- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: BBC Books; 1st edition (17 Oct. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0563534230
- ISBN-13: 978-0563534235
- Product Dimensions: 18.3 x 2.7 x 25.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 82,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Life of Mammals Hardcover – 17 Oct 2002
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There are over four and a half thousand different kinds of mammals alive today. How many can you name? Many will not be entirely clear about what it is that makes a mammal rather than a reptile or bird, apart from egg laying. But then what about egg-laying mammals such as the platypus and echidna? The Life of Mammals describes and illustrates the remarkable diversity of mammals from the giant blue whale to the miniscule pigmy shrew. The cachet of David Attenborough's name and distinctive voice comes through clearly from the text and there's a stunning selection of photographs, by the best wildlife photographers in the world. The Life of Mammals is worth getting even if you just like wildlife pictures, for there are many here that you will not have seen before--the Brazilian tapir, the hairy rhino of Sumatra, the Pyrenean desman and more.
Attenborough certainly has the knack of making good stories for the general reader out of what, in other hands, can be rather dry science. He manages to weave in a great deal about the evolutionary story behind the success of the mammals over the last 65 million years since the dinosaurs bit the dust. Also, because of all the careful research behind the TV programmes, he is pretty well up to speed on many of the scientific developments in our understanding of our biologically nearest if not necessarily dearest relatives. This is especially true when the story gets around to our closest primate cousins--the apes. All the recent discoveries about tool use and culture are included.
The Life of Mammals will make a perfect gift for anyone from the age of about 10 upwards and hopefully a whole new generation will know what a kinkajou, cacomistle or a uakiri are. The only quibble is there's no further-reading list to fuel new enthusiasms lit up by this excellent book. --Douglas Palmer.
"Heavily illustrated with beautiful photographs and enlivened by Attenborough's friendly, informative writing style, this is a terrific
introduction to the wonders of our hairy, milk-producing relatives."--Booklist
"Attenborough brings a distinctive and zippy intelligence to everything he does. . . . [His] curiosity is boundless and infectious, and one is repeatedly reminded that once teeming and scheming humanity is left behind, the Earth can still be a magically amazing place."--Tom Shales, The Washington Post
"Vintage Attenbrough text is illustrated with more than 200 color photos to provide us with a beautiful and interesting window into the lives of these diverse and fascinating animals. An excellent addition to any family or natural history library."--Wildlife Activist
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The well written text is divided into 10 finely researched chapters each with their own particular stories and examples.
The 10 chapters cover a)animal design-as relating to environment b)insect hunters c)chiselers -animals with chisel shaped front teeth d) plant eaters e)meat eaters f)opportunists-animals that eat anything g)return to the water- animals living on land or in the sea h) tree dwellers i) social climbers -e.g. monkeys and j)food for thought-how animals may evolve.
The pictures are excellent and only a few cover 2 pages destroying their impact.Sources of photographs are now well laid out and easily identified.
A book to be recommended.
What Attenborough excels at here and indeed in all of his 'Life of' works is in providing the brushstrokes to the tapestry of evolution, effortlessly highlighting apposite examples of creatures, in this case mammals, to showcase Darwin's landmark theory of natural selection. Memorable examples are the grotesque: red, blue, purple and orange facial adornments of the male mandrill, the common ancestry of shrews and bats, weasels and otters, elephants and manatees and whales and hippos.
Darwin's studies of evolution in the context of isolated, notably island communities is brilliantly echoed in the treatment of Lemurs on Madagascar, which in the absence of monkeys have evolved to fill every possible environmental niche. The loss of flight in birds such as the short-tailed bat in New Zealand due to a lack of land based predators and the differential evolution of the red colobus monkey in increasingly isolated pockets of forest in a drying Africa are similarly redolent of Darwin.Read more ›
David Attenborough is so knowledgeable and very interesting.
The quality of photography is superb.
I will really treasure this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting,informative, a must for anyone who enjoys reading about mammals.Published 2 months ago by harry gardner