Chasing Kangaroos: A Continent, a Scientist, and a Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Creature [NOOK Book]

Overview


In his most personal book yet, Tim Flannery, the internationally acclaimed author of The Weather Makers, draws on three decades of travel, research, and field work to craft a love letter to his native land and one of its most unique and beloved inhabitants: the kangaroo. Crisscrossing the continent, Flannery shows us how the destiny of this extraordinary creature is inseparable from the environment that created it. Along the way he uses encounters with ancient aboriginal cultures and eccentric fossil hunters, ...
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Chasing Kangaroos: A Continent, a Scientist, and a Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Creature

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Overview


In his most personal book yet, Tim Flannery, the internationally acclaimed author of The Weather Makers, draws on three decades of travel, research, and field work to craft a love letter to his native land and one of its most unique and beloved inhabitants: the kangaroo. Crisscrossing the continent, Flannery shows us how the destiny of this extraordinary creature is inseparable from the environment that created it. Along the way he uses encounters with ancient aboriginal cultures and eccentric fossil hunters, farmers and scientists, kangaroo advocates and kangaroo hunters, to explore how Australia’s deserts and rain forests have shaped human responses to the continent--and how kangaroos have  evolved to handle the resulting challenges. Ultimately, Chasing Kangaroos is a captivating blend of memoir, travel, natural history, and evolutionary science--and further proof of Flannery’s “offhand interdisciplinary brilliance” (Entertainment Weekly).
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Editorial Reviews

William Grimes
The kangaroo on the Australian national sealis but one of the many species explored by Mr. Flannery in his engaging and, yes, bouncy tour of the kangaroo family and the landscape of his native Australia… Part road trip, part nature show and disguised memoir as well, Chasing Kangaroos takes the author to searing deserts, lush rain forests and stark mountain ranges in search of kangaroos past and present, large and small.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

This paean to a remarkable animal by Flannery, author of the well-received global warming treatise The Weather Makers, is fascinating but scattershot. The kangaroo, the only large animal that hops, can travel at speeds of 15-40 kilometers per hour. Female kangaroos, who carry their young in pouches, have two vaginas, but don't give birth through either of them, and are always pregnant, because they mate a few hours after their young are born. There are 70-odd species of kangaroo: some drink salt water; others live in trees. But as a paleontologist, Flannery is obsessed with finding out when and where the first kangaroos lived. Much of the book is about his searches for the fossils of extinct species in remote areas of the Australian outback, where he discovered the remains of "the grandfather of all kangaroos," as well as the fossils of ice age giants, such as the short-faced kangaroo and a carnivorous kangaroo. The accounts of his discoveries are engaging, but he covers too much ground, switching back and forth between physical descriptions, kangaroo evolution, reminiscences of his fossil hunting travels, worries about Australia's environment and the aborigines, and his controversial extinction theories. B&w and color illus. not seen by PW. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

After tackling global climate change in The Weather Makers, Flannery returns to his native Australia and its most famous creature: the kangaroo. In tracing the developmental history of this marsupial, his research involves travel throughout the Australian continent in search of fossils and other evidence of the kangaroo's evolution and adaptation to its changing environment. Flannery personalizes his scientific account with entertaining tales of his journeys through deserts and rain forests and encounters with eccentric scientists and native aborigines. This combination of scientific treatise, travel journal, and autobiography should appeal to readers with an interest in conservation or environmental issues, kangaroos, and Australia. Recommended for public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ3/15/07.]
—Deborah Emerson

Kirkus Reviews
Australian scientist/conservationist/explorer Flannery (The Weather Makers, 2006, etc.) tells the remarkable story of underappreciated marsupials thriving Down Under. "They are, in my opinion, the most remarkable animals that ever lived, and the truest expression of my country," he writes. Flannery has been fascinated by kangaroos ever since he abandoned prospects for a humanities degree in favor of work for a noted paleontologist and a cross-country summer trip on a sturdy motorbike some 30 years ago. Not only did these untamed youthful adventures excite his interest in further fieldwork, they also provide the frame here for lively chapters filled with colorful Australian characters and occasionally perilous encounters with the continent's scattered Aborigine population. The author provides assorted factoids related to the kangaroo's feet, jawbones, daily diet and reproductive cycles (certain pregnancies average 33 days) that will spark even the most casual reader's curiosity. The larger species-the lean, resilient red, the speedy grey, the fiercely self-sufficient euro-get most of his attention as he rambles through the outback to uncover the genesis and evolution (affected by climatic changes) of what was originally labeled a "giant leaping rat." The scientific scrutiny of experts like James Cook, who examined breeding habits, and Terrence Dawson, who unlocked the "deep mysteries of hopping," fueled Flannery's ever-expanding personal interest in kangaroos. He offers an update on the current condition of kangaroo culture and its significance to the country's delicate ecosystem. His final notes are cautionary, urging Australians to take a more educated interest in the land they inhabitand the exquisite creatures who dwell among them in more than 70 species. Quite exhaustive, fired by a boundless exuberance that leaps off the page.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555848217
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/12/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 558,176
  • File size: 4 MB

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