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The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales…

von Lucy Cooke

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18610109,215 (4.18)8
When seeking to understand animals, context is key. Humans have a habit of viewing the animal kingdom through the prism of our own narrow existence. Zoologist and documentary filmmaker Lucy Cooke is fascinated by the myths people create about animals to fill in the gaps in our understanding, and how much they reveal about the mechanics of discovery and the people doing the discovering. In this book she has gathered together the biggest misconceptions and mistakes made about the animal kingdom, and recounts the experiences that have opened her eyes to many surprising realities about animals and the progress of animal science."Humans may have flown to the Moon and found the Higgs boson, but when it comes to understanding animals, We still have a long way to go. From medieval bestiaries to March of the Penguins or the latest viral video of romping panda cubs, our species relentlessly makes up stories about the virtues and vices of the creatures around us. Chaste pandas are reluctant to mate. Loyal penguins would never abandon their partners. And sloths are just, well, lazy. In reality, pandas don't just have sex; they could make Christian Grey blush. Penguins won't just cheat on a mate; they pay for sex, too. And, despite their names, sloths might just be the most successful animals on the planet. In The Truth About Animals, Lucy Cooke takes us on a global adventure to find out how the animal world really works, and why we humans keep getting it wrong. She fearlessly smears herself in hippo sweat and drinks a blended frog, all in the name of answering questions you never knew you had: What does Aristotle's obsession with eels have to do with twenty-first-century drug mafia? Do female hyenas really give birth through a penis? And why was the New England Puritan Cotton Mather certain that storks could fly into space? Funny, thought-provoking, and at times downright bizarre, The Truth About Animals reveals to us all that is weird, wild, and completely unexpected in the animal kingdom."--Dust jacket.… (mehr)

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Starting with the positives:
There’s some interesting information here, especially about pandas. The author is fascinated by animals.
The negatives:
This isn’t, really, a book about animals. The true subject of the book is how humans have misunderstood and misrepresented animals for hundreds of years.
Identifying the Comte Buffon by his complete (and completely boring) name and title over and over and over made the book seem like a collection of essays rather than any sort of coherent narrative.
The...let’s call it jaunty...informal language used quickly became stale.
The emphasis on bizarre sexual characteristics and habits of the animals discussed may have been intended to draw in the casual reader who needs to be titillated in order to read, but it soon seemed prurient and rather disgusting, especially when it was so heavily emphasized and repeated.
The overly-frank descriptions of extremely cruel experiments essentially destroys any appeal this little volume might have.
Not a book I’d recommend to anyone. ( )
  bohemima | Apr 23, 2020 |
Everything that you thought that knew about cute penguins, adorable pandas and the utterly chilled out sloths, was probably wrong. When you see photos or videos of animals doing human type things we tend to put human personalities and our morals on animals and it really doesn't work. They have their own tales to tell us and in a lot of cases the truth is much much stranger than the fiction.

Cooke is the founder of the Sloth Appreciation Society and they make an appearance in here as she dispels the myths about them being lazy and explains the crucial part they play in the ecosystems in the forests that they live in. We will learn why vultures crap on their own legs, which animals partake in prostitution and necrophilia. How pandas are not as sex adverse as we think that they are and what happens when they stop being cute. Lots of animals were considered to appear from out of the mud at the bottom of ponds, including frogs and eels and swallows were though to stay at the bottom of ponds over winter and appear each spring. Migration was only properly discovered when a stork turned up with a spear from an African warrior in its neck. If you want to know why an African Hippo is making itself at home in Columbia and what they are actually closely related to and also to find out if moose are actually drunken reprobates then this is a good place to start.

I am not sure that science books are meant to make to laugh out loud and chuckle away to yourself, but this did. Cooke dispels lots of myths and uncovers secrets about her selected animals so of which have been suppressed for almost 100 years. It is an enjoyable popular science book that still has its foundations in serious research in seeking to understand just what makes animals do what they do. 3.5 Stars ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
The Truth About Animals provides an entertaining and interesting look at the private lives of animals. The book takes a look at the oddball myths that surround some of these animals and the (sometimes ling-winded) opinions/works of historical (and modern) naturalists with regards to these myths. Each chapter deals with a different animal and is filled with fascinating tidbits and humour. Animals covered in the book include eels, beavers, sloths, hyenas, storks, vultures, bats, frogs, pandas, penguins, hippos, mooses, and chimpanzees. This is an enjoyable, informative and light read. ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
People have weird ideas about animals. They think that sloths are lazy or pandas can't breed or bats attack humans. This is nothing new - people used to believe that storks migrate to the moon, or beavers will hand hunters their testicles, or barnacles transform into geese. People now, just like people in the past, are doing their best with the information that they have. Armed with this book you can learn the truth laying underneath the myths, as well as the plethora of things we still don’t know about: eels, beavers, sloths, hyenas, vultures, bats, frogs, storks, hippopotamuses, moose, giant pandas, penguins, and chimpanzees.

I read a lot of general-interest nature/animal books and this is by far the best one. My zoo volunteer book club absolutely adored it. It reads like a TV series, which makes sense since the author is a nature TV show presenter/host, with each chapter exploring the history, myth, and truth of one particular animal. The author does a good job of reminding the reader where they have heard of prolific scientists or philosophers before, so there’s no need to skim back through previous chapters. This book is a pleasure to read for newbies and knowledgeable animal lovers alike, though be warned if you have a particular affection for any of these animals, they are probably a secret sex freak.

If you’re at all interested in learning weird things about animals, and especially if you’re not sure you want to read a whole 350 page book about just one animal, definitely pick this one up. ( )
  norabelle414 | Dec 15, 2019 |
Lucy Cooke is a biologist and TV presenter who writes this book to help upgrade the reputation of some much maligned animals including the sloth, bat, and hippo. She begins with historical accounts, some of which are amusing, and then brings the science up to date. She is not a riveting author nor a comedian, but the book is well written science-for the layman.

Not all of the chapters are equally interesting, but all are worth reading. I enjoyed the natural history most, especially about the bird migrations. In 1789, in "The Natural History of Selborne" (a favorite book of mine that you would benefit from reading) Gilbert White discusses the question of what birds do in winter. He comes down on the side of hibernation in caves and burrows. That this debate persisted among English scientists surprised me because in England scientists could interview sailors and folks living on the southern shore who would observe the annual migrations which would be less apparent to people living in the center of the European continent. The biology of eels is the most interesting. From an historical perspective, there is no way that scientists in previous centuries could have guessed its complexity.

Before I started this review I took a look at some non-5* reviews online and I was surprised by some of the comments. Do people not know that animals tortured in early science research? (I'm not arguing that they are not now, but that 200 years ago ethical standards for animal treatment were more retrograde than those of today.) Do they not know that we eat animals? If these things upset you, please don't read this book. Do not give it to younger children.

I received a review copy of "The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife" by Lucy Cooke (Perseus Books, Basic Books) through NetGalley.com. ( )
1 abstimmen Dokfintong | Aug 13, 2018 |
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» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (3 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Lucy CookeHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Lai, Chin-yeeUmschlaggestalterCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Raese, JaneGestaltungCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Simon, JoelUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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When seeking to understand animals, context is key. Humans have a habit of viewing the animal kingdom through the prism of our own narrow existence. Zoologist and documentary filmmaker Lucy Cooke is fascinated by the myths people create about animals to fill in the gaps in our understanding, and how much they reveal about the mechanics of discovery and the people doing the discovering. In this book she has gathered together the biggest misconceptions and mistakes made about the animal kingdom, and recounts the experiences that have opened her eyes to many surprising realities about animals and the progress of animal science."Humans may have flown to the Moon and found the Higgs boson, but when it comes to understanding animals, We still have a long way to go. From medieval bestiaries to March of the Penguins or the latest viral video of romping panda cubs, our species relentlessly makes up stories about the virtues and vices of the creatures around us. Chaste pandas are reluctant to mate. Loyal penguins would never abandon their partners. And sloths are just, well, lazy. In reality, pandas don't just have sex; they could make Christian Grey blush. Penguins won't just cheat on a mate; they pay for sex, too. And, despite their names, sloths might just be the most successful animals on the planet. In The Truth About Animals, Lucy Cooke takes us on a global adventure to find out how the animal world really works, and why we humans keep getting it wrong. She fearlessly smears herself in hippo sweat and drinks a blended frog, all in the name of answering questions you never knew you had: What does Aristotle's obsession with eels have to do with twenty-first-century drug mafia? Do female hyenas really give birth through a penis? And why was the New England Puritan Cotton Mather certain that storks could fly into space? Funny, thought-provoking, and at times downright bizarre, The Truth About Animals reveals to us all that is weird, wild, and completely unexpected in the animal kingdom."--Dust jacket.

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