Thursday, August 10, 2017

New Title


1) Webster, Michael S.(editor). The Extended Specimen: Emerging Frontiers in Collections-Based Ornithological Research. 2017. CRC Press. Hardbound: 240 pages. Price: $139.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The Extended Specimen highlights the research potential for ornithological specimens, and is meant to encourage ornithologists poised to initiate a renaissance in collections-based ornithological research. Contributors illustrate how collections and specimens are used in novel ways by adopting emerging new technologies and analytical techniques. Case studies use museum specimens and emerging and non-traditional types of specimens, which are developing new methods for making biological collections more accessible and "usable" for ornithological researchers. Thus, book documents the power of ornithological collections to address key research questions of global importance.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in ornithological specimens.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

New Title


1) McKay, John J.. Discovering the Mammoth: A Tale of Giants, Unicorns, Ivory, and the Birth of a New Science. 2017. Pegasus Books. Hardbound: 241 pages. Price: $27.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The fascinating saga of solving the mystery of this ancient animal who once roamed the north country―and has captivated our collective imagination ever since.
      Today, we know that a mammoth is an extinct type of elephant that was covered with long fur and lived in the north country during the ice ages. But how do you figure out what a mammoth is if you have no concept of extinction, ice ages, or fossils? Long after the last mammoth died and was no longer part of the human diet, it still played a role in human life. Cultures around the world interpreted the remains of mammoths through the lens of their own worldview and mythology.
     When the ancient Greeks saw deposits of giant fossils, they knew they had discovered the battle fields where the gods had vanquished the Titans. When the Chinese discovered buried ivory, they knew they had found dragons’ teeth. But as the Age of Reason dawned, monsters and giants gave way to the scientific method. Yet the mystery of these mighty bones remained. How did Enlightenment thinkers overcome centuries of myth and misunderstanding to reconstruct an unknown animal?
     The journey to unravel that puzzle begins in the 1690s with the arrival of new type of ivory on the European market bearing the exotic name "mammoth." It ends during the Napoleonic Wars with the first recovery of a frozen mammoth. The path to figuring out the mammoth was traveled by merchants, diplomats, missionaries, cranky doctors, collectors of natural wonders, Swedish POWs, Peter the Great, Ben Franklin, the inventor of hot chocolate, and even one pirate.
     McKay brings together dozens of original documents and illustrations, some ignored for centuries, to show how this odd assortment of characters solved the mystery of the mammoth and, in doing so, created the science of paleontology. 8 pages of black-and-white illustrations.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in mammoths. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

New Title


1) Thibault, Jean-Claude and Alice Cibois. Birds of Eastern Polynesia: A Biogeographic Atlas. 2017. Lynx Edicions. Hardbound: 438 pages. Price: $37.50 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Birds of Eastern Polynesia is the first biogeographic atlas covering all of the birds of one of the largest areas of Oceania. The book treats all of the 241 species, including extinct birds, ever recorded on the Line Islands, the Cook, Austral, Society, Marquesas, Tuamotu and Gambier archipelagos, the Pitcairn Group, and the Eastern Is. Group. Their distribution over the 151 islands of the region is detailed in 142 maps. The species accounts include systematics, a detailed morphometric or genetic analysis when it is available, and data on distribution, population size and trends, habitat and breeding. All species recorded in Eastern Polynesia are illustrated in color, except those only known by bone records.
     Birds of Eastern Polynesia represents an original and much needed ornithological synthesis of all the available literature on Eastern Polynesian birds, including many difficult-to find reports, as well as unpublished data gathered from local ornithologists and biologists. It also contains new data collected by the authors during numerous field trips in Eastern Polynesia and during visits to museum collections. This work presents a complete overview of this vast oceanic region for anyone with an interest in the biology, biogeography and conservation of the birds of the Pacific islands.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a serious interest in the birds of the region.