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Animal Agency and the Business of the American Circus
Consider the career of an enduring if controversial icon of American entertainment: the genial circus elephant. In Entertaining Elephants Susan Nance examines elephant behavior—drawing on the scientific literature of animal cognition, learning, and communications—to offer a study of elephants as actors (rather than objects) in American circus entertainment between 1800 and 1940. By developing a deeper understanding of animal behavior, Nance asserts, we can more fully explain the common history of all species. Entertaining Elephants is the first account that uses research on animal welfare, health, and cognition to interpret the historical record, examining how both circus people and elephants struggled behind the scenes to meet the profit necessities of the entertainment business. The book does not claim that elephants understood, endorsed, or resisted the world of show business as a human cultural or business practice, but it does speak of elephants rejecting the conditions of their experience. They lived in a kind of parallel reality in the circus, one that was defined by their interactions with people, other elephants, horses, bull hooks, hay, and the weather. Nance’s study informs and complicates contemporary debates over human interactions with animals in entertainment and beyond, questioning the idea of human control over animals and people's claims to speak for them. As sentient beings, these elephants exercised agency, but they had no way of understanding the human cultures that created their captivity, and they obviously had no claim on (human) social and political power. They often lived lives of apparent desperation.
Who was Richard Kemp, after whom the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is named? Is Wake’s Gecko named after Berkeley’s Marvalee Wake? Or perhaps her husband, David? Why do so many snakes and lizards have Werner in their name? This reference book answers these and thousands of other questions about the origins of the vernacular and scientific names of reptiles across the globe. From Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti, the Florida copperhead subspecies named for Roger Conant, to Xantusia, the night lizard genera namesake of John Xantus, this dictionary covers everyone after whom an extant or recently extinct reptile has been named. The entries include a brief bio-sketch, a list of the reptiles that bear the individual’s name, the names of reptiles erroneously thought to be associated with the person, and a summary of major—and sometimes obscure or even incidental—contributions made by the person to herpetology and zoology. An introductory chapter explains how to use the book and describes the process of naming taxa. Easy to use and filled with addictive—and highly useful—information about the people whose names will be carried into the future on the backs of the world’s reptiles, The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles is a handy and fun book for professional and amateur herpetologists alike.
Why We Are Living Longer
In The Evolution of Death, the follow-up to Becoming Immortal: Combining Cloning and Stem-Cell Therapy, also published by SUNY Press, Stanley Shostak argues that death, like life, can evolve. Observing that literature, philosophy, religion, genetics, physics, and gerontology still struggle to explain why we die, Shostak explores the mystery of death from a biological perspective. Death, Shostak claims, is not the end of a linear journey, static and indifferent to change. Instead, he suggests, the current efforts to live longer have profoundly affected our ecological niche, and we are evolving into a long-lived species. Pointing to the artificial means currently used to prolong life, he argues that as we become increasingly juvenilized in our adult life, death will become significantly and evolutionarily delayed. As bodies evolve, the embryos of succeeding generations may be accumulating the stem cells that preserve and restore, providing the resources necessary to live longer and longer. If trends like this continue, Shostak contends, future human beings may join the ranks of other animals with indefinite life spans.
The development of a fully functional placenta was crucial to the evolution of human beings. It is the active interface of the most biologically intimate connection between two living organisms: a mother and her fetus. The Evolution of the Human Placenta discusses everything from the organ’s methods of protecting the fetus from the mother’s own immune system to placental diseases. Starting with some of the earliest events that have constrained or influenced the path of placental evolution in mammals and progressing to the specifics of the human placenta, this book examines modern gestation within an evolutionary framework. Human beings, in terms of evolution, are a successful, rapidly multiplying species. Our reproductive physiology would appear to be functioning quite well. However, human gestation is fraught with many poor outcomes for both the mother and fetus that appear to be—if not unique—far more common in humans than in other mammals. High rates of early pregnancy loss, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, preeclampsia and related maternal hypertension, and preterm birth are rare or absent in other mammals yet quite typical in humans. Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin explore more than 100 million years of evolution that led to the human placenta, and in so doing, they help unravel the mysteries of life's earliest moments.
An Introduction to the Genus Carex (Cyperaceae)
Ferns, Conifers, and Other Monocots Excluding Sedges
The second in a series of four illustrated guides to identifying aquatic and standing water plants in the central Midwest, this convenient reference volume includes descriptions, nomenclature, ecological information, and identification keys to plants in all of the monocot families except sedges—which are covered in the first volume in the series—that are found in Kentucky (except for the Cumberland region), Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska.
Monocots covered in this volume include ferns, conifers, grasses, rushes, orchids, duckweeds, irises, sweet flags, arrowheads, aroids, flowering rushes, pipeworts, frog-bits, arrowgrasses, naiads, pickerelweeds, pondweeds, bur reeds, cattails, and yellow-eyed grasses. Robert H. Mohlenbrock includes three types of plants: submergents, those that spend their entire lives with their vegetative parts either completely submerged or at least floating on the water’s surface; emergents, which are typically rooted underwater with their vegetative parts standing out of water; and a third category of plants that live most of their lives out of water, but which may live in water at least three months a year.
With taxa arranged alphabetically, the volume is well organized and easy to use. In addition, basic synonymy, description, distribution, comments, and line drawings show the habits and distinguishing features for each plant. Habitat and nomenclatural notes are also listed, as are the official wetland designations given by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Filicineae, Gymnospermae, and Other Monocots, Excluding Cyperaceae is a useful standard reference for state and federal employees who deal with both aquatic and wetland plants and environmental conservation and mitigation issues. It is furthermore an essential guide for students and instructors in college and university courses focusing on the identification of aquatic and wetland plants.
The Animal Answer Guide
One fish, two fish, red fish, nearly thirty thousand species of fish—or fishes, as they are properly called when speaking of multiple species. This is but one of many things the authors of this fascinatingly informative book reveal in answering common and not-so-common questions about this ubiquitous group of animals. Fishes range in size from tiny gobies to the massive Ocean Sunfish, which weighs thousands of pounds. They live in just about every body of water on the planet. Ichthyologists Gene Helfman and Bruce Collette provide accurate, entertaining, and sometimes surprising answers to over 100 questions about these water dwellers, such as "How many kinds of fishes are there?" "Can fishes breathe air?" "How smart are fishes?" and "Do fishes feel pain?" They explain how bony fishes evolved, the relationship between them and sharks, and why there is so much color variation among species. Along the way we also learn about the Devils Hole Pupfish, which has the smallest range of any vertebrate in the world; Lota lota, the only freshwater fish to spawn under ice; the Candiru, a pencil-thin Amazonian catfish that lodges itself in a very personal place of male bathers and must be removed surgically; and many other curiosities. With over 100 photographs—including two full-color photo galleries—and the most up-to-date facts on the world's fishes from two premier experts, this fun book is the perfect bait for any curious naturalist, angler, or aquarist.
This book will be of particular interest to those interested in applied fields of biology, such as conservation, forestry, and wild life. The southern twelve counties of Illinois, a total of 4,355 square miles, comprise the area covered in this book. It is an area in which both northern and southern flora specimens abound. A wide variety of plant species grow in this area, and nearly 200 new plants not formerly identified with this area have been included in the listings.
Especially valuable to amateur botanists, the book is an important manual in identifying the plants that make up the native scenery of this region. Seventy-seven illustrations aid in identifying and understanding the plant communities.
Basswoods to Spurges
This is the fourth volume in The Illustrated Flora of Illinois devoted to dicotyledons, or dicot plants. Dicots are the greatest group of flowering plants, exceeding the monocotyledons, or monocots. Dicots produce a pair of seed leaves during germination while monocots produce only a single seed leaf.
This volume contains four orders and ten families of dicots. The orders included in this volume are Malvales, Urticales, Rhamnales, and Euphorbiales. Within the Malvales are the families Tiliaceae, Sterculiaceae, and Malvaceae. The families Ulmaceae, Moraceae, and Urticaceae comprise the Urticales. Rhamnaceae and Elaeagnaceae make up the Rhamnales. The Euphorbiales include only the Thymelaeceae and the Euphorbiaceae.