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Life in Cold Blood Hardcover – March 10, 2008
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"Attenborough travels to the ends of the earth to tell the story of these creatures, raising awareness of the threats of environmental destruction along the way."--Scientific American
"Even a person normally immune to the charms of amphibians and reptiles will soon be drawn in by the fascinating color photographs of Life in Cold Blood, the latest book by broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough. The next thing you know, you're shoving the book under your friends' noses, insisting that they have a look."--Flora Taylor, American Scientist
"Life in Cold Blood adds to film naturalist and author Attenborough's rich legacy of fine books and documentaries providing vivid, concise accounts of life-forms. . . . The book offers a nice balance between large conceptual issues that define the world of ectothermic tetrapods and less well-known yet fascinating facts. Basic life history including diet, locomotion, reproductive habits, and geographical distribution are presented, with just the right amount of fossil record content tying it all together. This modest-sized, nicely bound book is generously illustrated with excellent color plates and includes explanations of the origins of numerous names and terms."--J.E. Platz, Choice
"The latest tour de force of naturalist and prolific author, David Attenborough, Life in Cold Blood takes us on a fascinating tour through the often bizarre and alien world of Tikaalik's amphibian and reptile descendants."--Explorers Journal
"Profusely illustrated and written in Sir David Attenborough's inimitable style--his writing is wonderfully effortless--this is the final book of four in a series on vertebrates by the respected 80-year-old naturalist. Experts might find much of the material here familiar, but generalists who are fascinated by the world around us will be captivated. I'll confess a weakness for books where you learn something new every page. With Attenborough you're likely to learn something new every paragraph."--Marc Horton, The Edmonton Journal
"Naturalist Attenborough uses his considerable talent to explain the world of reptiles and amphibians, the descendants of the first vertebrates of prehistoric life. He also warns of the threat of man-made environmental changes that threaten their existence. This volume includes 200 photos, some of them truly amazing."--Angelyn N. Hutchinson, Deseret Morning News
"[T]he accessibility and accuracy of the text, combined with its low price, make this an ideal choice for the amateur naturalist's introduction to the herpetological world."--Aaron M. Bauer, Quarterly Review of Biology
"This is nature writing at its best for the author is a natural born storyteller. . . . As a planning aid, this book offers a list of the best spots for seeing wildlife."--Connie Krochmal, BellaOnline
From the Back Cover
"Admirably illustrated, this book completes David Attenborough's great exploration of the world's main animal groups. He shows us the lives of amphibians and reptiles in all the fascinating detail we have come to expect from him. A treasure trove for everyone--from the child seeing flying dragons or man-eating crocodiles for the first time to the professional zoologist realizing that there is still much to learn."--Philip Rainbow, Natural History Museum, London
"Quite delightful to read. There are many popular books on amphibians and reptiles, but most are aimed more at a younger audience or are intended as field guides, while others are primarily picture books with little or very poor text. Life in Cold Blood is a popular, well-illustrated book that introduces some scientific rigor. The scholarship is excellent. The illustrations are outstanding and are both informative and beautiful."--Kurt Schwenk, University of Connecticut
Top Customer Reviews
This book is for me dissapointing.
Why you are asking ?
The photos first of all, i always expect something new,beautiful or rare on the photos from somebody as Attenborough and the BBC, the photos are not. A lot of older,allready published photos and grade B photos,not the best of the best anyway.
The quality of the paper is dull and not glossy this makes it even worse for the photos to come to life and is something i am not used to for books in this price range (i bought it in the Netherlands for around 40 euros).
The text is general, heard it and seen it before....
Conclusion,the book is for someone that wants some general information about reptiles. But they can get that a lot better with other reptilian books on the market.
The photos do not stand out, so no point there for buying the book either.
A missed chance by the BBC and the Attenborough franchise, they could and should have done a lot better.
Throughout, the 'Strawberry Poison Dart Frog' is referred to by it's scientific name of 'Dendrobates Pumilo(sic)', this should actually be 'Dendrobates Pumilio', a basic error, possibly evidence of poor proof-reading, but as it is repeated so often, possibly not.
The chapter on lizards also refers to an 'American Anole'. By definition ALL Anolids are American, this being the only continent on which they are found. What is actually shown is a 'Cuban Brown Anole'.
My admiration for this book stems from a mix of my ignorance of taxonomy and my perspective as a neurologist. This explains my inability to comment on any of the misspellings and errors detected by some of the other reviewers. With every book I read on comparative anatomy or evolutionary physiology, my erstwhile enthusiasm, rigid and fixed, for the human nervous system relents. It admits graciously a greater pervasive wonder for life across the spectra of all animal forms. This is the promontory from which I approach this work.
This book of 281 pages and 6 chapters is aglow with vivid pictures of animal grandeur. Frogs, salamanders, lizards, iguanas, crocodiles, turtles or snakes greet you page after page. We learn about the anatomy, behavior and evolution of amphibians, reptiles and other cold-blooded animals. There are exquisite descriptions, whether it is of snakes calibrating their predatory strikes or of frogs producing internal anti-freeze to survive the arctic chill. Elaborate mating rituals of frogs and eating patterns of pythons would fascinate the reader.
It is likely that other books in this area have covered as much ground or even more. That possibility need not reduce the merit of this volume. The comparative biology that underpins this volume is a riveting reading experience in itself. There are numerous utterly captivating mechanisms that the cold blooded animals use to protect and evolve. They may suppress one lung, right or left, from fully developing, secrete, shoot or spit various venoms, protrude and circumduct their fangs, hibernate in extreme cold and even carry their own radiators and solar panels.Read more ›
Just a few to make my point: the Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus) is said to be "the biggest of all amphibians", but the Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) surpasses it by about 40 cm (nearly 30 percent!), and the "young Japanese giant salamander" illustrated on page 15 is actually a mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus)!
The olm (Proteus anguineus) does, indeed, occur in Italy (lower reaches of the Isonzo river), but has been recorded from nearly 200 localities, mostly situated in Slovenia. Rather unnaturally, the specimens shown on page 17 lay on their back.
The "one species (of caecilian) from south-east Asia (that) has a blue-black skin with a bright lemon-yellow stripe along its flanks" (page 27) is actually several: various Ichtyophis spp. have this coloration, as well as the South American Rhinatrema bivittatum.
The ranges of dendrobatid frogs shown on pages 62-63 are almost all wrong.
I know of no functional plastral hinge in any African tortoise (page 72; admittedly, the rear section of the plastron of old Testudo graeca is slightly mobile) -- it is the front lobe in Madagascan spider tortoises (Pyxis arachnoides) that really moves sometimes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I did not approach this book as an expert in the field, nor did I expect it to be an exhaustive, in-depth study. Read morePublished on December 15, 2011 by Christina Boyer
What can we say about David Attenborough's series that hasn't already been said. They are absolutely awesome. 'Life in Cold Blood' is about cold blooded animals and lizards. Read morePublished on October 22, 2009 by Amazon Customer