In a world occupied by creatures as diverse as gorillas, amoebas, herons, ticks, tapirs, and sea bass, the great variety of life in evidence throughout the animal kingdom is simply awe-inspiring. Scientists now believe that over 10 million species exist, inhabiting every corner of the earth--from the deserts of death valley to the depths of the Pacific Ocean to the arctic climes of Greenland. Some live for a day or less, others for more than a hundred years; some live underground, others in trees; some eat only plants, others only meat. But as diverse as the world's collection of animals may seem, they share the same problems of survival and rely on the same principles of existence. For example, all species--from the smallest one-celled paramecium to the great blue whale--must feed, evade capture, maintain chemical stability within their bodies, and reproduce. Highlighting both the fascinating differences and striking similarities that come together in the animal kingdom, this engaging and up-to-date encyclopedia takes a close look at the biological and evolutionary processes that have shaped animal life from its very beginnings to the present.
Richly illustrated and uniquely user-friendly, the encyclopedia features 48 essays, each designed to highlight basic knowledge about a key subject. Taken together, the essays comprise an exceptional overview of the animal kingdom that is accessible to students, browsers, and science enthusiasts alike. Topics as varied as the diversity of species, basic life processes, feeding, movement, growth and reproduction, and communication are all given lively, authoritative treatments.
The book also contains a 32-page mini-encyclopedia that defines key terms highlighted in the main essays, a "timechart" that traces the development of studies of the animal kingdom from its earliest days to the present, a unique "knowledge map" that shows graphically how biology overlaps with other sciences such as ecology and genetics, and a special section that brings together a wealth of hard data in the form of attractive tables and graphs.
Never before has the study of animal life been so comprehensively presented to such a wide variety of readers. With Animal Life: Form and Function in the Animal Kingdom in hand, students and general readers alike will have an invaluable guide to the remarkable animal kingdom at their fingertips.