Book Review – Haeckel’s Embryos: Images, Evolution, and Fraud

Haeckel's EmbryosHaeckel’s Embryos: Images, Evolution, and Fraud

Written by Nick Hopwood

Published in hardback in June 2015 by Chicago University Press

Readers of our newsletter may remember Haeckel’s Embryos as my pick of 2015. A more in-depth review therefore seems in order.

The German naturalist Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) is a figure I initially mostly knew from his beautiful Art Nouveau style drawings of animals and sea creatures, published as Kunstformen der Natur between 1899 and 1904. These perennially popular images have found their way into art books, an as yet unpublished pop-up book, and have of course not escaped the current colouring book craze.

Far more influential, however, are Haeckel’s contributions to the field of embryology and the now (in)famous images of grids showing embryos of humans and other backboned animals looking almost identical when just forming, and diverging in form during development. These images have become iconic, classics of textbooks right up to our current day, but are also some of the most fought-over images in the history of science, being the subject of three separate controversies, each one bigger still than the last one.

Haeckel’s Embryos is a study of how images of knowledge succeed and become the stuff of legends, or fail and fall by the wayside as forgotten side notes in history. Hopwood gives an incredibly detailed account of both the formation and the afterlife of Haeckel’s embryo drawings, and the accusations of fraud leveled at him. And you get a lot of book for your money, with 17 chapters running just over 300 pages and another 80 pages of notes and references. Measuring some 22 × 28 cm this is a large-format study that is richly illustrated (as befits a book of this type) with a large number of historical illustrations that have never appeared outside of their original context, a great many of which were dug out of the archives of the Ernst-Haeckel-Haus in Jena, Germany.

Haeckel's Embryos page 39
An example of embryological drawings circulating at the time

The book proceeds roughly chronologically, with the first three chapters setting the stage by reviewing the academic milieu into which Haeckel stepped, and the kinds of embryological drawings already circulating at the time. In chapter 5, then, Hopwood starts the investigation proper. He carefully reconstructs the making of the figures which were first published 1868 in Haeckel’s book Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, and looks at each step from planning and drawing through to printing and publishing, mining Haeckel’s archives for both original drawings and correspondence with his publisher. This book went through eleven editions over more than forty years (1868-1909) and it is interesting to see how the famous grid developed gradually from initial pairs of drawings of two stages of dog, human, chick, and turtle embryos. The first “recognisable” grid (i.e. still circulating today ) didn’t emerge until inclusion in Haeckel’s more embryo-focused book Anthropogenie in 1874, which went through six editions until 1910.

Haeckel's Embryos page 164
Haeckel’s embryo grid during its development

His work immediately came in for criticism from fellow scientists, starting mid-1869 with the Swiss zoologist Ludwig Rütimeyer. Though no outright accusations of fraud and forgery were made, one of Rütimeyer’s concerns was Haeckel playing fast and loose with the public and with science by reusing the same woodcut illustration to represent early-stage pictures of dog, chicken and turtle. This was quickly rectified in the next edition, though Haeckel was slow to admit to his mistake. This barely caused a ripple on the pond, and Hopwood does a good job of making you realise why: this was an era in which discussions between scientists took place in either private correspondence, or in publications in obscure specialist literature, here the Archiv für Anthropologie, that was only circulated locally and will not have been read by more than a few hundreds of people. No, the first proper controversy did not take place until 1875, and saw Haeckel pitted against the Swiss anatomist Wilhelm His. One of the things they disagreed on was the similarity (Haeckel) or difference (His) of early embryos.

What is shocking is how Haeckel responded to this. I have never really had a good idea of the man’s character, and solely based on his beautiful artwork for Kunstformen der Natur have always thought of him benignly. Hopwood’s history reveals a rather different side to the man; he fashioned himself as a daring pioneer, here to enlighten the ignorant public (so much for humility), and his polemic responses to opponents bristle with arrogance, provocation and ad hominem attacks. He also refused to acknowledge mistakes, and countered charges of forgery – remarkably it was Haeckel himself who introduced this word in the discussion – as necessary deductions to fill in gaps, and as a logical consequence of presenting schematic figures. Although this soiled his reputation, the lack of a hostile consensus allowed Haeckel to draw ever more ambitious grids including more species. And the continued popularity of his work meant that the sheer number of books and later pamphlets in circulation made his pictures the most widely known and accessible in this era of print. It did spur his colleagues to set higher and higher standards for vertebrate embryology and push the field as a whole forward.

The next couple of chapters explore the 1870s to 1900s, discussing the expansion of Haeckel’s grids, how non-scientists encountered his work, how his work was reproduced and copied, and how critics kept the issue of forgery alive by repeating the allegations. These chapters make for especially revealing reading. Although Haeckel’s drawings were more available in Germany, the critics were also more numerous here, so copying was more extensive in Britain and the US. This also largely had to do with the available techniques for image reproduction at the time, which were both cumbersome and costly. And it was not until 1892 that George John Romanes reproduced the entire grid in his book Darwin and After Darwin. This reproduction also graces the dustjacket of Haeckel’s Embryos and to this day is the most reproduced and recognisable figure in Anglophone textbooks. But most copying was creative, with authors borrowing a few figures, deleting columns, adding rows, changing drawings, etc.

Haeckel's Embryos page 215
Romanes’s version of the grid

The second big controversy erupted around 1908-1910, when private scholar Arnold Brass became a spokesman for the freshly formed Kepler League, a club formed in response to a large public lecture that Haeckel gave. Following a lecture by Brass in which he attacked Haeckel, Haeckel returned the attack in a magazine, in response to which Brass privately published a slanderous pamphlet. The ensuing backing and forthing played out not in difficult books and serious periodicals, but in widely read newspapers. Brass’s pamphlet was so radical that it embarrassed even his own Kepler League. And it back-fired when morphologists recruited a large number of professors and museum directors to sign a declaration (“the declaration of the forty-six”), which, while not justifying Haeckel’s actions where his drawings were concerned, could see no motive for fraud. At the same time the declaration condemned Brass and the Kepler League for slandering such a respected biologist. This largely ended this controversy, partially in Haeckel’s favour. In his late life in Germany Haeckel was defended, forgiven, or reviled, depending on people’s political and religious inclinations. But the scientific community at large was more than happy to let bygones be bygones.

In the English-speaking world, in the meantime, too few of the exact allegations regarding his images were known in-depth, which meant the images still had a lease of life. And chapter 16 is a very interesting chapter telling the story of how the grid images survived into modern textbooks. Although faux-pas in postwar Germany, and only occasionally adopted in British schools, they were a relative staple in American textbooks. A combination of the higher profile of evolution as a subject in the American system in the early 20th century, and little knowledge of the forgery charges, meant the pictures could survive there. The rising and falling tides of anti-evolutionist sentiment did mean they were often modified and redacted, leaving out the human embryos. This further ensured their survival as it made them less radical. Another factor of influence was the inner workings of the textbook industry, where busy authors tended to copy each other or themselves rather than spend time to go back to the sources. Later on, the shift from authors to production teams meant that authors critical of Haeckel had less influence. In a further ironic twist, the Romanes drawing of Haeckel’s grid was often used while at the same time criticizing Haeckel in the accompanying body of the text. Interestingly, embryology textbooks long excluded the drawings, as their focus was not on evolution at the time. Experimental embryology as a field languished for decades until the 1960s when the field was reframed as developmental biology, although it took until the mid-1980s for Haeckel’s figures to be introduced to this discipline. By that time a new generation was only vaguely, or not at all, aware anymore of the accusations leveled at Haeckel. This knowledge was by now mostly limited to historians of biology, and even then many Anglophone historians were unaware. The few that weren’t did not realize how much the pictures were still in use (Hopwood counts himself among this group). This nicely undercuts the assumption that images and theories are linked so closely together that they live and die in unison. And this sets the stage for the third and final controversy surrounding these images.

Haeckel's Embryos page 283
An example of the embryo drawings surviving into contemporary books

The final two chapters detail the third and (for the moment) final controversy, which was set in motion by Michael Richardson (incidentally a lecturer of mine when I was studying at Leiden University in the 2000s). In several low-profile publications he criticized Haeckel’s drawings and, after comparing a wide range of vertebrate embryos, he concluded that “there is no highly conserved embryonic stage in the vertebrates”. To really get the spotlight on his findings however, he lured the press with a charge of forgery which was picked up by the Times, followed by Science and New Scientist. From here on outwards the story exploded and was rapidly exploited by creationists and the burgeoning Intelligent Design movement who threw around wild claims that “a primary pillar of evolution had finally been revealed as fraudulent” and, gasp, evolution was truly “a theory in crisis”. Richardson, embarrassed by the misappropriation of his publications and the misinformation that was being spread, started back-pedalling, and came under critique from colleagues in the field. He could have seen this one coming after all. But many came to his defense and even Stephen Jay Gould weighed in with a column in Natural History magazine, separating Richardsons’s “good science” from “careless reporting” and “media hype”. Richardson publisher a further long review, finding only “some evidence of doctoring”. Evo-devo aficionados debated the issue among themselves for a few more years, and the general consensus to come out of that was that on a fundamental level Haeckel was right, but he had taken artistic license in schematising his drawings. This was too late to affect mainstream perception though, and creationists, headed by the conservative think-tank The Discovery Institute, kept on adding fuel to the fire with books, public TV debates and, with the rise of the internet, websites and blogs. Ironically, recent research in developmental biology showed that embryological similarity between species at early stages isn’t just limited to morphology, but extends to gene expression patterns. In spite of this, Intelligent Design proponents have kept the focus on the most problematic images. Hopwood likens them to the iconoclasts of the Protestant Reformation, showing off beheaded statues as emblems of defeat. It is not in their best interest to remove all traces of these images, but rather to constantly exhibit them to vilify and condemn evolutionary theory and further their own agenda. Throughout all this circus the images were of course reproduced, copied and spread further and wider than ever before.

When I read about this book, I was hoping it would answer the question “Given what we now know about embryology, how do Haeckel’s images compare? What details did he change that gave rise to all these controversies?”. Seeing that this book claims to be a definitive history, and in pretty much all other respects is, I would have liked to see a concluding chapter laying out our current state of biological knowledge and see the old images compared to what we know now. Hopwood does reproduce some of the comparative images that Richardson published in his articles, but if you really want to get to the bottom of those questions, you will have to take a look there. This is understandable though: Hopwood is a historian, so the book focuses foremost on the history of these images, not so much on the biology behind it. And when he describes the third controversy he does mention the current consensus (Haeckel embellished but fundamentally makes a valid point) and the various opinions that now circulate. But a separate chapter laying out and summarizing just the biological facts then and now would for me have really completed the work, even at the risk of repeating what is already present diffusely throughout the book.

A lot more things are covered than I have mentioned here, and particular attention is paid to the religious and political milieu in Germany at the turn of the 19th century in which the first two controversies took place. A lot of this will be unfamiliar territory for today’s readers (it certainly was for me), and the book might have benefited from some side boxes introducing certain historical periods or schools of thought.

Those criticisms aside, in my opinion Hopwood offers readers an incredibly thorough and objective account of the complete 140+ year history of these controversial images. And I expect Haeckel’s Embryos will rapidly become the go-to work for both biologists and historians to understand their full, rich, and complex history.

Haeckel’s Embryos is available to order from NHBS.

The Cambrian Explosion: an interview with paleobiologist and author Douglas H. Erwin

The Cambrian Explosion jacket imageThe Cambrian Explosion: The Construction of Animal Biodiversity synthesises latest research about this massively siginificant moment in evolutionary history. Author Douglas H. Erwin introduces himself, the subject and some of the life forms that emerged.

Could you please provide a brief evolutionary history of Douglas Erwin as a paleobiologist.

I expected to be a biologist when I was in high school (or a doctor). But when I arrived at Colgate University as an undergraduate I discovered that geology was much more fun than biology (no pre-med students, for one thing). My teacher and mentor, Bob Linsley, was a fantastic teacher – Steve Gould used to claim that he was the best undergraduate paleo teacher in the US. Bob got me hooked on paleo, on evolution, and on Paleozoic snails (my systematic speciality, and Bob’s). Then I was off to UC Santa Barbara to study with Jim Valentine for my Ph.D. Although my Ph.D was on Permian snails from the SW US and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction, I was quite interested then in the Cambrian explosion, and Jim and I wrote several papers on it. I have been at the National Museum of Natural History since 1990, working on aspects of Paleozoic gastropods, the causes and consequences of end-Permian mass extinction and on aspects of macroevolution, particularly the Cambrian. I have been fortunate to have been able to visit many of the critical Ediacaran and Cambrian localities, and to have had wonderful colleagues on associated projects, including a bunch of colleagues associated with NASA’s Astrobiology Institute at Harvard and MIT, and developmental biologist Eric Davidson on the evolution of gene regulatory networks, which features prominently in the later stages of The Cambrian Explosion.

What is the importance of the Cambrian explosion in evolutionary history?

It is one of the critical major evolutionary transitions in the history of life, an episode where virtually every aspect of life on the Earth changed, with impacts on everything from the chemistry of the oceans and atmosphere to the nature of sediments in the ocean. So understanding not just the new fossils but the larger context of the interactions between changes in the physical environment, ecology and evolution is key to understanding what happened. For evolutionary theory, the Cambrian explosion raises some really interesting challenges to how we understand these events. Jim and I argue that it is only by looking at changes in the physical environment, ecological opportunities, and developmental novelties, that we can begin to understand the mechanisms involved, and moreover, that some of the processes force us to extend some traditional approaches to evolution.

The Cambrian Explosion internal imageCould you briefly introduce one or two of the specific species that came into being so we have some context – I imagine we are not talking about life as we know it?

No, the world of the Ediacaran and Cambrian was a much different place from our world today, and indeed the Ediacaran and Cambrian periods were themselves much different from each other. Rangea is a representative of one of the oldest Ediacaran lineages, the Rangeamorphs. These are found in a variety of frond-like morphologies, and have a fractal structure, so that as you zoom in the frondlets have the same form as the overall frond, as do the petals that make up each frondlet. Opabinia, the beast that graces the cover, is one of my favourite of the Cambrian animals, and one that also illustrates the transformation of our understanding of these animals since Stephen Jay Gould wrote Wonderful Life. In 1989 Opabinia, with five stalked eyes and the long proboscis, was one of the ‘weird wonders’. Thanks to more study and phylogenetic methods of reconstructing evolutionary history we now understand that Opabinia is part of the panarthropod diversification, and is positioned on an evolutionary tree between the Cambrian lobopods and the true arthropods. But these two illustrate something else – whereas Rangea probably fed by adsorbing [not absorbing!] dissolved organic nutrients and lacks any discernible gut, eyes, etc., Opabinia was a mobile, predatory animal, with those great five eyes, appendages, and a gut. The contrast between these two illustrates something of the complexity of the ecological and developmental changes between the Ediacaran organisms and those of the Cambrian.

The book contains reconstructions by illustrator Quade Paul. Paleo art must be quite an intriguing process. What was the nature of your collaboration, and how do you come to settle on a ‘final’ representation of each creature?

Doing illustrations with an artist is always an interesting experience, particularly since I probably have not just zero artistic ability but actually negative artistic ability (sucking it out of those who do). But Quade was great to work with. He is the first artist I have worked closely with who used a lot of the new digital tools, and that was quite a learning experience for me. Jim and I selected the animals we wanted to illustrate, and sent Quade copies of illustrations from the scientific literature, or previous reconstructions, and in many cases copies of the original scientific papers. For a couple of the commonly reconstructed animals of the Burgess Shale we had to steer Quade away from some of the reconstructions found on the web. Then there was considerable back and forth between us getting the details of the critter right, refining the pose and the background details. Artists always want to know about colours, but of course fossils aren’t any help, so we had to infer these from studying modern marine animals. The quality of Quade’s work speaks for itself I think.

The Cambrian Explosion page detailIn what ways might the latest research about Earth’s evolutionary past affect current conceptions about biodiversity?

Many people often think of biodiversity in terms of the number of species, in part I think because species are easy to count. But there are many other components of biodiversity – ecological function, morphologic disparity, phylogenetic history, etc. One of the themes of this book is that to understand evolutionary history we often have to look as much at these other aspects of biodiversity. Similarly, as we confront the challenges of the current biodiversity crisis, I am among those biologists who feel that we have to consider conservation priorities in a broader context in order to maximize the amount of evolutionary history that we preserve for future generations.

Do you have any more books in the pipeline?

The Cambrian Explosion was the beginning of a new project on evolutionary innovation that I expect will extend over the next decade. Part of the project involves a book that will involve a much more comprehensive look at evolutionary innovations and major evolutionary transitions through the history of life, from the origin of life to aspects of innovation in humans. This will be a pretty big book, but much different from (and much less illustrated than) The Cambrian Explosion. And one always has other ideas…

Buy a copy of The Cambrian Explosion: The Construction of Animal Biodiversity

Available Now from NHBS

Save 35% on ten natural history classics from Johns Hopkins UP this June

Always setting a high standard for scientific publishing, Johns Hopkins University Press titles span the range of our natural history subject areas providing solid high-quality research from top academics.

These ten books from JHUP have been – and continue to be – bestsellers at NHBS, and they are all on special offer at 35% off this June:

Ecological and Behavioral Methods for the Study of Bats jacket imageEcological and Behavioral Methods for the Study of Bats

First published in 1988, “Ecological and Behavioral Methods for the Study of Bats” is widely acknowledged as the primary reference for both amateur and professional bat researchers. Only one group of mammals includes more species than bats. Bats live on every continent except Antarctica, range from deserts to tropical forests to mountains, and their activities have a profound effect on the ecosystems in which they live.

The Biology of Small Mammals jacket imageThe Biology of Small Mammals

The first exploration of the lives of small mammals undertaken in decades. Mammalogist Joseph F. Merritt offers an engaging, in-depth discussion about a diverse array of small mammals, from the rare Kitti’s hog-nosed bat of Southeast Asia to the bizarre aye-aye of Madagascar to the familiar woodchuck of North America.

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The sixth edition is 24% longer, and the number of separate genera has increased by 75 – among them, three remarkable large ungulates recently discovered in the forests of Indochina. New also is a full account of the woolly mammoth, now known to have survived until less than 4,000 years ago.

 

Walker's Bats of the World jacket imageWalker’s Bats of the World

Introduction by Thomas H. Kunz and Elizabeth D. Pierson. The first single segment of the leading reference workWalker’s Mammals of the World to become available as a separate volume. It is a complete guide to this varied order of mammals and includes scientific and common names, as well as the number and distribution of species, measurements and physical traits, habitat, daily and seasonal activity, population dynamics, home range, social life, reproduction, and longevity.

The Rise of Amphibians: 365 Million Years of Evolution jacket imageThe Rise of Amphibians: 365 Million Years of Evolution

For nearly 100 million years amphibians and their ancestors dominated the terrestrial and shallow water environments of the earth. Archaic animals with an amphibious way of life gave rise not only to modern frogs, salamanders, and caecilians but also to the ancestors of reptiles, birds, and mammals.

Mountain Gorillas: Biology, Conservation and Coexistence jacket imageMountain Gorillas: Biology, Conservation and Coexistence

Tucked into one of the most beautiful and conflicted regions of the world are the last of the mountain gorillas. These apes have survived centuries of human encroachment into their range and decades of intense conflict and violence. The remaining 720 mountain gorillas exist in a fragile habitat, nestled in an area torn by human interests and needs for land, water, and minerals.

Dragonfly Genera of the New World: An Illustrated and Annotated Key to the Anisoptera jacket imageDragonfly Genera of the New World: An Illustrated and Annotated Key to the Anisoptera

Dragonfly Genera of the New World is a beautifully illustrated and comprehensive guide to the taxonomy and ecology of dragonflies in North, Middle, and South America. A reference of the highest quality, this book reveals their striking beauty and complexity. Although Odonata – dragonflies and damselflies – are among the most studied groups of insects, until now there has been no reliable means to identify the New World genera of either group.

Damselfly Genera of the New World: An Illustrated and Annotated Key to the Zygoptera jacket imageDamselfly Genera of the New World: An Illustrated and Annotated Key to the Zygoptera

In this companion volume to “Dragonfly Genera of the New World”, Rosser W. Garrison, Natalia von Ellenrieder, and Jerry A. Louton provide a comprehensive, fully illustrated guide to the damselflies of North, Central, and South America. Damselflies are more diverse and harder to identify than dragonflies.

Forest Ecosystems jacket imageForest Ecosystems

This acclaimed textbook is the most comprehensive available in the field of forest ecology. Designed for advanced students of forest science, ecology, and environmental studies, it is also an essential reference for forest ecologists, foresters, and land managers.

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The first edition of Frans de Waal’s “Chimpanzee Politics” was acclaimed not only by primatologists for its scientific achievement but also by politicians, business leaders, and social psychologists for its remarkable insights into the most basic human needs and behaviors. Twenty-five years later, this book is considered a classic.

View the list of special offer books as a web page

A “must-have” book: What Zoos Can Do, reviewed in WAZA News

What Zoos Can Do: The Leading Zoological Gardens of Europe 2010-2020

by Anthony Sheridan

What Zoos Can Do: The Leading Zoological Gardens of Europe 2010 - 2020 jacket image“This book contains unique information and analyses 80 leading zoological gardens in 21 European countries. This is a must-have book for all those interested in zoos – enthusiasts, sceptics, visitors, sponsors, zoo owners, politicians, wildlife conservationists and all those working in and for zoos. The book deals with a wide variety of zoo-related aspects, some of which rarely dealt with in other publications, such as the role of the zoo director, landscape design, education, ex situ and in situ conservation, marketing strategies, future plans and zoo associations. Each of the 80 zoos covered is portrayed in detail on three pages each. The book includes tables containing the evaluation of the presentaion of a number of iconic species in each of the zoos as well as ranking lists concerning visitor factors, education and conservation, and commercial and organisation.

All the profits from the sale of this book are being donated to Stiftung Artenschutz, a German in situ conservation charity supported by more than 20 of the German and Austrian  zoos covered in the book. This donation will support a specific conservation project for gibbons in Vietnam. It contains almost 400 pages with numerous full-colour photographs, maps and tables. ”

Markus Gusset,

WAZA News August 2011

What Zoos Can Do is distributed by NHBS

Available now from NHBS


Book of the Week: Bats: From Evolution to Conservation, 2nd Ed.

Continuing our selection of the very best titles available through NHBS:

Bats: From Evolution to Conservation

by John D. Altringham

What?

2nd edition of John Altringham’s 1996 OUP publication, Bats: Biology and Behaviour

Why?

This rigorous and authoritative textbook is updated to reflect the current state of research onBats: From Evolution to Conservation jacket image all aspects of bat biology, ecology and and conservation.  Popular interest in bats is at an all-time high with many amateurs becoming involved monitoring their local bat populations and the construction industry legally bound to take their conservation needs into account, reflecting the vulnerability of this diverse and unique group.

Bats: From Evolution to Conservation is a global study covering evolutionary biology, ecology, flight, migration, physiology and much more – and whilst presented as a text for students and researchers, its accessible and enthusiastic style means it also holds appeal for amateur naturalists and anyone interested in bat conservation.

Review of the previous edition:

“This is an excellent book from one end to the other and I highly recommend it to students and colleagues. It is a book that meets its stated goal … to use bats to illustrate processes and concepts in biology. When it comes to ecology and behaviour, he has more than succeeded … Bravo!”  Journal of Animal Ecology

Who?

John D. Altringham is Professor of Animal Ecology and Conservation at the University of Leeds, UK, where he has been since 1989. He completed his BSc at the University of York, and his PhD at St. Andrews University, where he returned as a research fellow from 1983-1989. During his career he has travelled widely, studying animals as varied as tuna fish and tarantulas before focusing on bat ecology and conservation. He has published over 100 scientific papers, numerous book chapters, and two previous books: Bats: Biology and Behaviour (OUP, 1996), and British Bats (Harper Collins, 2003). He is also a regular advisor and contributor to BBC Natural History Unit productions for TV and radio, and is a member of a number of conservation advisory groups, including the Nature Conservation Panel of the National Trust. John lives on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales with his wife, Kate, and two children, Alex and Anne.

Available Now from NHBS


 

Book of the Week: Animal Tool Behavior

Continuing our selection of the very best titles available through NHBS:

Animal Tool Behavior

by Robert W. Shumaker, Kristina R. Walkup and Benjamin B. Beck

What?

A revised and updated edition of Benjamin B. Beck’s inspirational 1980 volume, which was the first to bring together and analyse the research on non-human tool behaviour.
Butterflies of Britain and Europe: A Photographic Guide jacket image

Why?

This fascinating area of research opens up many questions for the behavioural sciences, and this collaboration brings the field up to date to 2010.

From the Preface:

“This book provides precise definitions of tool use and tool manufacture, a complete catalog of all reported cases of tool use and tool manufacture by extant non-human animals…This edition cites about 1,750 sources from roughly 3,000 articles…”

Who?

Robert W. Shumaker is the vice president of life sciences at the Indianapolis Zoo, the author of Orangutans, and coauthor, with Benjamin B. Beck, of Primates in QuestionKristina R. Walkup is an adjunct assistant professor at Drake University. Benjamin B. Beck is the director of conservation at Great Ape Trust.

Available Now from NHBS

Book of the Week: Animal Migration

Continuing our new weekly selection of the very best titles available through NHBS:

Animal Migration: A Synthesis

Edited by EJ Milner-Gulland, John M Fryxell and Anthony R E Sinclair

What?

A collection of papers drawing together all the very latest theory and research about animal migration, presented thematically, and suitable for graduate students, and researchers in animal ecology, evolutionary theory, movement biology and conservation biology.Animal Migration jacket image

Why?

Animal Migration covers all major migratory groups, broadening the scope of migration studies from its usual bias towards birds. It provides a wide and integrative view of the subject, bringing into consideration the most recent developments in the ecological and evolutionary sciences, including technological improvements in computer modelling and tracking systems.

Who?

E.J. Milner-Gulland studied Pure and Applied Biology at Oxford University, and then did a PhD in resource management at Imperial College London. She later became a Reader and then Professor in Conservation Science, also at Imperial College London. Her current research interests concern the interaction between human decision-making and the dynamics of exploited populations, as well as the ecology and conservation of the migratory saiga antelope in Central Asia.

John Fryxell obtained both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of British Columbia. His PhD research was on the ecology of the white-eared kob – a migratory antelope in the southern Sudan. He held a lectureship at the University of British Columbia and briefly worked with the Government of Newfoundland before assuming a faculty position at the University of Guelph, where he is currently a Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology.

Anthony Sinclair has conducted research in Serengeti, Tanzania, since 1965, mainly on the problem of what determines the size of animal populations, particularly vertebrates, and the mechanisms of regulation. This work has expanded to look at the whole ecosystem, documenting how the different components of soils, plants, herbivores and predators interact.

Available Now from NHBS

Diversity of Fishes – and other New Marine Biology Titles

The second edition of the classic textbook The Diversity of Fishes has just been published and is now in stock at NHBS.
This new edition represents a major revision of the world’s most widely adopted ichthyology textbook. Expanded and updated, the second edition of The Diversity of Fishes is illustrated throughout with striking color photographs depicting the spectacular evolutionary adaptations of the most ecologically and taxonomically diverse vertebrate group. The text incorporates the latest advances in the biology of fishes, covering taxonomy, anatomy, physiology, biogeography, ecology, and behavior.

Order your copy of The Diversity of Fishes today – and save £5!

Other recent fishes titles include Fish Reproductive Biology and Recruitment and Early Life History of Marine Fishes.

Be sure to check out our expanding range of wildlife equipment, including aquatic nets, sampling trays and waterproof notebooks.

Browse other recent Fishes and Marine Biology titles

Browse Fishes

Browse Botany and Zoology

New in Zoo Biology

168564 Zoo Animals is a major new text for all keepers and researchers in the zoo environment and those in training. The authors have extensive experience and tie together both theoretical and practical aspects of behaviour, management and welfare. Just published and in stock now.

Browse our other New Zoo Biology Titles

Browse Zoo Biology Bestsellers

For our full range of zoo biology titles, browse Species Conservation and Care

Browse our wide selection of zoology titles in Botany and Zoology

Top Titles of 2008

Here are the most popular books of 2008 at NHBS: the Top 10 overall and the Top 10 in each of our major subject areas. You’ll find an eclectic mix of geographic and taxonomic interest, with books from publishers all over the world. We’ve also included bestselling wildlife equipment from our new range of field kit.

Enjoy browsing, and please feel free to add your own recommendations for this year’s Top Titles at the bottom of this post.

Top 10
1. Dragonflies
2. Climatic Atlas of European Breeding Birds
3. Sedges of the British Isles
4. Mammals of the British Isles
5. Life in Cold Blood – DVD
6. Mabberley’s Plant-Book
7. Which Bat Is It?
8. RES Handbook Volume 4 Part 2: The Carabidae
9. Wild China – DVD
10. Guia de Campo: Birds of Amazonian Brazil

Top Birding
1. Grouse
2. Climatic Atlas of European Breeding Birds
3. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 13: Penduline Tits to Shrikes
4. All the Birds of Brazil
5. Ornithologist’s Dictionary
6. Owls of the World
7. Collins Bird Guide
8. Frontiers in Birding
9. The Migration Ecology of Birds
10. Guia de Campo: Birds of Amazonian Brazil

Top Zoology
1. Dragonflies
2. Mammals of the British Isles
3. Which Bat Is It?
4. RES Handbook Volume 4 Part 2: The Carabidae
5. Tiger: Spy in the Jungle – DVD
6. Guide to the Mammals of China
7. Primates of the World
8. Wolf
9. Field Guide to the Mammals of South East Asia
10. Guide to British Bats

Top Equipment
1. Opticron Hand lens, 18mm, 20x magnification
2. WeatherWriter A4 Portrait
3. Vista Organiser
4. Schwegler 1B Nest Box
5. Schwegler 2F Bat Box
6. Batbox Baton Bat Detector
7. Garmin GPS Map60Cx
8. 125W MV Robinson Moth Trap
9. Professional Hand Net (Standard 250mm Wide Frame)
10. Pooter

Top Ecology and Conservation
1. Primer of Ecological Statistics
2. Behavioural Ecology
3. Introduction to Molecular Ecology
4. Analysis of Ecological Communities
5. Management Planning for Nature Conservation
6. Sustaining Life
7. Handbook of Biodiversity Methods
8. Atlas of Endangered Species
9. Conservation and Sustainable Use
10. Scaling Biodiversity

Top Botany
1. Sedges of the British Isles
2. Mabberley’s Plant-Book
3. The Wild Flower Key
4. New Cactus Lexicon, Volumes I and II
5. Wild Flowers of the Mediterranean
6. Secret Lives of Garden Wildlife
7. Lichens: An Illustrated Guide to the British and Irish Species
8. Flowering Plant Families of the World
9. British Orchids
10. BRYOATT: Attributes of British and Irish Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts

Top Natural History
1. Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Portfolio Eighteen
2. Attenborough in Paradise and Other Personal Voyages – DVD
3. Birds and Light: The Art of Lars Jonsson
4. Lars Jonsson’s Birds
5. Seventy Great Mysteries of the Natural World
6. Lost Worlds of the Guiana Highlands
7. Guide to Garden Wildlife
8. Earth: The Power of the Planet – DVD
9. Vietnam: A Natural History
10. The Deep

Top Data Analysis and Modelling
1. Describing Species
2. OU Project Guide
3. Statistics for Terrified Biologists
4. Ecological Census Techniques
5. The R Book
6. Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists
7. Spatial Analysis
8. Choosing and Using Statistics
9. Modelling for Field Biologists
10. Quantitative Methods for Conservation Biology

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