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Hans Thewissen, a leading researcher in the field of whale paleontology and anatomy, gives a sweeping first-person account of the discoveries that brought to light the early fossil record of whales. As evidenced in the record, whales evolved from herbivorous forest-dwelling ancestors that resembled tiny deer to carnivorous monsters stalking lakes and rivers and to serpentlike denizens of the coast. Thewissen reports on his discoveries in the wilds of India and Pakistan, weaving a narrative that reveals the day-to-day adventures of fossil collection, enriching it with local flavors from South Asian culture and society. The reader senses the excitement of the digs as well as the rigors faced by scientific researchers, for whom each new insight gives rise to even more questions, and for whom at times the logistics of just staying alive may trump all science. In his search for an understanding of how modern whales live their lives, Thewissen also journeys to Japan and Alaska to study whales and wild dolphins. He finds answers to his questions about fossils by studying the anatomy of otters and porpoises and examining whale embryos under the microscope. In the book's final chapter, Thewissen argues for approaching whale evolution with the most powerful tools we have and for combining all the fields of science in pursuit of knowledge.
In the cold waters of the unforgiving North Atlantic Ocean, some of the heartiest humans of medieval days ventured out in search of whales. As the desire for whales grew through the centuries, people on both sides of the North Atlantic became increasingly dependent on whale oil and other cetacean products. Eventually, whaling grew ever more sophisticated, evolving into fleets of skilled huntsmen and leading to the collapse of what was once a seemingly inexhaustible supply of large cetaceans. Central in this struggle for existence was one species, the North Atlantic right whale. David W. Laist, a major player in right whale conservation, now provides the first complete history of the North Atlantic right whale, from its earliest encounters with humans to its close brush with extinction to its present precarious, yet hopeful, status as a conservation icon. Favored by whalers because of its high yields of oil and superior quality baleen, these giants became known as "the right whale to hunt," and their numbers dwindled to a mere 100 individuals. Salvation of a sort came in the 1930s, when their dire status encouraged the adoption of a ban on hunting and a treaty that formed the International Whaling Commission. Recovery, however, has proven elusive. Ship-strikes and entanglement in commercial fishing gear have hampered herculean efforts to restore the stocks. Today, a total of about 500 right whales live along the US and Canadian Atlantic coasts—a great improvement from the early twentieth century, but a far cry from the thousands and thousands that once crisscrossed the oceans. Laist’s masterpiece is sprinkled with an incredible collection of photographs and artwork. The result is a single volume that offers a comprehensive understanding of North Atlantic right whales, the many cultures that hunted them, and the modern—sometimes frustrating—attempts to help them recover. This book is sure to appeal to readers interested in both whales and whaling.
Many books have been written on the Bible and evolution by scientists, but this volume is written by a biblical specialist. In Faith and Fossils Lester Grabbe, a prominent Hebrew Bible scholar, examines the Bible in its ancient context and explores its meaning in light of emerging scientific evidence. Both the Bible and the fossil record raise significant questions about what it means to be human, and Grabbe expertly draws on both sources to grapple with who we are and where we came from. Written in uncomplicated language and featuring eleven spectacular color plates, Grabbe’s Faith and Fossilscreatively shows how science and faith intersect in questions about human origins.
The eighty-nine cetacean species that swim our seas and rivers are as diverse as they are intelligent and elusive, from the hundred-foot-long, two-hundred-ton blue whale to the lesser-known tucuxi, ginkgo-toothed beaked whale, and diminutive, critically endangered vaquita. The huge distances these highly migratory creatures cover and the depths they dive mean we catch only the merest glimpses of their lives as they break the surface of the water. But thanks to the marriage of science and technology, we are now beginning to understand their anatomy, complex social structures, extraordinary communication abilities, and behavioral patterns. In this beautifully illustrated guide, renowned marine mammalogist Annalisa Berta draws on the contributions of a pod of fellow whale biologists to present the most comprehensive, authoritative overview ever published of these remarkable aquatic mammals. Opening with an accessible rundown of cetacean biology—including the most recent science on feeding, mating, and communication—Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises then presents species-specific natural history on a range of topics, from anatomy and diet to distribution and conservation status. Each entry also includes original drawings of the species and its key identifiers, such as fin shape and color, tooth shape, and characteristic markings as they would appear both above and below water—a feature unique to this book. Figures of myth and—as the debate over hunting rages on—figures of conflict since long before the days of Moby-Dick, whales, dolphins, and porpoises are also ecologically important and, in many cases, threatened. Written for general enthusiasts, emergent cetacean fans, and biologists alike, this stunning, urgently needed book will serve as the definitive guide for years to come.
ذلك المعلم الشاحب مهمل الرداء والقلب والجسد واللب أذكره كأنني أراه كان دائماً ينفض الغبار عن معجماته وأجرومياته القديمة بمنديل عجيب الطراز مزخرف علي نحو ساخر بكل الإعلام البهيجة التي ترمز إلي جميع الأمم المعروفة في العالم
يعد هذا الكتاب المنشور عام 1985م من أهم الكتب التي نقدت النظرية الداروينية نقدًا تفصيليًا معمقًا وشاملًا، إن لم يكن أهمها على الإطلاق. ورغم كثرة ما كتب في هذا المجال، يظل هذا الكتاب رغم قِدمه النسبي أصلًا لما جاء بعده، حيث قدم فيه أستاذ علوم الوراثة والكيمياء الحيوية (مايكل دنتون) واحدة من أروع كلاسيكيات نقد الداروينية. فبين شرحه لعدم كفاية الآليات التطورية -من انتخاب طبيعي وطفرات- لانتقال النوع إلى نوع آخر، وتعريجه على سجل الحفريات وكيف أنه يفشل دومًا في تصديق النبؤات الخيالية التي تدعي الداروينية صحتها، ووصوله إلى البيولوجيا الجزيئية، وكيف أنها أكثر المخاطر التي تتحدى التطور، يثبت دنتون بما لا يدع مجالا للشك، أن التطور نظرية في أزمة. دلالة عنوان الكتاب (التطور: نظرية في أزمة) على مضمونه، تدل على أن اختيار مايكل دنتون له كان موفّقًا ودقيقًا وقبل ذلك مُطابقًا ومُصدِّقًا لتأزم النظرية بالفعل، بالإضافة إلى امتلائها بالثغرات والتحكُّمات التي زادت بنيانها المعرفي وهنًا إلى وهن.
يعتبر كتاب (أيقونات التطور) من أهم الكتب التي تنتقد ما يُدرس لطلبة العلوم في الجامعات عن التطور، من أشياء هي أقرب للخرافة. وتدور الرسالة الأساسية للكتاب حول إبراز مقدرة خبراء العلم الطبيعي على توظيف العلم توظيفًا أيديولوجيًا قمعيًا إقصائيًا، متى أرادوا ذلك أو شعروا بالحاجة إليه. وكذلك قابلية العلم الطبيعي نفسه لأن يتحول من خلال نظرياته ومؤيديه إلى أساطير ذات أيقونات وسرديات ورموز وإشارات.

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