Mammals

Download A Desert Calling: Life in a Forbidding Landscape by Michael A. Mares PDF

By Michael A. Mares

For many people the notice "desert" evokes photos of barren wilderness, big, dry stretches inimical to existence. yet for a very good array of creatures, even perhaps extra ample than those that inhabit tropical rainforests, the wilderness is a haven and a house. shuttle with Michael Mares into the deserts of Argentina, Iran, Egypt, and the yank Southwest and you'll come upon a wealthy and remarkable number of those small, tenacious animals, lots of them first found by way of Mares in components by no means sooner than studied. Accompanying Mares on his forays into those antagonistic habitats, we notice the awesome behavioral, physiological, and ecological diversifications that experience allowed such little-known species of rodents, bats, and different small mammals to persist in an arid international. while, we see firsthand the perils and pitfalls that watch for biologists who enterprise into the sphere to enquire new habitats, realize new species, and upload to our wisdom of the range of existence. jam-packed with the seductions and trials that such adventures entail, A wilderness Calling provides an intimate figuring out of the biologist's vocation. As he astonishes us with the variety and diversity of information to be received in the course of the decided research of little-known habitats, Mares opens a window on his personal unusual existence, in addition to at the unusual lifetime of the distant and mysterious corners of our planet. (20020401)

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Extra resources for A Desert Calling: Life in a Forbidding Landscape

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Y. Edwards, 1985 E xactly where did South American chinchillas occur before they were hunted almost to extinction? The chinchillas are gone from most of their original range. But we know where they occurred, when they reproduced, when they molted, how they grew, and many other facts about their lives because there are specimens of chinchillas in the British Museum, the national museums of France, Argentina, Chile, and Peru, and many other museums. Taken together the specimens in these collections tell us where the species was found, when it stopped being collected (the lack of collection showing that it was on the road to extinction), and where it exists today.

Our group split up as we entered and several headed up a chimney. A fellow undergraduate and I followed a tunnel deep into the cave. In the hot, black tunnel, the temperature was almost 90°F, and our small flashlights offered only a hesitant challenge to the overpowering darkness.

Even the blindingly fast strike of a rattlesnake is often too slow to connect with the agile kangaroo rat. Kangaroo rats bound across the desert while zigzagging unpredictably from side to side. The long tail with a tuft of long hairs on the end counterbalances their weight. The full function of the tufted tail is not clear. The tuft may permit greater maneuverability, its position at the end of a long tail helping to steer the animal even while it is in mid-air. Presumably, pulling the tail through the air causes drag, which resists and opposes the rat’s movements.

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