- File Size: 5445 KB
- Print Length: 208 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0198747713
- Publisher: OUP Oxford (November 15, 2018)
- Publication Date: November 15, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07HFCXRT8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,333,546 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Digital List Price:||$17.99|
|Print List Price:||$24.95|
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Eyes to See: The Astonishing Variety of Vision in Nature Kindle Edition
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About the Author
Michael F. Land, Emeritus Professor of Neurobiology, University of Sussex
Michael F. Land is Emeritus Professor of Neurobiology at the University of Sussex and is a world-renowned authority on animal vision. He co-authored the text Animal Eyes (OUP, 2002, 2nd edition 2012), with Dan-Eric Nilsson, and another on human eye movements, Looking and Acting (OUP, 2009), with Ben Tatler. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society.
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
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After I finished I wanted a bit more, which is probably the point of this type of book. The author gives plenty of references and allows a reader to find more detailed information if they want to continue studies.
Top international reviews
It's a nicely eclectic mix, ranging from the evolution of vision in the oceans to predatory behaviour of jumping spiders, to batting in cricket and sight-reading music. You might never have considered a scallop's eyes before - I certainly hadn't - but this book does an excellent job of explaining why you should and, more widely, how vision evolved in places where light is often minimal. It also managed to disconcert me completely by explaining how we read, and distracting me into thinking about reading while reading about reading. (See!)
For me, the best parts were when the book focused on behaviour. The nuances of fiddler crab waving was strangely delightful and I have developed a whole new respect for jumping spiders - especially their ability to count legs. Learning about mantis shrimps' incredible vision has just given me even more proof that they are amazing creatures, and I always enjoy being reminded that evolution is a race to "good enough" rather than perfection.
I was less enthralled by the human chapters, but the experiments about driving, cricket and reading (music as well as text) will definitely appeal to others. It's also not quite as comprehensive as I might have hoped regarding the wider scope of nature. The focus is predominantly invertebrate based, which isn't necessarily a drawback. If, however, you're looking for information regarding vertebrate vision, you will need to look elsewhere.
Those quibbles aside, this was enjoyable, informative and delightfully accessible. It might not have been quite what I expected, but I am thoroughly pleased that I read it.
Sight is a sense we tend to take for granted it's only when we get the very welcome and educational wildlife programmes ala David Attenborough and the occasional Sci Fi TV programme with enhanced aliens, robots or androids and this different way of viewing the world comes into to focus as part of the plot.
We all know of infra red cameras or night vision lens and the like but not too much.
Michael Land has written a very comprehensive yet accessible book on vision in nature. It is of course Vision and not sight- the focus is on how different creatures have evolved to use vision to get the edge on other animals or just to survive.
And nature has really pushed the boat out with how different organisms independently have evolved astonishing methods and techniques to 'see'.
Saying that this is no book for anyone who has just a slight or pasing interest in this subject it is definitely not a '' crammed 'Dorling Kindersley' type books jam-packed with illustrations and more to the children' market. (Dorling are excellent in their field) this book is aimed for the more educated and knowledgeable about the subject rather than the interested layman or child. This is a much drier more scholarly treatise.
Saying that Land has written a good, well-researched book and is to be lauded for doing so.
Michael Land writes in an amiable style, avoiding the dryness of academic, scientific analysis by dropping in autobiographical anecdotes and employing a subtle degree of wit in his narrative.
This does make his book rather more accessible than it it might otherwise have been, but it is still rather a challenge for a layman like myself.
The author describes and explains his subject with clarity and most of it is easy enough to follow; what I found difficult was in grasping the detailed physics involved with the science of optics – I`m afraid my lack of knowledge in this area frequently let me down and I rather struggled in places to grasp some of the complexities described.
My own failings, however, should not deter others from considering the book; a student with a solid grounding in science will certainly gain from reading this as it is a fascinating subject; the book is wide-ranging (though roughly the first half of the book deals with invertebrates) and is certainly an edifying, enlightening study.
My personal rating is 3 stars; do use the “Look inside” option above for an idea of the contents– if you have a scientific background, feel free to add a star.
This is a fascinating and detailed book. Nature has created the eye many times over, coming to the same result from many different angles: there is no one type of eye - there are 8 principal types of eyes in the animal kingdom - and no common route of eye development. The book covers a range of topics on animal vision, from insects to oceans to the way humans see. I’ve found eyes fascinating since school and went on to study a biology degree.
One niggle is that there is no detailed diagram of the human or mammalian eye. I would have thought that would be a basic thing to include to draw everything together. Another is that the quality of the illustrations and photographs throughout the book is pretty poor - they let down an otherwise excellent book.
For sale at the time of writing this review at £15.28 (RRP £18.99).
I was hoping for something that would be relatively easy to read, with an A level in Biology being enough to understand the concepts and with some ‘eye-opening’ facts to surprise, intrigue and delight.
Fact is, I’ve found this much more of a study book. I’ve had to keep stopping to re-read passages that I’ve not really understood first time, and to look up unfamiliar words and I’m just not finding it the enjoyable read that I was expecting.