Monday, June 27, 2011
1) Castro, Jose I.. The Sharks of North America. 2011. Oxford University Press. Hardbound: 613 Pages. Price: $99.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Which species of sharks live within 500 nautical miles of North American shores, and what do we know about them? Jose I. Castro's The Sharks of North America is the first comprehensive book in sixty years to address these questions, and it does so with unrivaled authority and aesthetic detail.
The 135 comprehensive species accounts summarize the present knowledge. Each begins with the etymology of a species' common and scientific names, followed by the description, identifying characteristics, geographic range, biology, reproduction, location of nurseries, growth and longevity, and relation to humans. These accounts synthesize decades of research and first-hand examination of sharks collected in fisheries and research operations across the continent. They are thorough, current, and dispel many myths and misunderstandings found in the scientific and popular literature.
Each species is illustrated by one or more original profile figures in color, augmented by images of the snout, upper and lower teeth, and dermal denticles. The stunning color illustrations have been painted directly from freshly dead sharks or Castro's photographs of live or fresh specimens. Their anatomical accuracy and true-to-life coloration are unmatched. The detailed pen and ink drawings of the snout and teeth are crucial aids to species identification, as are the exquisite scanning electron microphotographs of dermal denticles.
The Sharks of North America will serve as the standard reference on sharks for the twenty-first century and is certain to become the primary source of information for anyone interested in sharks, from professional biologists and conservationists to students, informed laypersons, and fishermen. This book features comprehensive accounts of all the North American shark species and anatomically correct colored illustrations of every species.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with an interest in sharks!
2) Werdelin, Lars and William Joseph Sanders (editors). Cenozoic Mammals of Africa. 2010. University of California Press. Hardbound: 986 pages. Price: $95.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: This magnificent volume is a clear and comprehensive review of the African mammalian fossil record over the past 65 million years. Cenozoic Mammals of Africa includes current taxonomic and systematic revisions of all African mammal taxa, detailed compilations of fossil site occurrences, and a wealth of information regarding paleobiology, phylogeny, and biogeography. Primates, including hominins, are particularly well covered. The discussion addresses the systematics of endemic African mammals, factors relating to species richness, and a summary of isotopic information. The work also provides contextual information about Cenozoic African tectonics, chrono stratigraphy of sites, paleobotany, and global and regional climate change. Updating our understanding of this important material with the wealth of research from the past three decades, this volume is an essential resource for anyone interested in the evolutionary history of Africa and the diversification of its mammals.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have book for those with an interest in the fossil mammals of Africa!