Mammal

In the songs and bubble feeding of humpback whales; in young killer whales learning to knock a seal from an ice floe in the same way their mother does; and in the use of sea sponges by the dolphins of Shark Bay, Australia, to protect their beaks while foraging for fish, we find clear examples of the transmission of information among cetaceans. Just as human cultures pass on languages and turns of phrase, tastes in food (and in how it is acquired), and modes of dress, could whales and dolphins have developed a culture of their very own?

Unequivocally: yes. In The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins, cetacean biologists Hal Whitehead, who has spent much of his life on the ocean trying to understand whales, and Luke Rendell, whose research focuses on the evolution of social learning, open an astounding porthole onto the fascinating culture beneath the waves. As Whitehead and Rendell show, cetacean culture and its transmission are shaped by a blend of adaptations, innate sociality, and the unique environment in which whales and dolphins live: a watery world in which a hundred-and-fifty-ton blue whale can move with utter grace, and where the vertical expanse is as vital, and almost as vast, as the horizontal.

Drawing on their own research as well as a scientific literature as immense as the sea—including evolutionary biology, animal behavior, ecology, anthropology, psychology, and neuroscience—Whitehead and Rendell dive into realms both humbling and enlightening as they seek to define what cetacean culture is, why it exists, and what it means for the future of whales and dolphins. And, ultimately, what it means for our future, as well.
The best-selling field guide that "sets new standards" (New Scientist) and "makes all other field guides for mammals of the United States. . . and Canada obsolete" (Journal of Mammalogy) is now even better. Covering 20 species recognized since 2002 and including 13 new color plates, this fully revised edition of Mammals of North America illustrates all 462 known mammal species in the United States and Canada--each in beautiful color and accurate detail. With a more up-to-date species list than any other guide, improved facing-page descriptions, easier-to-read distribution maps, updated common and scientific names, and track and scat illustrations, this slim, light, and easy-to-use volume is the must-have source for identifying North American mammals.

Roland Kays and Don Wilson have scoured the technical literature to pull out the key differences between similar species, and illustrated these whenever possible, making the guide useful to amateur naturalists and professional zoologists alike. Casual animal watchers will appreciate the overview of mammal diversity and the tips on identifying animals they can spy in their binoculars, while scientists will appreciate the exacting detail needed to distinguish similar species, including illustrations of shrew teeth, bat toes, and whale dorsal fins.

The best-illustrated and easiest-to-use field guide to North American mammals

Beautiful and accurate color illustrations of all 462 mammals found in the United States and Canada--including 20 species recognized since 2002

112 color plates--including 13 new ones

Key identification information--fully revised--on facing pages

The most current taxonomy/species list

Fully revised, easy-to-read range maps

Illustrations of tracks, scat, and whale and dolphin dive sequences
Wolves are some of the world's most charismatic and controversial animals, capturing the imaginations of their friends and foes alike. Highly intelligent and adaptable, they hunt and play together in close-knit packs, sometimes roaming over hundreds of square miles in search of food. Once teetering on the brink of extinction across much of the United States and Europe, wolves have made a tremendous comeback in recent years, thanks to legal protection, changing human attitudes, and efforts to reintroduce them to suitable habitats in North America.

As wolf populations have rebounded, scientific studies of them have also flourished. But there hasn't been a systematic, comprehensive overview of wolf biology since 1970. In Wolves, many of the world's leading wolf experts provide state-of-the-art coverage of just about everything you could want to know about these fascinating creatures. Individual chapters cover wolf social ecology, behavior, communication, feeding habits and hunting techniques, population dynamics, physiology and pathology, molecular genetics, evolution and taxonomy, interactions with nonhuman animals such as bears and coyotes, reintroduction, interactions with humans, and conservation and recovery efforts. The book discusses both gray and red wolves in detail and includes information about wolves around the world, from the United States and Canada to Italy, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Israel, India, and Mongolia. Wolves is also extensively illustrated with black and white photos, line drawings, maps, and fifty color plates.

Unrivalled in scope and comprehensiveness, Wolves will become the definitive resource on these extraordinary animals for scientists and amateurs alike.

“An excellent compilation of current knowledge, with contributions from all the main players in wolf research. . . . It is designed for a wide readership, and certainly the language and style will appeal to both scientists and lucophiles alike. . . . This is an excellent summary of current knowledge and will remain the standard reference work for a long time to come.”—Stephen Harris, New Scientist

“This is the place to find almost any fact you want about wolves.”—Stephen Mills, BBC Wildlife Magazine


An invaluable reference and exceptionally usable guide to the mammals of India Covering the rich diversity of mammal species in India, from tigers, elephants, rhinos and whales to primates, rodents and bats, Indian Mammals is a comprehensive, field-ready and illustrated guide. Accompanied by superb full-colour photographs, supplementary illustrations and distribution maps, and based on impeccable scientific research reviewed by experts, Indian Mammals records details of virtually every mammal known to exist in India. The in-depth, up-to-date text by Vivek Menon, one of India's leading naturalists and an authority on Indian wildlife, describes key identification features, biometrics, behaviour, social strategies, habitat and distribution. Encyclopaedic in sweep yet accessible in approach, Indian Mammals includes the majestic and most sought after as well as the extraordinary and elusive mammals. Passionate wildlife watchers will appreciate the range of coverage and tips on identifying mammals, while naturalists will value the exacting detail needed to distinguish similar species in the field. Planned for easy reference, this compact guide is the essential resource for wildlifers of any age, from animal watchers and eco-tourists to active conservationists. ? More than 400 species of both land and water mammals with introductory pages on each order ? Over 1,000 carefully curated photographs ? Nearly 150 distribution maps ? Colour tabs for sections to facilitate ease of use ? The full index doubles up as a life-list ? Field notes reveal uncommon on-site experiences
“A palaeontological howdunnit…[Spying on Whales] captures the excitement of…seeking 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.
Bats are fascinating mammals about which we still have much to learn. As well as using ultrasonic echolocation calls for orientation and while foraging, they also have a complex array of vocalisations for communication. These are known as social calls and are an essential component of their colonial lifestyle.

This book brings together the current state of knowledge of social calls relating to the bat species occurring within Britain and Ireland, with some additional examples from species represented elsewhere in Europe. It includes access to a downloadable library of calls to be used in conjunction with the book.

Downloadable call library

Social calls are complex and intriguing to listen to; they are after all produced with listeners in mind (other bats). To enjoy and fully appreciate social calls the reader must also have the opportunity to become a listener: each of the presented sonograms in the book is cross-referenced to downloadable ‘time expanded’ .wav sound files which are contained within a much wider library of calls for you to explore.

Included in Social Calls of the Bats of Britain and Ireland

The authors start with an overview of the species of bats in Britain and Ireland (Chapter 1), and then introduce us to communication within the social world of bats (Chapter 2). Referencing the latest research, the authors explore how these calls can be classified according to their structure, and in many cases the context in which the calls are thought to be emitted (Chapter 3). Chapter 4 addresses aspects of survey methodology to be considered by those studying social calls. This leads on to the analysis of calls (Chapter 5), detailing the specific methods used and parameters commonly measured by researchers.

The final, and main chapter (Chapter 6) introduces the 23 species covered in the book giving each a detailed profile including: habitat preferences, typical roosting locations, roost emergence times, mating strategies and maternity behaviour. Each species profile includes what is known about the social calls for that species and this text is supported by colour sonograms (created using Pettersson BatSound V4.1) of most of the calls discussed. Each sonogram is linked to a .wav sound file (Time Expansion x10) within the downloadable library. The sound files allow the reader to hear, as well as see, the calls produced using any bat sound analysis software that supports the .wav format.

The authors conclude with a bibliography and an extensive list of references directly cross-referenced throughout the book.

A comprehensive photographic field guide to the mammals of Britain and Ireland

Britain's Mammals is a comprehensive and beautifully designed photographic field guide to all the mammals recorded in the wild in Britain and Ireland in recent times—including marine mammals, bats and introduced species that have bred. The book features hundreds of stunning photographs and incorporates invaluable tips and suggestions to help you track down and identify even the most difficult species.


This easy-to-use book provides an introduction to the different types of mammal. Concise species accounts focus on identification and include up-to-date information on sounds, habitat, food, habits, breeding behaviour and population and status, as well as descriptions of key field signs—including tracks, droppings and nests—that give away the presence of mammals even when they are out of sight. In addition, guidance is provided on ways of studying and observing mammals—including small-mammal trapping, bat detecting and whale watching—as well as mammal conservation, legislation and further sources of useful information. Handy and informative, this guide is the ideal companion for anyone interested in watching mammals in Britain and Ireland.


Comprehensive coverage of every mammal recorded in Britain and Ireland
500 superb colour photographs carefully selected to show key identification features
Up-to-date distribution maps
Detailed illustrations of tracks, dentition and other identification features
Helpful tips for identifying tracks and other signs you may find in the field
Latest information on status, population, distribution and conservation designations
Advice on finding and watching mammals
With coverage on all the marine mammals of the world, authors Jefferson, Webber, and Pitman have created a user-friendly guide to identify marine mammals alive in nature (at sea or on the beach), dead specimens “in hand , and also to identify marine mammals based on features of the skull. This handy guide provides marine biologists and interested lay people with detailed descriptions of diagnostic features, illustrations of external appearance, beautiful photographs, dichotomous keys, and more. Full color illustrations and vivid photographs of every living marine mammal species are incorporated, as well as comprehendible maps showing a range of information. For readers who desire further consultation, authors have included a list of literature references at the end of each species account. For an enhanced understanding of habitation, this guide also includes recognizable geographic forms described separately with colorful paintings and photographs. All of these essential tools provided make Marine Mammals of the World the most detailed and authoritative guide available!

* Contains superb photographs of every species of marine mammal for accurate identification
* Authors’ collective experience adds up to 80 years, and have seen nearly all of the species and distinctive geographic forms described in the guide
* Provides the most detailed and anatomically accurate illustrations currently available
* Special emphasis is placed on the identification of species in “problem groups, such as the beaked whales, long-beaked oceanic dolphin, and southern fur seals
* Includes a detailed list of sources for more information at the back of the book.
Reflecting the expertise and perspective of five leading mammalogists, the fourth edition of Mammalogy: Adaptation, Diversity, Ecology significantly updates taxonomy, includes a new chapter on mammalian molecular phylogenetics, and highlights several recently described species.

There are close to 5,500 species in the class Mammalia, including the blue whale—the largest animal that has ever lived—and the pygmy shrew, which weighs little more than a penny. The functional diversity of mammals has allowed them to play critical roles in every ecosystem, whether marine, freshwater, alpine, tundra, forest, or desert.

Many mammal species are critically endangered and present complex conservation and management challenges. This book touches on those challenges, which are often precipitated by overharvesting and habitat loss, as well as emerging threats, such as the impact of wind turbines and white nose syndrome on bats and chronic wasting disease on deer.

Among the updates and additions to the fourth edition of Mammalogy are numerous new photos, figures, and cladograms, over 4,200 references, as well as

• A completely new chapter on mammalian phylogeny and genomics
• Current taxonomy—including major changes to orders, suborders, and superfamilies of bats and rodents
• An explanation of the recent inclusion of whales with terrestrial even-toed ungulates
• Updates on mammalian structural, functional adaptations, and fossil history
• recent advances in our understanding of phylogeny, biogeography, social behavior, and ecology
• A discussion of two new orders and thirteen newly recognized extant families
• Reflections on the implications of climate change for mammals
• Thorough examinations of several recently described species, including Durrell’s vontsira (Salanoia durrelli) and the Laotian rock rat (Laonastes aenigmamus)
• An explanation of mammalian biomechanics, such as that seen in lunge feeding of baleen whales
• Breakout boxes on unique aspects of mammals, including the syntax of bat songs, singing mice, and why there are no green mammals (unless we count algae-covered sloths)

Maintaining the accessible, readable style for which Feldhamer and his coauthors are well known, this new edition of Mammalogy is the authoritative textbook on this amazingly diverse class of vertebrates.

Packing an off-kilter sense of humor and keen scientific minds, authors Margaret Mittelbach and Michael Crewdson take off with renowned artist Alexis Rockman on a postmodern safari. Their mission? Tracking down the elusive Tasmanian tiger. This mysterious, striped predator was once the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial. It had a pouch like a kangaroo and a jaw that opened impossibly wide to reveal terrifying choppers. Tragically, this rare and powerful animal was hunted into extinction in the early part of the twentieth century. Or was it?

Journeying first to the Australian mainland and then south to the wild island of Tasmania, these young naturalists brave a series of bizarre misadventures and uproarious wildlife encounters in their obsessive search for the long-lost beast.

From an ancient cave featuring an aboriginal painting of the tiger to a lab in Sydney where maverick scientists are trying to resurrect the animal through cloning, this intrepid trio comes face-to-face with blood-sucking land leeches and venomous bull ants, a misbehaving wallaby who invades their motel room, and a crew of flesh-eating, bone-crunching Tasmanian devils gorging on roadkill.

They bond with trappers, bushwackers, and wildlife experts who refuse to abandon the tiger hunt, despite the paucity of evidence. Sifting through local myths, bar-room banter, and historical accounts, these environmental detectives sweep readers into a world where platypus’ swim, kangaroos roam, and a large predator with a pouch was–or perhaps still is–queen of the jungle.

Filled with Alexis Rockman’s stunning drawings of flora and fauna–-made from soil, wombat scat, and the artist’s own blood–Carnivorous Nights is a hip and hilarious account of an unhinged safari, as well as a fascinating portrayal of a wildly unique part of the world.
The world's gliding mammals are an extraordinary group of animals that have the ability to glide from tree to tree with seemingly effortless grace. There are more than 60 species of gliding mammals including the flying squirrels from Asia, Europe and North America, the scaly-tailed flying squirrels from central Africa and the gliding possums of Australia and New Guinea. But the most spectacular of all are the colugos – or so called flying lemurs – that occur throughout South-East Asia and the Philippines. Animals that glide from tree to tree descend at an angle of less than 45 degrees to the horizontal, while those that parachute descend at an angle greater than 45 degrees. Gliding is achieved by deflecting air flowing past well-developed gliding membranes, or patagia, which form an effective airfoil that allows the animal to travel the greatest possible horizontal distance with the least loss in height. The flying squirrels and scaly-tailed flying squirrels even have special cartilaginous spurs that extend either from the wrist or elbow, respectively, to help support the gliding membrane. Gliding Mammals of the World provides, for the first time, a synthesis of all that is known about the biology of these intriguing mammals. It includes a brief description of each species, together with a distribution map and a beautiful full-colour painting. An introduction outlines the origins and biogeography of each group of gliding mammals and examines the incredible adaptations that allow them to launch themselves and glide from tree to tree.
Interest in the conservation and welfare of Australian native wildlife continues to grow. Veterinarians are frequently presented with injured, diseased or orphaned animals and there is increasing veterinary involvement in conservation programs. In Australia and overseas, Australian mammals are used in research, kept as pets and are popular display and education animals in zoos and fauna parks. The recognition, diagnosis and treatment of injury and disease in wildlife species present unique challenges for the veterinarian. Radiology is a fundamental diagnostic tool that can be used to further define the nature and extent of injury or disease, guide therapeutic decisions and determine prognosis. An essential aspect of radiology is the recognition and description of abnormal findings. In order to recognise abnormalities, knowledge of normal radioanatomy is necessary. Radiology of Australian Mammals provides a detailed reference on the normal radioanatomy of Australian mammals. A chapter on radiographic technique covers digital radiography of small species, and restraint and positioning to obtain diagnostic images. This is followed by chapters covering the normal radioanatomy of the short-beaked echidna, platypus, macropods, koala, wombats, dasyurids, possums and gliders, bandicoots and the bilby, and bats. Each chapter includes a detailed description of anatomy relevant to radiography and multiple images of normal radiographs with outlines and annotations identifying relevant structures. A chapter on dental radiology discusses and demonstrates normal dental radioanatomy. The final chapter includes selected radiographic pathology case studies providing an appreciation of radiographic findings seen in some common diseases of Australian mammals. A checklist of the mammals of Australia and its territories and a glossary of abbreviations and terms used for annotation of images complete the volume.
As explorers and scientists have known for decades, the Neotropics harbor a fantastic array of our planet’s mammalian diversity, from capybaras and capuchins to maned wolves and mouse opossums to sloths and sakis. This biological bounty can be attributed partly to the striking diversity of Neotropical landscapes and climates and partly to a series of continental connections that permitted intermittent faunal exchanges with Africa, Antarctica, Australia, and North America. Thus, to comprehend the development of modern Neotropical mammal faunas requires not only mastery of the Neotropics’ substantial diversity, but also knowledge of mammalian lineages and landscapes dating back to the Mesozoic.

Bones, Clones, and Biomes offers just that—an exploration of the development and relationships of the modern mammal fauna through a series of studies that encompass the last 100 million years and both Central and South America. This work serves as a complement to more taxonomically driven works, providing for readers the long geologic and biogeographic contexts that undergird the abundance and diversity of Neotropical mammals. Rather than documenting diversity or distribution, this collection traverses the patterns that the distributions and relationships across mammal species convey, bringing together for the first time geology, paleobiology, systematics, mammalogy, and biogeography. Of critical importance is the book’s utility for current conservation and management programs, part of a rapidly rising conservation paleobiology initiative.
To the people of rural Britain, hares are deeply beloved, perhaps above all other animals. They thrive in abundance in imagery but can be maddeningly elusive in reality. In our stories – ancient and modern – they are magical, uncanny and illogical beings which commune with the moon, vanish at will, and lose their minds when spring arrives. Yet despite the breadth and depth of its legends, the brown hare of the lowlands is a relative newcomer to our islands, and our 'real' ancient hare is the mountain hare of the most unforgiving high mountainsides.
Hares of myth have godly powers, but real, earthbound hares walk a dangerous line – they are small animals with many predators but have no burrow or tunnel to shelter them from danger. They survive by a combination of two skills honed to unimaginable extremes – hiding in plain sight, and running faster than anything and anyone. The need to excel as hiders and runners ultimately directs every aspect of hare biology and behaviour, as well as inspiring our own wild ideas about hare-kind.
This book explores hares as they are and as we imagine them, and the long and often bloody history of our association with these enigmatic animals. Elegant studies of molecular biology and biomechanical physics help us understand how hares are put together, while centuries of game estate records reveal how humans have commodified and exploited them. But it is ultimately the moments spent in the company of wild hares that allow us to bring together myth and reality to celebrate the magic of the living animal.
From the ancient Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet, to the prophet Muhammad’s favorite cat, Muezza, and our contemporary obsession with online cat videos, felines have long held a place of honor in their human counterparts’ homes and cultures. But the domestic cat is just one of many feline species, and in The Wild Cat Book cat experts Fiona and Mel Sunquist introduce us to the full panoply of the purring, roaring feline tribe.

Illustrated throughout with Terry Whittaker’s spectacular color photographs as well as unique photos from biologists in the field—some the highest quality images ever captured of exceptionally rare species—The Wild Cat Book not only tantalizes with the beauty of cats, but also serves as a valuable and accessible reference on cat behavior and conservation. Comprehensive entries for each of the thirty-seven cat species include color distribution maps and up-to-date information related to the species’ IUCN conservation and management statuses, while informative sidebars reveal why male lions have manes (and why dark manes are sexiest), how cats see with their whiskers, the truth behind our obsession with white lions and tigers, and why cats can’t be vegetarians. The Wild Cat Book also highlights the grave threats faced by the world’s wild cats—from habitat destruction to human persecution.

From the extraordinary acrobatics of the arboreal margay—able to cling to a tree branch by a single paw thanks to its unusually flexible ankles—to modern declines in African lion populations, The Wild Cat Book is an instructive and revealing ode to felines of every size and color. Combining science, behavioral observations, and stunning photography, this book will captivate cat fanciers the world over.
“At times sad and at times heartwarming . . . Helps us to understand not only elephants, but all animals, including ourselves” (Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation).
 
Drawing on accounts from India to Africa and California to Tennessee, and on research in neuroscience, psychology, and animal behavior, G. A. Bradshaw explores the minds, emotions, and lives of elephants. Wars, starvation, mass culls, poaching, and habitat loss have reduced elephant numbers from more than ten million to a few hundred thousand, leaving orphans bereft of the elders who would normally mentor them. As a consequence, traumatized elephants have become aggressive against people, other animals, and even one another; their behavior is comparable to that of humans who have experienced genocide, other types of violence, and social collapse. By exploring the elephant mind and experience in the wild and in captivity, Bradshaw bears witness to the breakdown of ancient elephant cultures.
 
But, she reminds us, all is not lost. People are working to save elephants by rescuing orphaned infants and rehabilitating adult zoo and circus elephants, using the same principles psychologists apply in treating humans who have survived trauma. Bradshaw urges us to support these and other models of elephant recovery and to solve pressing social and environmental crises affecting all animals—humans included.
 
“This book opens the door into the soul of the elephant. It will really make you think about our relationship with other animals.” —Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation
For the first time, a riveting insider's account of the fascinating world of Dr. Dian Fossey’s mountain gorilla camp, telling the often-shocking story of the unraveling of Fossey’s Rwandan facility alongside adventures tracking mountain gorillas over hostile terrain, confronting aggressive silverbacks, and rehabilitating orphaned baby gorillas. In A Forest in the Clouds, John Fowler takes us into the world of Karisoke Research Center, the remote mountain gorilla camp of Dr. Dian Fossey, a few years prior to her gruesome murder. Drawn to the adventure and promise of learning the science of studying mountain gorillas amid the beauty of Central Africa’s cloud forest, Fowler soon learns the cold harsh realities of life inside Fossey’s enclave ten thousand feet up in the Virunga Volcanoes.

Instead of the intrepid scientist he had admired in the pages of National Geographic, Fowler finds a chain-smoking, hard-drinking woman bullying her staff into submission. While pressures mount from powers beyond Karisoke in an effort to extricate Fossey from her domain of thirteen years, she brings new students in to serve her most pressing need—to hang on to the remote research camp that has become her mountain home. Increasingly bizarre behavior has targeted Fossey for extrication by an ever-growing group of detractors—from conservation and research organizations to the Rwandan government.

Amid the turmoil, Fowler must abandon his own research assignments to assuage the troubled Fossey as she orders him on illegal treks across the border into Zaire, over volcanoes, in search of missing gorillas, and to serve as surrogate parent to an orphaned baby ape in preparation for its traumatic re-introduction into a wild gorilla group.

This riveting story is the only first-person account from inside Dian Fossey’s beleaguered camp. Fowler must come to grips with his own aspirations, career objectives, and disappointments as he develops the physical endurance to keep up with mountain gorillas over volcanic terrain in icy downpours above ten thousand feet, only to be affronted by the frightening charges of indignant giant silverbacks or to be treed by aggressive forest buffalos. Back in camp, he must nurture the sensitivity and patience needed for the demands of rehabilitating an orphaned baby gorilla.

A Forest in the Clouds takes the armchair adventurer on a journey into an extraordinary world that now only exists in the memories of the very few who knew it.
Meet Greg. He’s a stocky guy with an outsized swagger. He’s been the intimidating yet sociable don of his posse of friends—including Abe, Keith, Mike, Kevin, Torn Trunk, and Willie. But one arid summer the tide begins to shift and the third-ranking Kevin starts to get ambitious, seeking a higher position within this social club. But this is no ordinary tale of gangland betrayal—Greg and his entourage are bull elephants in Etosha National Park, Namibia, where, for the last twenty-three years, Caitlin O’Connell has been a keen observer of their complicated friendships.

In Elephant Don, O’Connell, one of the leading experts on elephant communication and social behavior, offers a rare inside look at the social world of African male elephants. Elephant Don tracks Greg and his group of bulls as O’Connell tries to understand the vicissitudes of male friendship, power struggles, and play. A frequently heart-wrenching portrayal of commitment, loyalty, and affection between individuals yearning for companionship, it vividly captures an incredible repertoire of elephant behavior and communication. Greg, O’Connell shows, is sometimes a tyrant and other times a benevolent dictator as he attempts to hold onto his position at the top. Though Elephant Don is Greg’s story, it is also the story of O’Connell and the challenges and triumphs of field research in environs more hospitable to lions and snakes than scientists.

Readers will be drawn into dramatic tales of an elephant society at once exotic and surprisingly familiar, as O’Connell’s decades of close research reveal extraordinary discoveries about a male society not wholly unlike our own. Surely we’ve all known a Greg or two, and through this book we may come to know them in a whole new light.
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