Book ID: CBB001421573

Ten Thousand Birds: Ornithology since Darwin (2014)


Birkhead, T. R. (Author)
Wimpenny, Jo (Author)
Montgomerie, Robert D. (Author)

Princeton University Press

Publication Date: 2014
Physical Details: xvii + 524 pp.; ill.; maps; bibl.; index
Language: English

Ten Thousand Birds provides a thoroughly engaging and authoritative history of modern ornithology, tracing how the study of birds has been shaped by a succession of visionary and often-controversial personalities, and by the unique social and scientific contexts in which these extraordinary individuals worked. This beautifully illustrated book opens in the middle of the nineteenth century when ornithology was a museum-based discipline focused almost exclusively on the anatomy, taxonomy, and classification of dead birds. It describes how in the early 1900s pioneering individuals such as Erwin Stresemann, Ernst Mayr, and Julian Huxley recognized the importance of studying live birds in the field, and how this shift thrust ornithology into the mainstream of the biological sciences. The book tells the stories of eccentrics like Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, a pathological liar who stole specimens from museums and quite likely murdered his wife, and describes the breathtaking insights and discoveries of ambitious and influential figures such as David Lack, Niko Tinbergen, Robert MacArthur, and others who through their studies of birds transformed entire fields of biology. Ten Thousand Birds brings this history vividly to life through the work and achievements of those who advanced the field. Drawing on a wealth of archival material and in-depth interviews, this fascinating book reveals how research on birds has contributed more to our understanding of animal biology than the study of just about any other group of organisms.

Reviewed By

Review Noblett, William (2015) Review of "Ten Thousand Birds: Ornithology since Darwin". Archives of Natural History (p. 195). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Warner, Charles H. (Chuck)
Ian J. Mason
Karl Schulze-Hagen
Gilbert H. Pfitzner
R. Paul Scofield
Anderson, Ted R
Archives of Natural History
Journal of the History of Collections
Journal of the History of Biology
University of Texas Press
Ian J. Mason
Knesebeck Verlag
University Press of Kansas
University of Oklahoma Press
University of Minnesota Press
Systematic zoology
Lack, David Lambert
Stresemann, Erwin
Mayr, Ernst
Charles D. Bunker
Heinroth, Magdalena
Heinroth, Katharina
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
20th century, early
21st century
18th century
United States
Great Britain
Kansas (U.S.)
London (England)

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