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Marvellous Zoology

Danilo Mainardi

Price:
€ 16,00
Publisher: Cairo Editore
Pages: 254
ISBN/EAN: 978-88-6052-148-4

Synopsis
Those who do it know: encountering animals close-up, associating with them, observing them, studying them is marvellous. And never fails to astonish. Because the variety of species, with their multiple forms of intelligence – instinctual or the fruit of personal experience – is an endless source of surprises, even for scientists. For instance, did you know that, guided by a “death substance”, ants bury their companions? And in Africa, south of the Sahara, lives a small bird which procures honey with the aid of a badger or, as an alternative, man? Or that the complex social mechanisms of paper wasps are also determined by the number of black spots on the clypeus, the front part of the head?

Favouring stories more than theories, Danilo Mainardi takes us on a surprising voyage of discovery about «marvellous zoology»: mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, insects, all animals that have known how to find the right solutions to ensure the survival of their species. Stories that tell us about co-evolution as in the case of the moths that in order not to fall prey to bat attacks (who, in turn, have perfected an “ultrasonic mind” to hunt their prey), have developed special sense organs to perceive their predators’ ultrasonic signals.

Stories of environmental adaptation, like that of foxes: the Artic fox has tiny ears to survive in the freezing cold but the fennec, the fox of the Sahara desert, disperses excessive heat by way of his exceptionally large ears. In his unmistakeable, relaxed narrative style that has made him beloved by readers and, simultaneously, with scientific rigour, Mainardi describes for the non-specialist reader complex themes like the evolution of the species and the difficult relationship between man and the ecosystem. And opens the treasure chest of that marvellous discipline, zoology, where there are hidden treasures that bring us knowledge and the joy of living. Because, as professor Mainardi declares, understanding animals - including man – is the starting point for changing our way of being in the world.

The author
Danilo Mainardi, ethologist, ecologist and popular science writer and teacher, is professor of Behavioural Ecology at the University of Venice and director of the International School of Ethology in Erice. He is honorary president of the LIPU (Italian League for the Protection of Birds), member of the National Academy of Sciences and the International Ethological Society, of which he was president. He collaborates with Corriere della Sera, Il Sole 24 Ore and the monthly, Airone. He participates in Piero Angela’s TV program, Superquark. In 2006 Cairo Editore published his book, Nella mente degli animali, now in its fifth edition.

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