A Desert Calling: Life in a Forbidding Landscape by Michael A. Mares

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By Michael A. Mares

For many folks the note "desert" evokes photographs of barren barren region, huge, dry stretches inimical to existence. yet for an outstanding array of creatures, maybe even extra ample than those that inhabit tropical rainforests, the desolate tract is a haven and a house. shuttle with Michael Mares into the deserts of Argentina, Iran, Egypt, and the yank Southwest and you'll come upon a wealthy and remarkable number of those small, tenacious animals, lots of them first chanced on by means of Mares in components by no means sooner than studied. Accompanying Mares on his forays into those antagonistic habitats, we realize the impressive behavioral, physiological, and ecological diversifications that experience allowed such little-known species of rodents, bats, and different small mammals to persist in an arid global. whilst, we see firsthand the perils and pitfalls that look ahead to biologists who enterprise into the sphere to enquire new habitats, detect new species, and upload to our wisdom of the variety of lifestyles. packed with the seductions and trials that such adventures entail, A wasteland Calling offers an intimate figuring out of the biologist's vocation. As he astonishes us with the variety and diversity of information to be got throughout 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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Almost all desert rodents are nocturnal, spending most of their time in their burrows, especially the hot desert days. Ground squirrels, however, are an exception. They are diurnal and can be seen scurrying around the most arid habitats during the hottest days. Each of North America’s deserts supports from one to three species of ground squirrels, which are placed in two different genera (Ammospermophilus and Spermophilus). S. deserts. The white-tailed antelope ground squirrel of the Mojave is one of the most desert-adapted squirrels in the United States.

In 2001, DNA was isolated from the bones, and scientists were able to clarify the relationships of the extinct birds with the living ratites—ostriches, rheas, cassowaries, emus, and similar species. The specimens that were fortuitously collected and preserved centuries ago permitted the use of the latest genetic technology to study the history of these birds. Biology is the science of life, and field biology often involves the search for new life, but in order to study animals field biologists frequently have to collect them as specimens that are permanently preserved in a museum as benchmark specimens of the species.

More than four million are of bats and rodents, the most abundant small mammals in nature. 006 percent of the number of mammals killed each year in the United States by pet cats. 00000001 percent of the yearly catch of mammals by pet cats. This means that only one specimen out of fifty million that would have been killed by a cat ended up in a museum. The mammalogists got one animal; the cats got 49,999,999. You might think, “Well, small mammals are one thing and sure, there are forty million free-tailed bats in a single cave in Texas on a single day (six times the number of specimens that exist in all of the collections of the world), but what about big mammals?

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