Spying on Whales Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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|Listening Length||7 hours and 45 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||June 26, 2018|
|Publisher||HarperCollins Publishers Limited|
|Best Sellers Rank||
#269,140 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#52 in Paleontology (Audible Books & Originals)
#229 in Rock & Mineral Field Guides
#471 in Biology of Dinosaurs
Top reviews from the United States
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The second problem with this book of "science" writing is that what should be a monumental issue is treated like some inevitable unknowable. There is no shortage of expertise on whales from the author. He knows their bones, their brains, their relatives, and, as far as can be determined, their long, seemingly unfathomable history. He is truly passionate about their resurgence from the Moby Dick years and the devastating century that followed. More than once, he disassociates himself from those who study whales unscientifically, with blind emotion and open arms.
The monumental issue in question is climate change. The book's jacket uses the term. The book occasionally repeats the term but as if it is defined overall or at least in context to massive ocean-going creatures. "Climate change," in a book that has all the opportunity to define it, is not defined. What role does shipping play in the melting North Pole ice? What role does increased fossil fuel burning play, and for how long, in the future of whales that are getting larger, not smaller, than their ancestors. There are no statistics. There is no analysis. I bought the book with an open-mind of what science can teach me about coal mines in Kentucky, Air Force One's vapor trail, and plastic islands off Sri Lanka. However, when the term is used, "Climate Change," we're supposed to just know what it means, even though 99% of this book covers the changing of climate before humans knew how to ride a bicycle.
I learned so many interesting facts from this book about cetacean paleobiology, walrus whales (!!), how enormous blue whales are and why they technically can't get much larger, shifting baselines, the relationship between different species of river dolphins, how climate change can affect different whale species and so much more.
I listened to the Audible audiobook while highlighting passages in the Kindle edition and I can absolutely recommend both. The audiobook is narrated by the author and the Kindle edition has lots of useful references for further reading :D
(For context, think of Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" or "Why Evolution Is True" by Jerry Coyne).
In all honesty, if you're interested in whales or the evolutionary process at all, read this! I have a greater appreciation for whales in general, and the scientific method of determining evolutionary history in general.