The Oryx Guide to Natural History: The Earth and All Its Inhabitants
|von Patricia Barnes-Svarney|
From Booklist This is a succinct survey of natural history, covering events in the natural world as well as the development of human understanding about natural objects and phenomena. The authors have expertise in the physical and earth sciences and have previously contributed to several other reference books.
Each chapter treats one of 30 different natural history topics, from Amphibians to Volcanoes, and begins with a very useful time line of natural events and the human discoveries related to them from prehistory through the 1990s. A history section follows, describing in greater detail each of the most important events, developments, and discoveries. The last section of each chapter defines several important terms related to the topic but is not extensive enough to qualify the work as a subject dictionary. Inset boxes scattered throughout the text cover current debates, folklore, and scientific studies, such as volcano myths throughout world cultures and the bird and dinosaur evolution question. Tables in each chapter provide such information as the geologic time scale, the animal kingdom classification system, and the world's mountain ranges.
The topical arrangement is entirely alphabetical, although grouping related topics (for example, a chapter on animals, followed by amphibians, arthropods, birds, etc.) would have been more helpful. A well-done index allows easy access to subject terms as well as data on scientists, geographic areas, and species. Appendixes on careers in natural history and listings for several Web sites pertinent to each of the 30 topics, as well as a glossary, are included.
The book would be a useful reference source for school, public, and undergraduate libraries, but it may be an unnecessary addition for libraries that already have several encyclopedia-like reference selections in earth science, evolution, genetics, and animal and plant life. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
From Book News, Inc. A relatively succinct compendium of the more important topics in natural history, from the origins of the universe and planet Earth to the plants and animals inhabiting our world and the evolution of human understanding of them. Each of the volume's 30 major topics, arranged in alphabetical order from Amphibians to Volcanoes, includes an introduction, a timeline, a detailed description of early and modern highlights, and alphabetically sorted definitions of terms. For college and advanced high...
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