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The World's Whales: The Complete Illustrated Guide Hardcover – October, 1984


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Inst Pr; 1st edition (October 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895990148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895990143
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #762,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Laura Haggarty on March 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. It's a large coffee table book, yet at the same time it's a handy reference (almost a field guide) to the whales of the world. It has over 200 pages of information and hundreds of color photographs of whales from all over the planet. The whales are broken down into types: Baleen versus Toothed, and then each type is covered by species. Included are: Baleen whales; Rorqual whales; the Gray whale; Right Whales; Sperm whales; Beaked and Bottlenose whales; Oceanic Dolphins; Beluga and Narwhal; Freshwater Dolphins; and Porpoises.
The introduction has lots of important information about whales, and a number of diagrams showing some of the differences between whales. I liked best the chart that shows the relative size of the various whales in relation to one another. This is followed by pages of information on each individual type of whale, showing a photo (if available), a diagram, and containing information about the whale.
All in all this is a great book if you're interested in these wonderful creatures, and it helps to differentiate between the various types. It's worth looking for even though it's out of print.
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Format: Hardcover
The World's Whales: the Complete Illustrated Guide (1984), co-authored by Stanley Minasian and Ken Balcomb, is a sort of natural history guide to all the species of cetaceans then known (a baleen whale, several beaked whales, and a few species of dolphin have been described since). After introducing you to the evolution and anatomy of cetaceans, the book gives a species-by-species account divided into chapters based on families, covering baleen whales, beaked whales, sperm whales, dolphins of various sorts, and porpoises. Each species account includes a simple line drawing showing their general appearance, an introduction, and sections describing their physical features, color, fins and flukes, length and weight, throat grooves and baleen (for baleen whales), teeth (for toothed whales), feeding, breathing and diving, mating and breeding, herding, distribution, migration, and natural history notes. While most also include several color photographs or at a least painting done by Larry Foster (which aren't always of the best quality), many of the lesser known beaked whales (which aren't well-known as a family to begin with) only include those line drawing outlines mentioned above - a few only include this and an introduction, providing nothing else on the animal. The book also has a chart showing the relative sizes of silhouetted cetaceans, a glossary, selected reading, and an index. While the numerous color photographs are nice, the book doesn't really stand out as a natural history guide (even for its time period, with the Sierra Club guide published around the same time). It's often available for cheap at used book stores though, so it could perhaps be used as a coffee table book (it is the right dimensions for one).
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