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Nature's Compass: The Mystery of Animal Navigation (Science Essentials) Hardcover – April 29, 2012
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"Though animals are the book's stars, animal-navigation scientists come a close second. The innovation and sometimes pure cheek of experiments contrived to learn about nature's compasses are fun to read about."--Barbara J. King, Times Literary Supplement
"What the Goulds have written is both an absorbing tale of biological discovery and a tantalizing scientific cliffhanger."--Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History
"Nature's Compass provides a wonderful account of efforts to unravel the mysteries of animal migration. Effectively drawing on their own experiences and the extensive scientific literature in the field, the Goulds explain what we currently know about how animals locate their positions. Their survey also offers an accessible starting point for those who might wish to improve our understanding of the topic."--Homare Yamahachi, Science
"James L. Gould and science writer Carol Gould explain the amazing ways in which animals orient themselves and make their way through the world. Scientist James details biology experiments that reveal how animals measure time, locate landmarks, and direct themselves across the globe, while writer Carol eloquently shows readers the beauty of the monarch butterfly's trip across the United States and into Mexico, the complex dance of honey bees, and homing pigeons' internal GPS system. Throughout the book, the authors combine their strengths to demonstrate both the scientific wonder and beauty of the internal compasses in animals. With an eye toward larger issues, the Goulds also examine the ways in which global warming and habitat destruction affect and endanger these magnificent and complex animals. . . . Recommended."--Susan E. Brazer, Library Journal
"Nature's Compass: The Mystery of Animal Navigation is an excellent resource for interested arm-chair ecologists and also undergraduate students who wish to understand the scientific history of analysis of how animal navigation occurs. At the same time, Nature's Compass: The Mystery of Animal Navigation is also an excellent book describing how sometimes it is difficult for Home sapiens to accept the cognitive intelligence and capacity of others who reside in our animal kingdom even when we are presented with the bare facts supporting these obvious assertions."--Gabriel Thoumi, MongaBay.com
"Research on animal navigation sits at the interface of physics, biology, and many different cultures, and has seen many heated debates, past and present. Nature's Compass is an excellent introduction to the field and hopefully will serve as inspiration for new research. . . . I found it enjoyable and would recommended it to anyone interested in the subject."--Anders Hedenström, Times Higher Education
"This scholarly and engaging book is the first in more than twenty years to summarize for the layman the latest research on the wonders of animal navigation. . . . Comprehensive and fascinating, the book cites extensive research, including a significant amount conducted by the authors themselves. While illuminating, the book also raises many questions that it cannot yet answer. We have much to learn from these wondrous creatures but, as this book makes clear, much of their mystery remains."--Kristen Rabe, Foreword Reviews
"Nature's Compass is as much about navigation as it is about animals' abilities to navigate. Biologist James Gould and science writer Carol Gould fully describe the information needed for navigation, accurately pointing out that this applies equally to a diversity of organisms ranging from butterflies to humans. Their description serves the work well since readers gain an appreciation of the challenges and mysteries surrounding animal navigation. . . . Overall, this is a fascinating treatment of animal navigation. Readers will gain insight into how animals manage to navigate in three dimensions, including a profound appreciation of their ability to 'solve' complex problems."--Choice
"While this is certainly a book for birders, beekeepers, and lovers of the natural world, it's also a book for sailors, pilots, and anyone who has ever had trouble finding their car in the parking lot."--Susan Meadows, Santa Fe New Mexican
"I found this to be an enjoyable and informative read. I would recommend it to any biologist interested in animal navigation and I would make it part of any curious student's reading list."--Verner P. Bingman, Quarterly Review of Biology
From the Back Cover
"Nature's Compass is a captivating introduction to animal navigation. It draws readers into a world in which myriad creatures outperform humans in every way possible. Enlightening and thought-provoking, this book is a comprehensive exploration of the topic and shows how an understanding of navigation may be critical for conservation."--Irene M. Pepperberg, author of Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Uncovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process
"No aspect of animal behavior has been more mysterious, generated more controversy, and perhaps been more inspirational to the human psyche than the many ways that diverse animals calculate their position in space relative to a home base. This timely review of the massive scientific literature on the topic lays out the history, problems, and status by practitioners of the field."--Bernd Heinrich, author of Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival
"This fascinating and wonderful books presents a thorough and integrated picture of animal navigation. Outstanding."--Kenneth Lohmann, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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Top Customer Reviews
Nature's Compass doesn't require any advance knowledge to dive right in to understanding navigational systems or how animals take advantage of them. Filled with research examples, this book describes both how the systems work and how they were discovered and tested. Mixing their first-hand knowledge in the field with important discoveries by scientists from around the world, Jim and Carol Gould make a fascinating subject an outstanding read.
This is a magnificent work and truly a "must" for anyone with an interest in migration and the means and methods birds and other wildlife manage their travels and their use of changing habitats. The Goulds have compiled a scholarly, thorough, up-to-date gem that will advance almost anyone's understanding of (and amazement at) the intricacies of migratory behaviors.
I'm a layman and this is my first book on the subject, so I have no way to judge how much the book is correct. Yet this book opened my horizon on a number of tools that animals can use for navigation: polarized light, magnetism, low frequency sound generated by wind systems, and the Earth's axis of rotation plotted out by the paths of polar stars.
I'm still reading the book and I know I will enjoy the rest of it.
It is well worth the price.