The last decades of the twentieth century saw a flowering of knowledge about the behaviour, ecology, and evolution of mammals, including ourselves. This new information is brought together, in highly accessible form, by an international team of scientists led by David Macdonald of Oxford University. Uniquely, the information is both authoritative enough to be used as a serious reference work by professionals and presented clearly and attractively enough to fascinate anyone with an interest in wildlife. The New Encyclopedia of Mammals builds on the success of its first edition, published in 1983, to produce an up to date, authoritative, and hugely readable species by species guide to all the mammals of the world.
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David Macdonald has produced a wide range of books and wildlife films on mammals, both academic and trade. First known for his work on foxes, he has moved on to work on badgers, meerkats, buffalo, wild dogs, wolves.... He and his films have been shown on television and some of his books sold in tens of thousands. First among his book sales was the first edition of The Encyclopedia of Mammals, first published in 1983 which sold around 16,000 copies in the UK, 100,000 in the US, and 50,000 copies in other languages and was most recently reprinted (for the US) in 1995.From Booklist:
Distinguished by outstanding color photographs, this authoritative encyclopedia provides an overview of more than 5,000 species. Written at a level accessible to undergraduates as well as the general reader by an outstanding team of subject experts, the work has broad appeal. The signed articles range in length from one to several pages. There are four types of entries. For each order or group of orders, a general essay highlights the biology, ecology, behavior, and evolution of the group. Accounts of individual species, groups of species, or families of species comprise the majority of the entries and cover details such as physical characteristics, distribution, evolutionary history, diet, feeding behavior, social dynamics, classification, and relationships with humans. Also included are special-feature essays highlighting particularly interesting research and photo-essays showcasing evocative wildlife photography. Appendixes offer a species list, a 5-page bibliography, a 12-page glossary, and a comprehensive subject index.
A one-volume version of The Encyclopedia of Mammals was published in 1984 and expanded to three volumes in 2001. Of some concern is the lack of updated information in the 2006 edition. Many of the articles are essentially unchanged from the 2001 edition . Some of the illustrations date to the 1984 edition. The major changes are the taxonomic arrangement of the articles, an updated bibliography, and several new essays covering recent developments in mammalian conservation. In addition, current information is provided on ongoing threats to endangered species.
This work is recommended for public and academic libraries; however, because of the many similarities between the 2001 and 2006 editions, the 2006 edition is probably not worth the money for most libraries already owning the previous one. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia: Volumes 12-16; Mammals (Gale, 2004) is another excellent choice, notable for authoritative writing, comprehensive coverage, and ample color illustrations and photographs. Nancy Cannon
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