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In this seminal study, Hans Kruuk redefines the image of the spotted hyena, not as a common scavenger, but as a complex matriarchal predator with links to human evolution. "The Spotted Hyena" is the first study to capture the true behavior and ecology of these formidable predators, who instinctively adapt their social structure to meet their ecological needs. Kruuk's research reveals for the first time that hyenas combine carnivorous habits with group territoriality, thus drawing parallels between their existence and that of wolves, lions, and arguably early humans. In addition to being lovable rogues, spotted hyenas are sophisticated hunters that live in complex communities of up to 80 animals. Covering more than broad facts about this species, Kruuk addresses the vital questions concerning hyena behavior such as why females are dominant, why lions scavenge from hyenas, why hyenas hunt zebra and wildebeest differently, and how their social behavior correlates with ecology. Since its original publication, "The Spotted Hyena" has transformed the common perception of the spotted hyena. With nearly 2,000 citations in scientific literature, "The Spotted Hyena" has become a classic work and trailblazer for linking changes in animal behavior with the environment, in addition to its concentration on a large carnivore that shares several characteristics with select primates. Although this is a science book, Kruuk skips the jargon and complicated theory, thus making its conclusions easily accessible to any student of natural history, African predators, or social behavior within animal communities. "The Spotted Hyena" features exciting field notes in addition to comprehensive graphs and tables that have made it an invaluable contribution to behavioral ecology and its methodology. Hans Kruuk studied hyenas while living in the wilderness of Africa's Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater for many years. After completing his doctorate with Nobel Prize winner Niko Tinbergen at the University of Oxford, Kruuk was asked by the former Tanganyika (now Tanzania) National Parks to study predation in the Serengeti. Kruuk focused on the most important carnivore there—the spotted hyena—and co-founded the Serengeti Research Institute in Tanzania to carry out his research. Many years later in 1997, he retired emeritus from his position as Senior Principal Research Officer at the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology in Banchory, Scotland. Kruuk has carried out research projects on mammals and birds on all continents, published seven books and over 120 scientific papers. Among his awards are scientific medals from the Zoological Society of London and British Mammal Society, and secondary Doctorate of Science from the University of Aberdeen where he is also Honorary Professor.
In this fascinating account of scientific study among forbidding wilderness, a husband-and-wife team describe their trek to the Kalahari to study the little-known brown hyena. The details of the scientific inquiry are provided while the daily challenges of living with children 420 kilometers from the nearest town are described. Despite the hardships, the couple becomes so enchanted by these intelligent animals that they stay for 12 years, documenting many hyena clans and observing behavior only a handful of people have ever seen.
Originally published in 1990, this text focuses on a comparison of the feeding ecology and social systems of the brown and spotted hyenas. Set in the semi-arid region of the Kalahari, the book examines roles and interactions of the two species in this finely balanced ecosystem and highlights the factors and mechanisms responsible for regulating the populations.
Biologists studying large carnivores in wild places usually do so from a distance, using telemetry and noninvasive methods of data collection. So what happens when an anthropologist studies a clan of spotted hyenas, Africa’s second-largest carnivores, up close—and in a city of a hundred thousand inhabitants? In Among the Bone Eaters, Marcus Baynes-Rock takes us to the ancient city of Harar in Ethiopia, where the gey waraba (hyenas of the city) are welcome in the streets and appreciated by the locals for the protection they provide from harmful spirits and dangerous “mountain” hyenas. They’ve even become a local tourist attraction. At the start of his research in Harar, Baynes-Rock contended with difficult conditions, stone-throwing children, intransigent bureaucracy, and wary hyena subjects intent on avoiding people. After months of frustration, three young hyenas drew him into the hidden world of the Sofi clan. He discovered the elements of a hyena’s life, from the delectability of dead livestock and the nuisance of dogs to the unbounded thrill of hyena chase-play under the light of a full moon. Baynes-Rock’s personal relations with the hyenas from the Sofi clan expand the conceptual boundaries of human-animal relations. This is multispecies ethnography that reveals its messy, intersubjective, dangerously transformative potential.
Hyenas are almost universally regarded as nasty, scheming charlatans that skulk in the back alleyways of the animal kingdom. They have been scorned for centuries as little more than scavenging carrion-eaters, vandals, and thieves. Here to restore the Hyena’s reputation is Mikita Brottman, who offers an alternate view of these mistreated and misunderstood creatures and proves that they are complex, intelligent, and highly sociable animals. Investigating representations of the hyena throughout history, Brottman divulges that the hyena, though shrouded in taboo, has been the source of talismanic objects since the ancient Greek and Roman empires. She discovers that many cultures use parts of the hyena—from excrement and blood to genitalia and hair—to make charms that both avert evil and promote fertility. Brottman also considers representations of hyenas in today’s popular fiction, including The Lion King and The Life of Pi,where they are often depicted as villains, cowardly henchmen, or clowns, while ignoring their more noble qualities. Rightly returning hyenas to their proper place in the animal pantheon, this richly illustrated book will be enjoyed by any animal lover with an interest in the unusual and offbeat.
This myth-busting new addition to the critically acclaimed Scientists in the Field series by Sibert medal winning team Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop is perfect for nonfiction readers looking for more female scientist narratives, or a fresh perspective on an underrepresented animal—Hyenas! Timely and inspiring, The Hyena Scientist sets the record straight about one of history’s most hated and misunderstood mammals, while featuring the groundbreaking, pioneering research of a female scientist in a predominately male field in this offering by Sibert-winning duo Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop. As a scientist studying one of the only mammalian societies led entirely by females, zoologist Kay Holecamp has made it her life’s work to understand hyenas, the fascinating, complex creatures that are playful, social, and highly intelligent—almost nothing like the mangy monsters of pop culture lore.

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