Birds do it. Bees do it. Educated fleas? Yes, them too. But how do they pick their partners, or convince one another to do it with them? And after they do it, what comes next? All this, of course, is fair game for those who study animal behavior, as well as a wide range of other interesting subjects that Tristram D. Wyatt presents in his new “Animal Behavior; A Very Short Introduction.”
I defy you to find more than a handful of people who can provide a clear and relatively easy-to-comprehend explanation of gravity and its effects. Not just the basic “Newton’s apple” material most of us learned in school, but the deeper, universe-spanning phenomena in which it plays a role.
What is the purpose of studying an unfamiliar living creature? Is it to confirm what others have previously declared to be true about it, or is it to examine the creature in and of itself to discover what is true about it? And how does one interpret something that obviously once was alive but that resembles nothing known to presently exist – particularly if the idea of extinction does not fall within your understanding of how nature functions?
“Science is about the Age of Rocks, religion tells us about the Rock of Ages” – or so the late Dr. Stephen J. Gould is frequently quoted as having written. It’s a clever quip – one I’ve heard often repeated, both humorously and seriously; however…