Books on the Natural History of Animals


December 20, 2022

591. Books on specific topics in the natural history of animals

Further Reading:

Marc Bekoff The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy—and Why They Matter, 2007.

Using his original research, scientist Mark Bekoff shares the fantastic stories of emotional communications animals convey, covering everything from grief to embarrassment. Animals, he shows, are much more complex than many of us believe, and he argues we should treat them with respect.

Linda Bender Animal Wisdom: Learning from the Spiritual Lives of Animals, 2014.

Veterinarian Linda Bender shares her research into the abilities of animals to perform feats that indicate extrasensory abilities. She shares stories of animals whose behavior predicts earthquakes before seismologists know about them and others who find loved ones in unfamiliar territory. She also offers techniques to help you communicate with your pets.

Alex Bernasconi Wild Africa, 2010.

Internationally acclaimed photographer Alex Bernasconi travels off-road across Africa to bring us the best of his thousands of photographs of Africa’s wildlife in their natural habitat.

Frans De Waal Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, 2016.

Psychologist Frans De Waal takes a cold, hard look at the human conceit that we are the most intelligent creatures on the planet. Using the latest scientific research into animal intelligence, he proposes an alternative to looking at intelligence as a pyramid with us at its top. Instead, it might be better to view it as a bush with myriad forms of intelligence that do not translate from one species to another.

Douglas J. Emlen Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle, 2014.

Animals, like humans, fight one another for all sorts of reasons. Their primary weapons, teeth, horns, and claws, are what scientist Douglas J. Emlen studies. In looking at how animals fight, he uncovers how humans have developed weapons.

Richard O. Prum The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World, 2017.

Ornithologist Richard O. Prum takes another look at Darwin’s theory of natural selection and examines what it tells us about evolution, animal species, and ourselves. It is female responsiveness, he contends, that determines the course of history.

David Quammen Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind, 2003.

Science and nature writer David Quammen looks at humanity’s predators, from land animals like lions, tigers, and bears to sea creatures like sharks and crocodiles. He looks at how our efforts to control them and keep ourselves safe permanently change our relationship with the natural world.

Carl Safina Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, 2015.

In Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, Carl Safina shows how elephants struggle to survive droughts and poaching. Then he looks at Yellowstone National Park’s wolves and how one pack deals with tragedy. Finally, he goes to the Pacific Northwest to see how a pod of killer whales forges a peaceful existence with one another.

Beth Shapiro How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction, 2015.

Evolutionary biologist Beth Shapiro examines the scientific research that could lead to the resurrection of extinct species of animals–a process called de-extinction. She looks at which species could be considered and the possible ramifications of bringing them back. She considers the risks and possible benefits.

Scott Weidensaul The Ghost with Trembling Wings: Science, Wishful Thinking, and the Search for Lost Species, 2003.

Species are becoming extinct at an alarming rate. Yet, surprisingly, sometimes, these species resurface. How can this happen? Scott Weidensaul travels the planet to tell stories of these resurrections and discusses why they happen.

For more information on the Further Reading series, see Further Reading: Start Here.

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