By Michael A. Mares
For many folks the notice "desert" evokes photographs of barren barren region, monstrous, dry stretches inimical to lifestyles. yet for a superb array of creatures, even perhaps extra considerable than those that inhabit tropical rainforests, the desolate tract is a haven and a house. trip with Michael Mares into the deserts of Argentina, Iran, Egypt, and the yankee Southwest and you may stumble upon a wealthy and remarkable number of those small, tenacious animals, lots of them first chanced on by way of Mares in parts by no means prior to studied. Accompanying Mares on his forays into those adverse habitats, we become aware of the amazing 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. while, we see firsthand the perils and pitfalls that watch for biologists who enterprise into the sector to enquire new habitats, become aware of new species, and upload to our wisdom of the range of lifestyles. packed with the seductions and trials that such adventures entail, A wilderness Calling provides an intimate figuring out of the biologist's vocation. As he astonishes us with the diversity and diversity of data to be bought in the course of the made up our minds 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 info for A Desert Calling: Life in a Forbidding Landscape
Craig Packer, Into Africa, 1994 I enrolled as an undergraduate biology major at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque in 1963, intending to pursue a career in medicine. As I continued to take courses at the university, my interests shifted to zoology. In fall 1965 I completed a course in mammalogy and took my ﬁrst foreign ﬁeld trip to Mexico with the instructor and his graduate students during winter break in early 1966. The object of the trip was to collect mammals so that the university’s museum would have a representative collection of specimens that could be used in preparing books and monographs on the poorly known fauna of Mexico.
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.
It will have to be examined when new species are discovered in order to ascertain that they really are new and not just a variant of a known species. As additional specimens are added to museum collections they begin to form the documented record of that species over its geographic range and across time. Taken together, the specimens in a museum are the primary data on the occurrence, habitat selection, and coexistence of most of the world’s mammals. Most small mammals are difﬁcult to identify, especially in the poorly studied parts of the world (and most of the world is poorly studied).
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