Jul 11, 2007

Animal Skulls: A Guide to North American Species

Not my typical summer reading fare, but interesting enough to this biology enthusiast to warrant plucking from the library's new books shelf. In Animal Skulls, author Mark Elbroch passionately shares everything he knows about finding, identifying, cleaning, preserving, and gleaning insight from animal skulls--and just how important their study has been to evolutionary biology.

Along the way, Elroch gives a short history of bone collecting, noting its decline in the early days of DNA analysis, and its resurgence as bones were recognized as a treasure house of genetic material. Sadly, many museum collections are either in disrepair or lack qualified oversight because of a dearth of funding and of qualified osteologists.

Whether you're a budding naturalist itching to collect skulls in the wild, or just need to identify the skull your uncle sent you as a gag gift, you'll appreciate Elbroch's thorough treatment and the book's top-notch illustrations.

I must point out that I am not the Jim Anderson mentioned on pages 98-99, a professional skull collector and world record holder. I wish I were.

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