Review of The Princeton Encyclopedia of Mammals

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Mammals, edited by David W. Macdonald is a massive masterpiece. At over 900 pages, this stunning volume covers all living mammals, some 5,096 mammalian species.

The Encyclopedia is a splendid balance of science and readability, “. . . the true stories of wild mammals are so fascinating as to require no embellishment: the reality of evolution renders our wildest fables dull by comparison.” Take any section on any family and you are bound to discover incredible facts and crave to learn more.

Throughout this fabulous reference book are full color photos and illustrations. Some of the shots depict behaviors rarely observed of some truly magnificent species. Each family section is introduced thoroughly and includes the number of species within that family. The families are organized taxonomically, grouping closely related mammals. Who knew that the large rodent-like Hyraxes are closely related to elephants?!

The family sections also include “Factfiles” which cover distribution (including a map), habitat, size, diet, breeding, longevity, and conservation status. “Special Features” are sprinkled throughout and cover interesting behaviors, adaptations, conservation programs, scientific studies, etc. in much greater depth than the main text.

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Mammals is a naturalist’s dream of readily consumable knowledge. There are so many factoids to discover that you’ll struggle to put this book down, if only to rest your arms.

Every student and naturalist should own this book!

Check out our review on The Princeton Encyclopedia of Birds, another must for every naturalist young and old. It covers some 9,850 species with over one thousand color photos. The quality is superb just like Mammals.

We received a review copy of this book from the distributor. Links are Amazon affiliate links.

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