Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley's Curious Collection
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Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley's Curious Collection

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by Simon Winchester
     
 

Skulls is a beautiful spellbinding exploration of more than 300 different animal skulls­—amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles—written by New York Times bestselling author, Simon Winchester and produced in collaboration with Theodore Gray and Touch Press, the geniuses behind The Elements and Solar System.

Overview

Skulls is a beautiful spellbinding exploration of more than 300 different animal skulls­—amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles—written by New York Times bestselling author, Simon Winchester and produced in collaboration with Theodore Gray and Touch Press, the geniuses behind The Elements and Solar System.

In Skulls, best-selling author Simon Winchester (author of The Professor and the Madman; Atlantic: A Biography of the Ocean; Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded; and others)tells the rich and fascinating story of skulls, both human and animal, from every perspective imaginable: historical, biographical, cultural, and iconographic. Presenting details about the parts of the skull (including the cranium, the mandible, the shape and positioning of the eye sockets, and species-specific features like horns, teeth, beaks and bills), information about the science and pseudoscience of skulls, and a look at skulls in religion, art and popular culture, his stories and information are riveting and enlightening.

At the center of Skulls is a stunning, never-before-seen-in-any-capacity, visual array of the skulls of more than 300 animals that walk, swim, and fly. The skulls are from the collection of Alan Dudley, a British collector and owner of what is probably the largest and most complete private collection of skulls in the world. Every skull is beautifully photographed to show several angles and to give the reader the most intimate view possible. Each includes a short explanatory paragraph and a data box with information on the animal's taxonomy, behavior, and diet.

Skulls was published in December 2011 as an e-book for the iPad by the innovative e-book publishers Touch Press, creators of the best-selling e-books for iPad The Elements and Solar System. Both books were also published in print by Black Dog & Leventhal.

Editorial Reviews

As an author Simon Winchester (The Professor and the Madman; Krakatoa) might be said to be a collector of scientific curios and natural oddities. In Alan Dudley, he might have encountered his ideal subject. The British taxidermist indulged his obsession with collecting animal remains to the point of being imprisoned for breaking international bans on imported good. Fortunately, we don't have to get locked up to enjoy Dudley's finds. This splendid collection of reproductions of more than 300 human and animal skulls is accompanied by Winchester's fascinating commentary on historical, biographical, scientific, taxonomy, and cultural aspects. (P.S. Skulls was first released last year as a iPad app, in which form it attracted a wide, appreciative audience.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781579129125
Publisher:
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
10/09/2012
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
240,241
Product dimensions:
10.30(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author

Nick Mann is the photographer of The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe. Aside from having photographed more elements and compounds than probably anyone in the world, he is an accomplished landscape, sports, and event photographer. He lives in Urbana, Illinois.

Simon Winchester is the bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman, The Map that Changed the World, Krakatoa, A Crack in the Edge of the World and more than a dozen other books. His work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Smithsonian, National Geographic and elsewhere. Mr. Winchester was made Officer of the Order of British Empire (OBE) by HM The Queen in 2006. He lives in New York City and Massachusetts.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
New York; Massachusetts; Scotland
Date of Birth:
September 28, 1944
Place of Birth:
London, England
Education:
M.A., St. Catherine¿s College, Oxford, 1966
Website:
http://www.simonwinchester.com

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Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley's Curious Collection 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
AnnBKeller More than 1 year ago
In our bodies, the framework for muscles, tendons and ligaments is the skeleton, topped by a skull, a face as unique as each creature itself. Whether it be a reptile, primate, eel, catfish, frog, newt or penguin, the skull houses the central processing unit, the brain. This powers each animal, bird or snake. Teeth highlight the jaw and in some, a prominent brow ridge or horns crown the whole in magnificent glory. Alan Dudley was fascinated by skulls. At an early age, he found the body of a dead fox and brought it home to inspect it in greater detail. However, prepping the skull for collection proved to be a bit of a trial. Maggots, which feasted on the flesh of the carcass, were often a little overzealous, leading to damage of fine bone. The alternative was to soak each skull in water for a very, very long period of time, allowing the natural bacteria to run their course. This avenue proved to be extremely smelly, but very effective and at last, Dudley’s collection began to grow in earnest. Unfortunately, Dudley’s zeal for collecting led him to obtain the skulls of a few endangered species, which ultimately progressed to his arrest. Nevertheless, Dudley’s collection remains one of the most detailed accounts of fauna on the planet. Kudos to Nick Mann’s numerous photographs, too. These illustrate with brilliant clarity the extensive variations in each skull, often from multiple angles. This book is essential for zoologists and students of biology. It is also a stunning, unique gift and a perfect accent for your coffee table.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago