Spying on Whales: The Past, Present, and Future of Earth's Most Awesome Creatures

Spying on Whales: The Past, Present, and Future of Earth's Most Awesome Creatures

The Smithsonian's star paleontologist takes us to the ends of the earth and to the cutting edge of whale research

Whales are among the largest, most intelligent, deepest diving species to have ever lived on our planet. They evolved from land-roaming, dog-like creatures into animals that move like fish, breathe like us, can grow to 300,000 pounds, live 200 years and roam entire ocean basins. Whales fill us with terror, awe, and affection--yet we know hardly anything about them, and they only enter our awareness when they die, struck by a ship or stranded in the surf. Why did it take whales over 50 million years to evolve to such big sizes, and how do they eat enough to stay that big? How did their ancestors return from land to the sea? Why do they beach themselves? What do their lives tell us about our oceans, and evolution as a whole? Importantly, in the sweepstakes of human-driven habitat and climate change, will whales survive?

Nick Pyenson's research has given us the answers to some of our biggest questions about whales. Nick's rich storytelling takes us to the cool halls deep inside the Smithsonian's priceless fossil collection, to the frigid fishing decks on Antarctic whaling stations, and to the blazing hot desert of Chile where scientists race against time to document the largest fossil whalebone site on earth. Spying on Whales is science writing at its best: an author who is an incredible, passionate writer, at the forefront of his field, on a topic that invokes deep fascination.

Title:Spying on Whales: The Past, Present, and Future of Earth's Most Awesome Creatures
ISBN:9780735224568
Format Type:

About Nick Pyenson


    Spying on Whales: The Past, Present, and Future of Earth's Most Awesome Creatures Reviews

  • Debbie

    I finished reading “Spying on Whales” by Nick Pyeson. I found it to be an informative book on everything whales. I learned quite a few new things about whales. Beautiful animals!...

  • Steve Nolan

    I think having read "The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs" right before reading this really soured this one for me - there was more paleontology in this book than there was in the dino book. ...

  • Melissa McGuire

    Since i was little I always was so intrigued about whales. This book lived up to what I was expecting and I learned quite a fee new things....

  • Allen Adams

    http://www.themaineedge.com/tekk/spyi...Writing about science in a manner that is entertaining and accessible while also conveying the desired information with clarity and concision – not an easy ta...

  • Evan

    I received an advance reading copy of this book, for free, through Goodreads First Reads program in exchange for my honest review.As the curator of fossil marine mammals at Smithsonian, there is no de...

  • Megan

    One of my first favourite books was The Whale Tale, which featured Kermit the Frog and his nephew Robin saving some whales from evil (pig) whalers. I also did a few projects on whales in elementary sc...

  • Natalie Keating

    This book is SO good! I have always been interested in whales and paleontologist Nick Pyenson definitely has a deep and abiding love for them that comes through in this book. He divides the book into ...

  • Rick  Jackofsky

    I saw this book listed as a Goodreads giveaway. I thought it looked interesting and I was pleasantly surprised when I got the email informing me that I was a a Giveaways winner. The copy I received wa...

  • Jim

    I won this book on Goodreads. I had a difficult time with this book, it just didn't really hold my interest. At first I was thinking, oh no not another book spewing global warming/climate change and t...

  • Bill Melville

    A pretty amazing cross-section of exploration into ancestral and modern whales. What we don't know about them is staggering. Pyenson's work at the Smithsonian places him on the forefront of discoverie...