Saturday, November 13, 2010

Book Review: Tetrapod Zoology

Tetrapod Zoology
Dr. Darren Naish
CFZ Book,s 2010

Dr. Darren Naish, a British paleontologist, runs THE most fascinating blog on the Internet, Tetrapod Zoology. Naish is an expert on dinosaurs (having described a new British sauropod and written a book called The Great Dinosaur Discoveries) but his curiosity embraces everything: what happens when an animal dies while grasping a perch, what's so cool about the amphibians called slow-worms, and why the largest pterosaurs probably did not snap up prey while skimming the ocean and instead spent most of their time walking around like giant storks. There isn't space here to list even a fraction of the topics presented, but Naish's collection of zoology, cryptozoology, and paleontology never failed to hold my attention. He has strong opinions on matters of scientific controversy, and defends them vigorously. When it comes to cryptozoology, Naish is skeptical in the best sense of the word: he well aware there are important undiscovered animals out there, and he is is open-minded but insists on scientific standards of evidence. (Naish contributed important material on mystery whales to my book Shadows of Existence: Discoveries and Speculations in Zoology (Hancock, 2006.)
The lay reader of Tetrapod Zoology may occasionally stumble over a dense tangle of technical language, but won't be dissuaded: there's just too much information here to stop reading. If you are interested in the animal-related sciences, this is a unique collection you will have to own.

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