The Life of Mammals

( 2 )

Overview

From the under-snow tunnels of Arctic lemmings to the egg nests of the bizarre Australian echidna, from the Pacific waters inhabited by sea otters and whales to the subways of major cities, this extraordinary and attractive book brings us into the homes and lives of some of earth's most fascinating animals.

Published in conjunction with a ten-part television series that will air on the Discovery Channel, The Life of Mammals brings us nose-to-nose with mammals in all of their ...

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Overview

From the under-snow tunnels of Arctic lemmings to the egg nests of the bizarre Australian echidna, from the Pacific waters inhabited by sea otters and whales to the subways of major cities, this extraordinary and attractive book brings us into the homes and lives of some of earth's most fascinating animals.

Published in conjunction with a ten-part television series that will air on the Discovery Channel, The Life of Mammals brings us nose-to-nose with mammals in all of their beauty and immense variety. Renowned naturalist, writer, and filmmaker David Attenborough treks across every continent and kind of terrain to introduce us to such unusual and evolutionarily successful creatures as the Patagonian opossum, the Canadian pygmy shrew, the Alpine marmot, and the Malaysian sun bear. We meet slow-moving algae-covered sloths. We enter a pack of African wild dogs, seeing how their division of labor enables them to provide protection and food to pups, mothers, and old dogs. We learn about the navigation systems of bats and find out why Borneo's colugo is a superior glider to a flying squirrel. Along the way, Attenborough considers how evolution has shaped mammalian habits, leading herbivorous sea cows to take to the water and humans to commence agriculture.

Containing more than 200 spectacular color photographs, this is a book that will gratify anyone intrigued by the natural world and the animals that inhabit it. Informative, utterly absorbing, and classic Attenborough, it represents natural history at its finest.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
"We have a special regard for mammals," celebrated naturalist David Attenborough writes in this companion to the ten-part television series. "We are, after all, mammals ourselves." And yet there are a baffling number and variety of them. Ranging over every continent and habitat, the author imposes some order on this extraordinarily diverse group by showing how what animals eat -- insects, plants, or other animals -- has over time had a radical effect on their anatomy. Many of these creatures seem impossibly exotic -- like the Ethiopian gelada, extravagantly coiffed even by primate standards, or the algae-covered tree sloth -- though more familiar animals appear here as well. (Sharing the British national obsession with hedgehogs, the author observes that this photogenic mother and her spiny young are fond of mincemeat.) The author makes no attempt to be encyclopedic, but the book is brimming with intriguing information on every page, on the delicate mating habits of porcupines, the startling reproductive capacity of lemmings, or the heft of the blue whale, twice the size of the biggest dinosaur. But the photos are the thing, and they're extraordinary: A tiny pygmy shrew does battle with an earthworm several times its size, a minuscule kangaroo newborn inches its way into its mother's pouch, or a group of fluffy tent-making bats nestles along the spine of a Helliconia leaf like so many oversized balls of cotton. Since mammals are, of course, distinguished by their ability to produce milk, there's no shortage of photos of mothers and their young, and the image of a weirdly adorable pygmy anteater is alone worth the price of the book. If the wondrous creatures celebrated here don't engender a sense of what the naturalist E. O. Wilson has called biophilia, a feeling for the rich diversity of species and our place among them, possibly nothing could. This astonishing portrait of the creatures who share our planet will appeal to nature lovers of any age. Deirdre Mullane</>
Booklist
Heavily illustrated with beautiful photographs and enlivened by Attenborough's friendly, informative writing style, this is a terrific introduction to the wonders of our hairy, milk-producing relatives.
Wildlife Activist
Vintage Attenbrough text is illustrated with more than 200 color photos to provide us with a beautiful and interesting window into the lives of these diverse and fascinating animals. An excellent addition to any family or natural history library.
The Washington Post
Attenborough brings a distinctive and zippy intelligence to everything he does. . . . [His] curiosity is boundless and infectious, and one is repeatedly reminded that once teeming and scheming humanity is left behind, the Earth can still be a magically amazing place.
— Tom Shales
The Washington Post - Tom Shales
Attenborough brings a distinctive and zippy intelligence to everything he does. . . . [His] curiosity is boundless and infectious, and one is repeatedly reminded that once teeming and scheming humanity is left behind, the Earth can still be a magically amazing place.
From the Publisher

"Heavily illustrated with beautiful photographs and enlivened by Attenborough's friendly, informative writing style, this is a terrific introduction to the wonders of our hairy, milk-producing relatives."--Booklist

"Attenborough brings a distinctive and zippy intelligence to everything he does. . . . [His] curiosity is boundless and infectious, and one is repeatedly reminded that once teeming and scheming humanity is left behind, the Earth can still be a magically amazing place."--Tom Shales, The Washington Post

"Vintage Attenbrough text is illustrated with more than 200 color photos to provide us with a beautiful and interesting window into the lives of these diverse and fascinating animals. An excellent addition to any family or natural history library."--Wildlife Activist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691113241
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/22/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,000,455
  • Product dimensions: 7.32 (w) x 10.02 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Table of Contents


FORWORD 7
1. A WINNING DESIGN 11
2. THE INSECT HUNTERS 38
3. CHISELLERS 61
4. PLANT PREDATORS 87
5. MEAT EATERS 124
6. THE OPPORTUNISTS 156
7. RETURN TO THE WATER 184
8. LIFE IN THE TREES 213
9. THE SOCIAL CLIMBERS 247
10. FOOD FOR THOUGHT 283
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 310
INDEX 316
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    As Usual, Fascinating

    Over 45 years ago, when I was about 10, I read a little book called Zoo Quest to Guyana by David Attenborough. Twenty years later I watched his PBS series Life on Earth. Although I have not seen the TV series associated with this book, I am sure it is excellent. Although he is now over 80, Attenborough writes and speaks with enthusiasm about the natural world. He always adds fascinating little details about the mammal he is writing about, be it platypus, sloth, or naked mole rat and the photos are superb. If you can find a copy of his Zoo Quest books, you will find him to be a wonderful travel writer as well.

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    Posted February 24, 2009

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