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The Resource Spying on whales : the past, present, and future of earth's most awesome creatures, Nick Pyenson

Spying on whales : the past, present, and future of earth's most awesome creatures, Nick Pyenson

Label
Spying on whales : the past, present, and future of earth's most awesome creatures
Title
Spying on whales
Title remainder
the past, present, and future of earth's most awesome creatures
Statement of responsibility
Nick Pyenson
Title variation
Spying on whales
Title variation remainder
the past, present, and future of Earths most awesome creatures
Creator
Author
Subject
Language
eng
Summary
Whales are among the largest, most intelligent, deepest diving species to have ever lived on our planet. They evolved from land-roaming, dog-sized creatures into animals that move like fish, breathe like us, can grow to 300,000 pounds, live 200 years and travel entire ocean basins. Whales fill us with terror, awe, and affection--yet there is still so much we don't know about them. Why did it take whales over 50 million years to evolve to such big sizes, and how do they eat enough to stay that big? How did their ancestors return from land to the sea--and what can their lives tell us about evolution as a whole? Importantly, in the sweepstakes of human-driven habitat and climate change, will whales survive?
Writing style
Award
  • Loan Stars Favourites, 2018.
  • Library Journal Best Books, 2018.
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Pyenson, the Smithsonian's curator of fossil marine mammals, offers a captivating, accessible glimpse of the complicated, fascinating world of whales, moving from Deep Time (50 million years ago) to the present and the future. What is a whale? To answer that question, the author says, it's crucial to understand these creatures' long evolution as they moved from the sea to land and back to the sea, what they are today, and how they may change in the future as they interact with humans and a changing biome. This is no dry recitation; Pyenson treats facts the way he does life—as an adventure. Details such as blue whales having more than 300 million miles of blood vessels are woven into tales of his own and historical, exciting, sometimes dangerous expeditions in search of whales and whale fossils. VERDICT A fast, fun, and informative read that is ideal for research and pleasure alike.—Gretchen Crowley, formerly at Alexandria City Public Libraries, VA --Gretchen Crowley (Reviewed 09/01/2018) (School Library Journal, vol 64, issue 9, p128)
  • Smithsonian paleontologist Pyenson winningly combines science and travel writing to create what he describes as “a kind of travelogue to chasing whales, both living and extinct.” Writing in a contagiously enthusiastic style, Pyenson brings the reader along on an exploration of the evolution of whales, from their prehistoric origins as land-roaming organisms to the at-risk aquatic species of today. He travels to, among other spots around the globe, an ancient whale graveyard on the coast of Chile to investigate fossilized skeletons and an Icelandic whaling station to better understand whale anatomy. Whether describing the technological advances that allow lasers to create 3-D replicas of whale skeletons, or old-fashioned fossil hunting with his son, Pyenson communicates a love of natural history and scientific discovery. Not shying away from charged topics, such as climate change and the human impact on dwindling whale populations, he covers these issues in an evenhanded fashion that avoids polemic. At one point, Pyenson writes, “The best stories of scientific discovery are, at their heart, stories about people.” Using this philosophy, he has delivered a fascinating and entertaining look at whales and the scientists who study them. Agent: Bridget Matzie, Aevitas. (June) --Staff (Reviewed 04/02/2018) (Publishers Weekly, vol 265, issue 14, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ With a title that borrows from a quote by writer Annie Dillard, this latest work from paleontologist Pyenson (Smithsonian: Curator of Fossil Marine Mammals) explores the rich discoveries and remaining questions about whales. From the coast of Panama to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Pyenson brings together the work of ecologists, geologists, and physicists. He examines evidence for the evolution of species from land mammals to the sea creatures we are familiar with today. The author studies migration patterns and pod behavior and anatomy to help advance current understandings of whale adaptation and socialization. He also looks to the future in order to predict how climate change, pollution, and human activity will impact how whales live, breed, and die. VERDICT Popular science readers (both adult and teens) will enjoy the way in which Pyenson sheds light on the mystery of life below the seas without dimming its majesty. --Catherine Lantz (Reviewed 05/15/2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 9, p73)
  • A paleontologist and self-styled whale chaser weaves his own adventures into a rich account of the largest creatures on our planet. Pyenson, the curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History and prolific author of scientific articles in newspapers and popular magazines, is both enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable about whales. His research has taken him around the globe, from the Atacama Desert in Chile to examine newly discovered whale skeletons to a whaling station in a fjord in Iceland, where whalers carve up freshly caught whales. He has looked for answers to his questions about their evolution, biology, and behavior in the Arctic and Antarctic, Panama, and North Carolina's Outer Banks. He vividly shows how scientists work and the significant physical demands required to extract fossils from sand and rocks and dissect blubber and flesh from bones. Pyenson divides his account into three parts: the past, the present, and the future. He asks questions about how whales evolved from four-legged land animals, how they grew so big, how and what they eat, how they live today, and what the age of the Anthropocene holds for them. Although the book is packed with information, the author is quick to remind readers that, even among scientists, much about whales remains unknown. Many fossils that would reveal their evolution have not been found, and their behavior is often hidden in the deep ocean world. One particularly intriguing question arises: What can humans learn about surviving in a changing world from these creatures who for millennia have survived on a planet where oceans rose and fell and land masses shifted? What keeps readers going in this occasionally challenging work are Pyenson's clear love of his subject, his thrill at making a scientific discovery, and his depiction of the world of scientists at work. (Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2018)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10663606
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Pyenson, Nick
Dewey number
599.5
Illustrations
  • illustrations
  • maps
Index
index present
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
Whales
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
the past, present, and future of Earth's most awesome creatures
Label
Spying on whales : the past, present, and future of earth's most awesome creatures, Nick Pyenson
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1956757
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
xii, 322 pages
Isbn
9780735224568
Lccn
2018022535
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations, map
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780735224568
  • (OCoLC)1006804897
Label
Spying on whales : the past, present, and future of earth's most awesome creatures, Nick Pyenson
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1956757
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
xii, 322 pages
Isbn
9780735224568
Lccn
2018022535
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations, map
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780735224568
  • (OCoLC)1006804897

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