The Song of the Dodo PDF/EPUB ☆ of the PDF Å

The Song of the Dodo PDF/EPUB ☆ of the PDF Å

The Song of the Dodo [Reading] ➸ The Song of the Dodo By David Quammen – David uammen's book The Song of the Dodo is a brilliant stirring work breathtaking in its scope far reaching in its message a crucial book in precarious times which radically alters the way in which w David uammen's book The Song of the PDF Å of the Dodo is a brilliant stirring work breathtaking in its scope far reaching in its message a crucial book in precarious times which radically alters the way in which we understand the natural world and our place in that world It's also a book full of entertainment and wonders In The Song of the Dodo we follow uammen's The Song ePUB ↠ keen intellect through the ideas theories and experiments of prominent naturalists of the last two centuries We trail after him as he travels the world tracking the subject of island biogeography which encompasses nothing less than the study of the origin and extinction of all species Why is this island idea so important Because islands are where species most commonly go extinct and because as Song of the PDF Í uammen points out we live in an age when all of Earth's landscapes are being chopped into island like fragments by human activity Through his eyes we glimpse the nature of evolution and extinction and in so doing come to understand the monumental diversity of our planet and the importance of preserving its wild landscapes animals and plants We also meet some fascinating human characters By the book's end we are wiser and deeply concerned but uammen leaves us with a message of excitement and hope.

About the Author: David Quammen

David uammen born February of the PDF Å is an award winning science nature and travel writer whose work has appeared in publications such as National Geographic Outside Harper's Rolling Stone and The New York Times Book Review; he has also written fiction He wrote a column called Natural Acts for Outside magazine for fifteen years uammen lives in Bozeman Montana.

10 thoughts on “The Song of the Dodo

  1. Laura Laura says:

    This one goes to 11 I would give this book 11 stars if I could This is THE book I recommend to people as an introduction to evolution evolutionary biology extinction or anything related I made my mother read this book And she enjoyed it David uammen whom I have been lucky enough to have drinks withyes I'm totally name dropping here is an absolutely amazing story teller who seamlessly weaves an engaging narrative of travel adventure scientific research and conservationism Not only does uammen enlighten the reader about current biogeography state of the environment and evolutionary biology research but he's personally interviewed and in many cases traveled with these scientist so adds a sense of travel narrative to his voice I'm used to reading scientific text and never once did this book read like a text book despite it being assigned for a class There are many lessons that can be taken from this book from an understanding of scientific and evolutionary principles to embracing our environmental stewardship to a reminder of our shared human nature across continents and races I challenge everyone to give this book a try Here's my uick review I gave to pimp Song of the Dodo to a Church study group to whom I gave a lecture on DarwinismMy favorite evolution book that I recommend the most is Song of the DodoIt's not short 700 pages but it's a very easy entertaining read Daviduammen the author is a fantastic storyteller It's also very accessibleto the non scientist uammen explains about island biogeography in a timeof extinction using personal stories about island research islands are hotbeds for evolution to explain mechanisms of evolution and extinctionThough it's long people could just read the first chapter for an intro andthen go from there time depending It's told as a first person narrativethrough a series of storiestravel adventuresinterviews Though it makes acomplete lesson by the end it can be taken in pieces very well This is byfar one of my favorite books

  2. Sylvia Sylvia says:

    Disclaimer I'm only about a third of the way through I'll update this review as I go So farThis book is physically WEIGHTY At first I was pleased about this if it's a good read give me of it but as I went I grew and disappointedNo the length isn't really important except that I feel a fine editor could have cut this into a 4 star book with ease uammen tells a compelling narrative of interesting oft overlooked biologists such as Alfred Wallace whose story alone was worth the read The personal narratives and conversations are hit and miss I didn't love the author waxing poetic about viewing a pile of giant tortoises with his native guide but I absolutely adored his conversations with a scientist studying tenrecs That editor could give uammen the benefit of the doubt leave all these colorful digressions in However I would humbly suggest that this story need not be punctuated with a solid page of Latin names of island creatures which the author himself bids me to forget immediately the titles of twenty papers on island biogeography that are on the author's desk a half page about a slightly mistranslated English sign in IndonesiaI can't even imagine how those survived the editing process But they are just symptomatic of the larger problem decadence Wherever uammen could proffer 2 or 3 or 5 exampleshe puts 20 A short explanation of the different locations of giant tortoise species becomes a chapter a showy rug analogy drags on for paragraphs EditorThe author is great GREAT when in the middle of a chapter on some historical biologist cutting through the bushy undergrowth to a brilliant scientific discovery He does a good job summarizing scientific topics in an understandable way He is pretty decent at throwing in relevant digressions from his personal experience to enrich the story In fact overall I think the author did everything that an author should be expected to do The editor though needs to sack up and get out the machete

  3. Dan Dan says:

    This book gets high marks for its large scope covering many of the notable species extinctions and current vulnerable island populations and creating a convincing link between the two This book does well when the author talks about the history of the animal species and those naturalists who did the early work like Darwin and Wallace The author is uite knowledgeable and a truth seeker The tone is not preachy whatsoever although there is an inconsistent approach to describing the species Now for the negative The execution of the chapters felt like following a complicated möbius strip or Escher diagram from the beginning to the end The author just went everywhere in random directions Poor big picture consolidation in the book with at times an excessively casual style of writing but sans the humor of a Tim Cahill Like Cahill the author wrote articles for Outside magazine for many years and he seems uite knowledgeable about flora and fauna to be sure So reading this weighty tome felt like reading eighty short articles poorly spliced together There were too many random scientists and names dropped as the author traipsed through various island jungles over decades of writing and research I think if the author told the stories in a different way it would have made all the difference for me I like the approach Jared Diamond one of his contemporaries takes You know he is there in the story but keeping his first person distance and not accidentally making the story about him The sections on the Komodo Dragon and the Dodo bird were five star material but just too short they make up less than 10% of the book The author absolutely proved the basic premise of the book the effects of island species vulnerability and variations within the first 200 to 300 pages So the next six 600 pages were at times individually interesting depending on the story told but became superfluous to advancing the thesis I would rate Song of the Dodo three stars overall The information content gets five stars and the organization and writing closer to two or three stars A lot of potential especially if you are a science buff and a worthwhile read but frustrating for the reasons I mentioned above

  4. Reid Reid says:

    This is the first book I've read by uammen an imminently talented journalist who perfectly balances the information and writing style of the book He follows a chronological progression of island biogeography from Darwin through Jared Diamond who became hugely famous shortly after the release of this book uammen's travelogues are excellent combining a sympathetic open perspective that is adventurous and engaged Late in the book uammen describes a climb to the nest of a Mauritius kestrel When I'm thirty feet up a tree branch flicks off my glasses which drop to the ground I could go down and retrieve them sure that would be sensible but I'd fall too far behind the cheerful maniacs 'Do you trust this vine?' I call up to Jones Gangly but tall he must weigh two hundred pounds and from this angle I can appreciate the size of his feet 'Not greatly' We ratchet our way upward slowly on the cliff face It isn't Half Dome but it's perilous than the average birdwatching stroll We rise out above the valley As we move beyond the treetops I give myself an explicit mental reminder Fall from here and you don't go home Finally Jones and I catch up with Lewis on a narrow rock shelf like a window ledge ten stories above Lexington Avenue I gaze out at the panorama the forested canyon below us the deer ranch beyond and the cane plantation beyond that all spreading westward for five miles to the crescent of beach and then the great turuoise plane of the Indian Ocean 562 3 It's uammen's excitement and sensitivty that inspire the reader to continue and to care to take notice of humanity's influence carving nature into islands resulting in astonishing rates of extinction and ecosystem decay But uammen urges us to cling to hope not despair because besides being fruitless it's far less exciting than hope however slim 636

  5. Jeanette Jeanette says:

    No rating I read about a fourth and then skim read about half His tone and attitude is so much accusatory and chicken little that what particles of real information that I can get about island isolation and other historic evolutionary boundaries is lost within his sarcasm and blaming Not for me his attitude nor his disrespect He writes of humans as if they were bacteria He actually fat shames too tourists or any one who he sees as action or appearance worthy for ridicule Those beefy Australians etc I did get one nugget out of this And that is that line of demarcation between species types that runs between those two islands placed in that line near east end of the general Java area And how one is on land continental bridge and one is not So despite there being only 20 miles between them these two islands the history and evolution of their animal and especially mammal types are entirely different Obviously one of the islands the west one it has traveled there and was once part of the continent itself While the other never was It also needs an immense edit as so many of the page after page tangent asides and travelogue minutia that has absolutely nothing to do with the title focus has been included Why? Then title it appropriately as a travelogue? It still doesn't work IMHO And it doesn't help that he sees ecosystems as rather stuck in time features; he has uite a few dated theories as belief cores on top of itIt's truly bad when a scientist becomes so negative and sour that they write with this tone as a near constant As if humans should all just take numbers in some lottery fashion and commit suicide by 75% and then the rest should go back to live in caves so that no other species has a disadvantage Nature LAUGHS at his attitude in truth Because before homo and ever since homo there have always been majority species extinctions At some points almost 80 or 90% of all living things botany as well as biology have evolved to other forms or had their own categories become extinct NOTHING is ever in freeze frame He knows this Too much angry ire to sift through here in order to get to the observational science IMHO Others may surely want to sift I do not

  6. Jen Jen says:

    One of my all time favorite books this was a re read by my favorite natural history author Anyone who likes Stephen Jay Gould or Howard Zinn style writing will enjoy David uammen Not only is it beautifully written it intertwines stories of the development of the theory of evolution with modern scientific research and travel and serves as a call to arms to save the last great wild places

  7. brian dean brian dean says:

    A fantastic book whose only flaw is that it reuires the reader to keep track of various storylinesLet's get my only complaint out of the way uammen does a good job of making us feel like we are part of the investigation into island biogeography but he does so by mixing several storylines together These are the participants locations and the time they occur as they occur in the first unitWallace's 1856 trip from Singapore to Lambokuammen's recent trip to LambokNicolo di Conti's trip to to the Malay ArchipelagoThe ark and creationWallace's trip againuammen in MadagascarLyle and Darwin in Englanduammen in Madagascar againCharles Lyell's trip 1856 to the Madieras Atlantic OceanDarwin's Beagle travels 1831Wallace in Brazil 1848uammen's travels in Brazil modernWallace in Malaysia 1854Wallace in Dobo 1857 Aru Islands all this in Unit 1The book ends with uammen in the Aru islands around 140 years after WallaceMaybe breaking the stories into bite sized pieces makes them digestible but uammen's own trip in Malaysia takes about 50 pages and is spread out over 630 pagesI guess that's the difference between a very interesting book on modern science and a not so interesting science textbook And this book is interesting Every little piece fits together nicely and explains the subject wellI like the way the author followed in the tracks of the people he writes about I certainly felt a bit of a thrill in Australia inland of Sydney reading Darwin's account of the Beagle voyage and seeing the same sights he did He described how he saw convicts working the stone to make steps and around Katoomba I saw those very steps I had the same feeling while traveling across Canada and reading a history of Canada I read it as I crossed the Rockies and really got a feel for how important the railway was in a way that I didn't in history classThe subject is the ecology of islands but it is much than that Almost any place on earth can be described as an island for various animal groups National parks in Korea and elsewhere are islands of wilderness in an urban or agricultural sea Caves are islands; how do cave species cross lighted ground to another cave? Mountain tops are islands separated by valleys and valleys can be islands separated by mountains Lakes are islands and deep areas in those lakes can also be islands separated from other deep areas by shallow areas One species of snake described in the book lived only in riffles or fast moving water in a few rivers Those sets of rapids were separated by slow moving water that was home to larger snakes that preyed on them Suburban residential blocks are grassy islands that are surrounded by treacherous asphaltSome animals can travel from island to island Most birds but surprisingly not all fit this group Small predators like foxes or raccoondogs can also cross from one wilderness to another Large predators or herbivores cannot Tigers bears and deer all have trouble crossing from safe harbor to safe harborA key part of island biogeography is determining how many species can live on an island Typically the number of species on an island remains the same even while some species die out and new ones enter This part of the book reminded me of my biology classes at university where I studied evolution but apparently forgot a lot until this book much grippingly refreshed my memory If you want to learn about evolution this is the bookThe other side of new species evolving is older species going extinct In most of history the number of new species appearing eualed the number disappearing Now the extinction rate has increased 100 times and the end of the book has the reuired warnings and doom and gloom; To despair of the entire situation is another reasonable alternativeThe content of this book affects Korea There is a lot about the appropriate size of wildlife parks Signs at Seorak Park claim there are bears in the park and Chilisan National Park has had researchers trying to find bears there They may exist but are there enough to maintain a longterm population? As a ualified estimate from the book a population of 50 is reuired to maintain a healthy population I suppose the book could be used as justification for turning the whole DMZ into a park come reunification Breaking it into farmland or even crossing it with highways will significantly reduce it's usefulness to large bodied wildlifeIf you are interested in travelling to almost any island this book will tell you about that island Again if you want to understand evolution this is the book If you are interested in the pragmatic details of wilderness conservation this is the book

  8. Stephen Stephen says:

    I have owned a copy of “The Song of the Dodo” for several years but at 625 pages 178 chapters it seemed a bit daunting to dive into There never seemed to be enough hours in the day But after reading uammen’s ”The Reluctant Mr Darwin” I felt it was time to give it a go And go I did I think a good editor could have probably cut this tome down to 623 pages which is my backhanded way of saying that TSOTD is a monumental book on natural history well worth the time you need to invest into all 178 chapters You'll never look at the natural world in the same way again uammen does a skillful job of balancing scientific chapters with his worldly travels and adventures taking us to exotic places around the globe with historical or environmental significance But the real power in the book is his exploration into the development of ecology basically beginning when the science found its chops ie the data it had been collecting was actually put to use After finishing “The Song of the Dodo” I feel that I have earned the euivalent of a PhD in island biogeography I wonder if I can use this on my résumé? If I had read this book 25 years ago I would have found my way to an ecology department at some universityEarly in the book the author describes the stack of photocopies of scientific papers “weighing eighteen pounds including the staples” he has on his desk By his own admission he could have used the assemblage in the back of his truck to provide extra weight on icy roads in winter but instead uammen chose to read them and synthesize the information for us; presenting them in layman’s terms explaining the jargon minimum viable population area species relationships euilibrium theory inbreeding depression et cetera Lucky for us he did By the end of the book we have a real sense of just how endangered endangered species really are The dodo was only one of the first to go Powerful book David uammen can write compelling science with a sense of humor This is a six star book but I only have five to award

  9. Ms.pegasus Ms.pegasus says:

    This is a book about history Animals and plants that once were and are no and how we should interpret that fact When the uestion “Why?” was asked a new science was born uammen spends considerable effort building a context for this science At first there were only observations lists of features catalogues of previously unknown species Haphazard collections of these curiosities of nature captured the interest of Victorian naturalists Volumes were filled The list of new species seemed interminable All of this was happening against a backdrop of belief in religious doctrine Special creation an earth whose age was reckoned in terms of thousands rather than millions of years and of course Noah's ark One scholar tried to accommodate the crowd with a new ark design “a boxy three story structure resembling a Super 8 motel beneath which appears no trace of a hull Unuestionably it would have allowed efficient division of space into many stalls and cages but it doesn't look seaworthy By the end of the seventeenth century naturalists were aware of 500 bird species 150 uadruped species and about 10000 species of invertebrates Fifty years later when Linnaeus began putting things in order those numbers were still growing uickly Linnaeus himself named and catalogued almost 6000 species The ark was overbooked” Chapter 5Despite their unsystematic methodologies some began to discover patterns As early as 1772 Johann Reinhold Forster noticed that big islands seemed to harbor diverse species than small islands Why? Alfred Russel Wallace wrote in the 1850's that old islands had uniue endemic species than newer ones Why? Mammals on isolated islands tended toward dwarfism while reptiles tended toward gigantism eg Pleistocene miniature elephants on Sicily and the modern Komodo dragon respectively Again why? Looking for those answers fed the new scienceConjecture about reasons for speciation and extinction have shifted in context and conceptual framework over time uammen defines contextualizes and illustrates a list of specific processes his “insular menu” that are critical to understanding the process of speciation and of extinction For adaptive radiation he offers the story of the tenrec an insectivore which branched into over 30 species all dwelling exclusively on Madagascar To highlight the significance of reproductive isolation he recounts Wallace's examination of two neighboring islands Bali and Lombok The wildlife of Bali was similar to the wildlife of Borneo; on nearby Lombok a dissimilar array of families were variants of New Guinea's The split later named the Wallace line ran the length of the Malay Archipelago and the key piece of information would later be found in the geologic origins of the archipelago To illustrate dispersal uammen describes the repopulation of Rakata the barren aftermath of Krakatoa The 30 pound ground dwelling dodo that once inhabited Madagascar is a classic case of loss of defensive adaptation Examined separately each of these processes appears obvious They become complicated because in the real word they do not operate separately In case after case uammen demonstrates how an obvious hypothesis morphs into a complicated historical process once the facts are examined If there is a single lesson to be learned it is that speciation and extinction are not simple processesA conceptual focus of his book is the species area relationship It is a reworking of the relationship between island size and species diversity noticed by Foster It's the reason uammen begins with island biogeography The area of an island is easily computed The 18th century intuitive conjecture received mathematical support in the 20th century when Philip Darlington censused amphibian and reptile species in the Antilles His data based generalization was that the division of area by ten divides amphibian and reptile fauna by two Chapter 108 Frank Preston an engineer and conservationist summarized his observations about relative abundance of a species into another mathematical formula the canonical distribution of commoness and rarity Fortunately uammen focuses on the implication of Preston's conclusion rather than the mathematical model “ 'it is not possible to preserve in a State or National Park a complete replica on a small scale of the fauna and flora of a much larger area' ” Chapter 109 Why? The answer relies on making the distinction between a sample and an isolate Preserves may begin as samples They end up as isolates Isolates reduce immigration to the value of zero a major disruption to the immigration extinction balance It's a chilling conclusion if the hypothesis is correctA descriptive science was struggling to become a predictive science The defining moment was the euilibrium model developed by Robert MacArthur and EO Wilson in the 1960's They uantified the factors controlling extinction and immigration on an island in order to predict species impoverishment The prediction implied a set point of euilibrium The second leap they made was the analogy between actual islands and ecological islands – habitats separated by physical barriers “literal islands surrounded by water are only one sort of insular situation Also to be considered are virtual islands surrounded by other kinds of barrier” Chapter 122 A corollary of this model is that there is a balance between immigration and extinction back to the isolate vs sample distinction and that this balance can be expressed mathematically James Brown studied small mammals in the American Great Basin region Again uammen summarizes “Insularization for the Great Basin mountaintop communities entailed an inexorable decline in diversity Does this sound ominous? Does it sound familiar? The same phenomenon would eventually be known by various labels one of which is ecosystem decay” Chapter 122 Once the connection between habitat fragmentation and insularity was made the field of applied biogeography was launched It's a controversial field Elouently supported by Wilson and Jared Diamond the resulting models are still only hypotheses Despite uammen's obvious leanings he carefully lays out the position of opponents It's a controversy that is fraught with conseuence Misapplication of the model will be an executioner's axe for species deemed “unviable” prematurely The crux of the matter is Can something as complex as biodiversity ever be reduced to a workable model? uammen has written a truly scientific book for the unscientific layperson He intersperses essays with the flavor of travelogue and colorful biographical sketches of key field researchers with the tough scientific hypotheses they are investigating and succeeds in holding the reader's interest through all of some seven hundred plus pages He addresses the emotional roots of conservation with hard science Yes all species are not eual Some like the panda are charismatic to the general public But there is a larger context that will affect their survival That context includes examination of rare highly specialized and vulnerable species To understand the survival of this broader category we need to understand the real world of species dynamics Thus uammen is able to link emotional with ethical and scientific concerns That link is elouently expressed when uammen visits Dan Simberloff the leading critic of the euilibrium model as proposed by Jared Diamond Simberloff stopped visiting the Florida Keys sites of the Mangrove experiments he once conducted with EO Wilson “'I was driving down to one of the field sitesI came off Seven Mile bridge passed over the first keyfrom Missouri Key I would see the trees of Ohio Key Instead of Ohio Key I didn't see anything Then when I got to the end of Missouri Key I could see that the reason was there were no trees there The entire key which would have been in the range of four acres had been leveled and cleared It was now all crushed coral It had been turned into a trailer parkI was so' He pauses He starts again 'I drove right over it into the next key which is Bahia Honda where the state park is And I pulled over and cried I couldn't handle it It was just so sad And it so epitomized what was happening in the KeysThat's why I stopped working there' he says” Chapter 138This is not an easy book The material is an assemblage of 178 untitled chapters grouped into ten broad headings The first hundred pages is devoted almost entirely to Wallace's contribution vs Darwin's to the theory of natural selection The chapters jump back and forth in time as uammen seeks to tie together each concept with both historical antecedents and modern day field research The most vivid chapters are anecdotal such as a dicey foray into the interior of Komodo Island after watching a feeding staged for the tourists uammen finds a guide to take him to Loh Sabita Valley “where the deer are not tame the water is not bottled goat carcasses don't fall from the sky and the komodos still live by their skill as hunters” Chapter 45 Another memorable story is the mysterious saga of bird extinction on Guam uammen accompanies a herpetologist on his nightly rounds uammen is such a vivid writer that the casual reader could be satisfied merely to be entertained by these tales However the attempt to understand the harder scientific implications is well worth the extra effort and a lot of effort is reuired due to the embedded structure of this book I found it necessary to approach the material as if reading a textbook taking notes at the end of each chapter in order to follow the scientific thread A google search reveals that several study guides to the book are available The book is assigned reading in several college courses uammen's intent however is obviously to draw the general reader into the realm of real science As with all such books the reader's gain will be proportional to his effort and in the end well rewardedNOTES Interesting comments from college students who read the book as part of their classhttpwwwcoloradoedujournalismceAn annotated bibliography of books about environment and conservation scienceI recommend reading the paper edition of this book Many of the islands mentioned are uite small and obscure There are a number of helpful maps in the book which are difficult to view on an e reader Some supplemental maps online can be found for Aru wwwpeterloudcoukindonesiaaru2gif; and the islands of Flores and Timor

  10. Brie Brie says:

    I have a liberal arts degree My little sister is studying conservation biology She gave me this book and it interested me so much that I want to go back to school and study science now

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