"A palaeontological howdunnit[Spying on Whales] captures the excitement ofseeking answers to deep questions in cetacean science." —Nature
Called "the best of science writing" (Edward O. Wilson) and named a best book by Popular Science, a dive into the secret lives of whales, from their four-legged past to their perilous present.
Whales are among the largest, most intelligent, deepest diving species to have ever lived on our planet. They evolved from land-roaming, dog-sized creatures into animals that move like fish, breathe like us, can grow to 300,000 pounds, live 200 years and travel entire ocean basins. Whales fill us with terror, awe, and affection—yet there is still so much we don't know about them. Why did it take whales over 50 million years to evolve to such big sizes, and how do they eat enough to stay that big? How did their ancestors return from land to the sea—and what can their lives tell us about evolution as a whole? Importantly, in the sweepstakes of human-driven habitat and climate change, will whales survive?
Nick Pyenson's research has given us the answers to some of our biggest questions about whales. He takes us deep inside the Smithsonian's unparalleled fossil collections, to frigid Antarctic waters, and to the arid desert in Chile, where scientists race against time to document the largest fossil whale site ever found. Full of rich storytelling and scientific discovery, Spying on Whales spans the ancient past to an uncertain future—all to better understand the most enigmatic creatures on Earth.
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by Nick Westergaard
by Nick McDonell
by Wendell Berry
by Nick Arnold
by Nick Hornby
by Nick Bunker
by Nick Garlick
"Nick Pyenson, the Smithsonian's curator of fossil marine mammals, is fascinated by whales--not only the massive ones living in our oceans but also the smaller prehistoric land whales that once lived in what is now India. Pyenson's narration often bubbles with excitement. When he takes listeners on a tour of a whale bone vault, he finds delight in the waxy oil smell. His voice has a softer thoughtful side when he tells of modern chemicals' toxic effects on whale blubber. Pyenson's thrill at expeditions comes through, but he's educating listeners as well. He outlines the history of whales and explains their ecology and the matriarchal structure of their communities. Pyenson succeeds at his mission to bring listeners into the process of discovery. J.A.S. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"
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