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
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780735224568
Format Type:

About Nick Pyenson


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

  • Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

    Spying on Whales is a beautifully written introduction to the immersive world of whales. From their ancestry to their future, the beauty and evolution of these magnificent creatures as well as their a...

  • Juli

    I've always had a fascination with whales, dolphins and other mammals that live in the sea. I think maybe it's because they are so like us, and yet so different at the same time. When I saw this book ...

  • Mary  Carrasco

    When I think about whales, I get excited. What amazing, majestic HUGE creatures! They hold a very symbolic meaning for me and so I couldn't wait to get this book. The book itself is still fascinating ...

  • Peter Tillman

    First-rate popular-science book, may be the best I’ve read this year. Highly recommended, if you are interested in whales, marine biology and/or paleontology. If, like me, you like all three — don...

  • Cher

    4 stars - It was great. I loved it. Did you know that whales used to walk on land before returning to the water?Oh the rabbit holes this book led me down….googled until my googler was sore. Easy to ...

  • 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. ...

  • Alicia

    With a glut of science books focused on humans’ curiosity with the animal world, I am in awe. The ocean is just one big ball is amazingness that has yet to really be explored because it tests our li...

  • Stephanie

    SPYING ON WHALES: Teaching the Heart of Sciencehttp://fangswandsandfairydust.com/201...The author and whale paleobiologist provides a fascinating look at the when and what of his work.I voluntarily re...

  • Dustin Rottier

    Won this book in a Goodreads giveaway from Viking books. This is a relatively quick, easy read packed with scientific data and anecdotes. Author is a paleontologist and rightfully includes his experti...

  • Edward Canade

    I liked it. I like whales and I felt like I learned some about their evolution, habits and and the effects of whaling and climate change on their chances for survival. Nick Pension intentionally wrote...