Spying on Whales: The Past, Present, and Future of Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures

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A fascination with the complex skulls of whales led this excellent writer to his own specialty of paleontology and an eclectic exploration outside that niche to all things whale. He has tagged them in the Arctic and explored their evolution via fossils everywhere from Egypt to South America to North America. His time on the Sea Shepherd seeking the probably doomed Vaquitas in the Northern Gulf of Mexico limns not just that species’ route to human-influenced extinction but piquantly evokes the hundreds of whale types who have traveled their own paths to species extinction throughout geological time. Pyenson’s travels and scientific adventures alone make this a rewarding read.

However, his own seeking is not just one-dimensional. Pyenson leads readers with him, breathlessly, through the perhaps 50 million years plus of the aquatic whale lineage and the evolution of characteristics like binocular hearing and echolocation…and language…. It’s like watching a grand play enacted.

We are gifted with a sense of deep time, of the fleeting nature of existence, and yes, of its persistence and constant reaction to a changing world. Wondrous piece of work!!


Reviewed By:

Author Nick Pyenson
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Viking
Publish Date 2018-Jun-26
ISBN 9780735224568
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue August 2018
Category Science & Nature
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