By Michael A. Mares
For many people the observe "desert" inspires photos of barren wilderness, colossal, dry stretches inimical to lifestyles. yet for an exceptional array of creatures, even perhaps extra abundant than those that inhabit tropical rainforests, the wasteland is a haven and a house. shuttle with Michael Mares into the deserts of Argentina, Iran, Egypt, and the yankee Southwest and you may come across a wealthy and remarkable number of those small, tenacious animals, a lot of them first found by means of Mares in components by no means ahead of studied. Accompanying Mares on his forays into those antagonistic habitats, we detect the notable behavioral, physiological, and ecological diversifications that experience allowed such little-known species of rodents, bats, and different small mammals to persist in an arid international. whilst, we see firsthand the perils and pitfalls that watch for biologists who enterprise into the sector to enquire new habitats, observe new species, and upload to our wisdom of the range of existence. full of the seductions and trials that such adventures entail, A desolate tract Calling gives an intimate knowing of the biologist's vocation. As he astonishes us with the variety and diversity of data to be got throughout the decided research of little-known habitats, Mares opens a window on his personal unusual existence, in addition to at the unusual lifetime of the distant and mysterious corners of our planet. (20020401)
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Extra resources for A Desert Calling: Life in a Forbidding Landscape
In the hot, black tunnel, the temperature was almost 90°F, and our small ﬂashlights offered only a hesitant challenge to the overpowering darkness.
I began honking the truck’s horn to gather the crew and let them know that we had found a cave. D A R K N E S S A N D T H E C AV E O F T H E J A G U A R 45 As we approached the entrance, the smell of guano and ammonia was overpowering. Our group split up as we entered and several headed up a chimney. A fellow undergraduate and I followed a tunnel deep into the cave. In the hot, black tunnel, the temperature was almost 90°F, and our small ﬂashlights offered only a hesitant challenge to the overpowering darkness.
Museum collecting does not damage populations. In the future, when the two—or three, if the forest elephant is a distinct species—remaining species of elephants are extinct, the only way all future generations of humans will know anything about these magniﬁcent mammals is through museum collections. There will be the tissues, the tusks, the skin, the genes, the chromosomes, and other organs. Over the succeeding centuries, these few specimens will still be studied by the scientists. They will know where elephants occurred and why they went extinct because the specimens will tell them so.