Nature's Compass by James L. Gould
(Science Essentials)

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As this book clearly shows, we don’t have all the answers, but the better we understand how songbirds, whales, sea turtles, butterflies and others make their amazing journeys, the less we will impede them.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

We know that animals cross miles of water, land, and sky with pinpoint precision on a daily basis. But it is only in recent years that scientists have learned how these astounding feats of navigation are actually accomplished. With colorful and thorough detail, Nature's Compass explores the remarkable methods by which animals find their way both near home and around the globe. Noted biologist James Gould and popular science writer Carol Gould delve into the elegant strategies and fail-safe backup systems, the invisible sensitivities and mysterious forces, and incredible mental abilities used by familiar and rare species, as they investigate a multitude of navigation strategies, from the simple to the astonishing.


The Goulds discuss how animals navigate, without instruments and training, at a level far beyond human talents. They explain how animals measure time and show how the fragile monarch butterfly employs an internal clock, calendar, compass, and map to commence and measure the two-thousand-mile annual journey to Mexico--all with a brain that weighs only a few thousandths of an ounce. They look at honey bees and how they rely on the sun and mental maps to locate landmarks such as nests and flowers. And they examine whether long-distance migrants, such as the homing pigeon, depend on a global positioning system to let them know where they are. Ultimately, the authors ask if the disruption of migratory paths through habitat destruction and global warming is affecting and endangering animal species.


Providing a comprehensive picture of animal navigation and migration, Nature's Compass decodes the mysteries of this extraordinary aspect of natural behavior.

 

About James L. Gould

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James L. Gould is professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University. Carol Grant Gould is a science writer who has published widely. Together, the Goulds have written nine earlier books, including "The Animal Mind and Animal Architects."
 
Published April 29, 2012 by Princeton University Press. 311 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction
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Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Val Cunningham on Apr 02 2013

As this book clearly shows, we don’t have all the answers, but the better we understand how songbirds, whales, sea turtles, butterflies and others make their amazing journeys, the less we will impede them.

Read Full Review of Nature's Compass (Science Ess... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

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