Whales, Dolphins & Porpoises: A Natural History and Species Guide

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9780226183190: Whales, Dolphins & Porpoises: A Natural History and Species Guide
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The eighty-nine cetacean species that swim our seas and rivers are as diverse as they are intelligent and elusive, from the hundred-foot-long, two-hundred-ton blue whale to the lesser-known tucuxi, ginkgo-toothed beaked whale, and diminutive, critically endangered vaquita. The huge distances these highly migratory creatures cover and the depths they dive mean we catch only the merest glimpses of their lives as they break the surface of the water. But thanks to the marriage of science and technology, we are now beginning to understand their anatomy, complex social structures, extraordinary communication abilities, and behavioral patterns. In this beautifully illustrated guide, renowned marine mammalogist Annalisa Berta draws on the contributions of a pod of fellow whale biologists to present the most comprehensive, authoritative overview ever published of these remarkable aquatic mammals.
Opening with an accessible rundown of cetacean biology including the most recent science on feeding, mating, and communication "Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises" then presents species-specific natural history on a range of topics, from anatomy and diet to distribution and conservation status. Each entry also includes original drawings of the species and its key identifiers, such as fin shape and color, tooth shape, and characteristic markings as they would appear both above and below water a feature unique to this book.
Figures of myth and as the debate over hunting rages on figures of conflict since long before the days of "Moby-Dick," whales, dolphins, and porpoises are also ecologically important and, in many cases, threatened. Written for general enthusiasts, emergent cetacean fans, and biologists alike, this stunning, urgently needed book will serve as the definitive guide for years to come."


I take the good old-fashioned ground that the whale is a fish, Ishmael says confidently in Melville s "Moby-Dick." Old-fashioned indeed whales are mammals, not fish. Thankfully, our scientific understanding of whales has come a long way since 1851, and much of that knowledge is collected in "Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises," a sperm whale-sized compendium of all things cetacean. --Chelsea Leu "WIRED ""

Entries are brief, accurate, authoritative, and they highlight fascinating features of these animals. This informative and captivating book will be a fine addition to libraries that serve everyone from laypeople to researchers and scientists who are interested in learning more about marine mammalogy, in particular the titular species. --Tina Chan, SUNY Oswego "Library Journal ""

[This book] contains many good illustrations of the majority of extant species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises (cetaceans).It also provides a general overview of the systematics and evolution of cetaceans as a group and very brief summaries of anatomy, feeding, life history, range, and conservation issues for each species.Except for the first few dozen pages, the text is not meant to be read continuously, but browsed. In doing so, a reader will gain appreciation for the range of cetacean biology topics and some insight into recent developments in scientific understanding of that biology.Casual readers . . . should enjoy the photographs and drawings if they are curious about whales, dolphins, and porpoises. . . . Recommended.
--S. R. Fegley, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill "Choice ""

A well illustrated reference book . . . to the world s cetaceans. --Ian Paulsen "Birdbooker Report ""

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