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The wonders of evolution

  • Jan 1, 2011
WINTER WORLD provides an overview of the amazing evolutionary adaptations in both physiology and behaviour that the members of the animal kingdom have made to ensure their survival through bitter northern winters. From the obvious means of hibernation by bears and chipmunks, through the use of torpidity and intense shivering to control body heat in the presence of low external temperatures, to the wood frog which under certain conditions can survive being frozen completely solid! How bizarre is that? Nature and the universe is truly stranger than we might ever mentally ponder even in our wildest fits of imaginative creativity.

Heinrich is that wonderful combination of first rate scientist, skilled outdoorsman and superb writer whose talent makes his science and his passion accessible to those of us less knowledgeable in the field. Heinrich's obvious delight in sharing his discoveries makes the reading of WINTER WORLD at once informative, charming and exciting.

Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss

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Paul Weiss ()
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   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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There cannot be many people who have gone into a beavers' lodge. Heinrich, professor of biology at the University of Vermont, did that in his quest to see how animals survive winter. It was a summer when the pond had dried up and the beavers were not in residence, but with a flashlight and room enough to turn around, Heinrich was able to conclude that the accommodation would be quite cozy for a beaver family in winter. Similarly trying to see for himself as much as possible, he describes the winter survival strategies of many animals. He marvels in particular at the success of the golden-crowned kinglet (Regulus satrapa), a bird "scarcely larger than a ruby-throated hummingbird" that remains active all through the winters of Maine and Alaska, its life "played out on the anvil of ice and under the hammer of deprivation." The kinglet, he says, symbolizes the "astounding and ingenious strategies that animals have evolved for coping in the winter world."

Editors of Scientific American --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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ISBN-10: 0061129070
Author: Bernd Heinrich
Genre: Science
Publisher: Harper Perennial

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