- Series: Princeton Science Library
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press (November 1, 1979)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691023646
- ISBN-13: 978-0691023649
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #599,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Why Big Fierce Animals Are Rare: An Ecologist's Perspective
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
See the Best Books of 2017 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"A rare achievement. . . . Colinvaux makes us marvel with him at the stability of nature and the incredible fit of every part of it."--New York Times Book Review
"A mind-tingling survey . . . of the many factors involved in the interrelationships of all living things. . . . An incisive and stirring book, and a model of scientific explanation."--New Yorker
"A highly readable and accessible account of the complex way in which nature has molded its ecosystems by fitting predators to prey and food chains to both."--John Barkham
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
Writing 10/10: The book is a delight to read and one of, if not the most well written books I have ever read along with “The Beak of the Finch” by Jonathan Weiner (an excellent book on Peter and Rosemary Grant’s continual trips to the Galapagos Islands in search of recorded “real “speciation or “macro-evolution” by way of natural selection). While the former may be technically better written, I would choose this any day because of the conciseness along with the sometimes hilarious humor and totally enjoyable and stimulating content. Colinvaux English roots help to infuse the book with style and humor. My favorite chapter to highlight the excellent writing and humor would have to be “ The Social Imperatives of Space” For example: “As with other seminal ideas, the idea of the territoriality of birds has been used to support some queer propositions.”…“We can learn what Howard found by following his observation of just one of them, a little English finch with a yellow head known colloquially as the yellowhammer”.
Content 10/10: One can also learn much about the natural world. Colinvaux extensively uses niches of differing and very similar forms of live to explain that nature isn’t so much about violence, “kill or be killed” and “this is my territory” but about survival; minimizing risk for predators, laying down spatial rules for the best chance of survival for the species as a whole and how this (and everything else) is actually in-line with Darwin’s rules of fitness. It’s all perfectly logical the way nature works even as the revelation might be very hard to come by. All the more reason to read the book; as I’m sure you will have many revelations of “why” from questions you might not have even known, or thought of, to ask.
to the physical principles underlying ecology. Unfor-
tunately, later chapters are tarnished when he mixes
unsubstantiated (and outmoded) opinion with fact.
Indeed, parts of the book are better suited to an edi-
torial than a work on science.
The world has moved light-years on in the twenty plus
years since this book was written. The publisher does
us a disservice by keeping it in print.
Written in 1978, the book is a little dated in some areas. For instance, he has a whole chapter on the increase of carbon dioxide in the air and never once mentions global warming. But this is a very small issue. Most of the book is timeless, and invaluable.