From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. 40 years after British zoo curator Morris published The Naked Ape, a controversial 1967 bestseller (primatology's first), field researchers have generated thousands of hours of observations regarding gorillas, chimps, bonobos, gibbons and orangutans, and a bounty of comparative data regarding social behaviors, family groups, reproductive strategies and food gathering. Morris and Parker fill a huge gap on the primatology bookshelf by compiling this data into a practical, fully illustrated, encyclopedic book for non-specialists. Extended sections on anatomy, diet, communication behaviors, patterns of social life, sex and reproduction, and developmental stages each cover habits of different species and, where applicable, of humans. Copious images includes photos and graphs illustrating comparative anatomy and physiology, postures, internal structure and more; two-page spreads on dietary needs and the daily feeding routine of an orangutan are particularly well-executed. Morris and Parker, a senior fellow at the Zoological Society of London, also describe numerous threats to the survival of non-human primates, and provide conservation agency contact information so readers can get involved. With few exceptions (some dark backgrounds render text hard to read) this is a beautifully organized and visually gratifying guide, perfect for amateur and budding primatologists.
Zoologist Morris’ name is forever linked to the 1967 best-selling The Naked Ape. His interest in, and vast knowledge of, the great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans) is again in full—and this time opulent—display in a new, oversize book every active public-library science collection should own. Human DNA differs from that of the great apes by only a few percentage points, and that is the basic fact upon which Morris’ survey rests. He covers the apes’ physiology, eating habits, intelligence, social life and communication skills, reproduction, and preservation needs. All the information presented here is refracted through the prism of the author’s interest in establishing the differences and similarities to humans. The abundant, beautiful illustrations are tightly tied to the text, making this an excellent teaming of word and picture. --Brad Hooper