding on to.

Rating: 4/5         240 pages, 1991

1 comment:

Thistle said...

I kept that book for ages, too. I even shipped it across country when I moved from NY to California. Eventually, when I got rid of most of my physical books, I donated it to the library. I hope someone rescued it and really enjoyed it.