Mammals: a Very Short Introduction


Author: T. S. Kemp
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198766947
Category:
Page: 160
View: 7014
DOWNLOAD NOW »
From a modest beginning in the form of a little shrew-like, nocturnal, insect eating ancestor that lived 200 million years ago, mammals evolved into the huge variety of different kinds of animals we see today. Many species are still small, and follow the lifestyle of the ancestor, but others have adapted to become large grazers and browsers, like the antelopes, cattle, rhinos, and elephants, or the lions, hyaenas, and wolves that prey upon them. Yet others evolved to be specialist termite eaters able to dig into the hardest mounds, or tunnel creating burrowers, and a few took to the skies as gliders and the bats. Many live partly in the water, such as otters, beavers, and hippos, while whales and dugongs remain permanently in the seas, incapable of ever emerging onto land. In this Very Short Introduction Tom Kemp explains how it is a tenfold increase in metabolic rate - endothermy or "warm-bloodedness" - that lies behind the high levels of activity, and the relatively huge brain associated with complex, adaptable behaviour that epitomizes mammals. He describes the remarkable fossil record, revealing how and when the mammals gained their characteristics, and the tortuous course of their subsequent evolution, during which many bizarre forms such as sabre-toothed cats, and 30-tonne, 6-m high browsers arose and disappeared. Describing the wonderful adaptations that mammals evolved to suit their varied modes of life, he also looks at those of the mainly arboreal primates that culminated ultimately in Homo sapiens. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Teeth: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Peter S. Ungar
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199670595
Category: Medical
Page: 144
View: 6964
DOWNLOAD NOW »
Teeth are amazing - the product of half a billion years of evolution. They provide fuel for the body by breaking apart other living things; and they must do it again and again over a lifetime without themselves being broken in the process. In this Very Short Introduction, Peter S. Ungar, an award-winning author and leading scientist, presents the story of teeth. Ungar outlines the key concepts, including insights into the origin of teeth and theirevolution. Considering why teeth are important, he describes how they are made, and how they work, including their fundamental importance in the fossil record. Ungar finishes with a review of mammal teeth, looking athow they evolved and how recent changes to our diet are now affecting dental health.

Animal Behaviour

A Very Short Introduction
Author: Tristram D. Wyatt
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198712154
Category: Science
Page: 146
View: 8106
DOWNLOAD NOW »
Animal behaviour is a central topic of zoology, and with the development of ideas concerning the role of genes as well as environment the subject has been transformed. Tristram Wyatt gives a modern view, including a sense of the power of gene knock-outs, computing and image analysis to enable detailed experiments and observations of behaviour.

The Animal Kingdom: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Peter Holland
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199593213
Category: Science
Page: 126
View: 2610
DOWNLOAD NOW »
Molecular biology has revolutionized our understanding of animals and their evolution. In this Very Short Introduction, Peter Holland provides an authoritative summary of the modern view of animal life, its origins, and the new classification resulting from DNA studies.

Reptiles: A Very Short Introduction


Author: T. S. Kemp
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192529013
Category: Science
Page: 144
View: 625
DOWNLOAD NOW »
For millions of years reptiles have walked, crawled, and slithered over the face of our Earth. From the mighty dinosaurs who dominated the land, the pterosaurs who took to the air, and the marine adapted ichthyosaurs, to the living reptiles today such as the lizards, snakes, crocodiles, and turtles, plus the single species of tuatara in New Zealand, reptiles have come in all shapes and sizes. In this Very Short Introduction Tom Kemp discusses the adaptations reptiles made to first leave the sea and colonise the land in dry conditions, such as their waterproof skin, their ability to expel almost dry waste products, their efficient use of external heat for maintaining their body temperature, and the amniotic egg that is laid and develops on dry land. Considering the different living groups of reptiles today, Kemp then describes how their respective bodies are adapted for their different ways of life, from snake feeding patterns to the way crocodiles breathe. Finally, Kemp assesses the threat of extinction to reptile species due to over-exploitation, habitat destruction, and climate change, and considers what can be done. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Dinosaurs: A Very Short Introduction


Author: David Norman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192804197
Category: Medical
Page: 176
View: 6259
DOWNLOAD NOW »
This is the first accessible book to explain the most recent findings in dinosaur reasearch. It tells the story behind the exciting scientific discoveries that have built up a picture of how dinosaurs looked, what they ate, and how they moved and interacted with each other.

Hormones

A Very Short Introduction
Author: Martin Luck
Publisher: American Chemical Society
ISBN: 0199672873
Category: Science
Page: 136
View: 746
DOWNLOAD NOW »
Hormones are vital to the workings of the body, and while many people are aware of what hormones do, few have an appreciation of the nature and importance of the endocrine system. In this very short introduction, Martin Luck explains what hormones are, what they do, where they come from, and how they work.

Marine Biology: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Philip V. Mladenov
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199695059
Category: Science
Page: 156
View: 4268
DOWNLOAD NOW »
In this Very Short Introduction, Philip Mladenov provides a fascinating overview of marine biology. Including a tour of marine life and marine processes that ranges from the polar oceans to tropical coral reefs, he outlines the principles of marine biology whilst demonstrating the fundamental impact humans have on the oceans and their ecology.

Blood: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Chris Cooper
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191665177
Category: Science
Page: 144
View: 6925
DOWNLOAD NOW »
Blood is vital to most animals. In mammals it transports oxygen and food, carries away waste, and contains the white cells that attack invading microbes. Playing a central role in life, it has had profound cultural and historical significance and plays an important role in religious ritual. Blood was one of the four humours in early Western medicine and is still probably the major diagnostic tool in the doctor's armoury. In this Very Short Introduction, Chris Cooper analyses the components of blood, explains blood groups, and looks at transfusions, blood tests, and blood-borne diseases. He considers what the future may hold, including the possibility of making artificial blood, and producing blood from stem cells in the laboratory. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Developmental Biology: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Lewis Wolpert
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199601194
Category: Science
Page: 132
View: 7364
DOWNLOAD NOW »
"A concise account of what we know about development discusses the first vital steps of growth and explores one of the liveliest areas of scientific research."--P. [2] of cover.

Synthetic Biology: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Jamie A. Davies
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019252528X
Category: Science
Page: 144
View: 2343
DOWNLOAD NOW »
Synthetic biology is one of the 21st century's fastest growing fields of research, as important for technology as for basic science. Building on traditional genetic engineering, which was restricted to changing one or two genes, synthetic biology uses multi-gene modules and pathways to make very significant changes to what cells can do. Synthetic biologists aim to have an impact in fields as diverse as drug manufacture, biofuel production, tackling pollution, and medical diagnostics. Further ahead, synthetic biology may even make possible the long-standing goal of creating new life from non-living starting materials. This Very Short Introduction provides a concise explanation of what synthetic biology is, and how it is beginning to affect many fields of technology. Jamie Davies also discusses the considerable controversies surrounding synthetic biology, from questions over the assumption that engineering concepts can be applied to living systems easily, to scepticism over the claims for commercial promise, fears that the dangers of engineering life are worse than its benefits, and concerns over whether humans should be designing living systems at all. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Veterinary Science


Author: James Yeates
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198790961
Category: Medical
Page: 160
View: 9314
DOWNLOAD NOW »
Every year billions of animals, from housecats to racehorses to pythons, are treated by veterinarians. The use of veterinary science to treat the health of animals has a long history; for the past five centuries it has developed as our understanding of animals' fundamental biology, pathology, and pharmacology has grown. Rapid global changes expected in the twenty-first century will require the profession to respond proactively, embracing new challenges and opportunities. James Yeates, Chief Veterinary Officer of the RSPCA, introduces the field of veterinary science, covering the history of its scientific and clinical aspects from early practices to recent challenges such as the outbreak of BSE and antibiotic resistance, and considering the differences between human medicine and veterinary medicine. Analyzing the key roles played by diagnosis, treatment, and prevention with regard to the health of farm animals and pets, he relates this to wider aspects concerning public health, such as zoonoses (diseases that jump from animals to humans). Yeates also covers recent "One Health" approaches involving the health of both humans and animals, seen as synergistic, and discusses the challenges for the future of veterinary medicine, including the ethical dilemmas in balancing the interests of owners and animals when they do not coincide. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Circadian Rhythms

A Very Short Introduction
Author: Russell Foster,Leon Kreitzman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198717687
Category: Science
Page: 144
View: 5021
DOWNLOAD NOW »
The earth's daily rotation affects just about every living creature. From dawn through to dusk, there are changes in light, temperature, humidity, and rainfall. However, these changes are regular, rhythmic and, therefore, predictable. Thus, the near 24 hour circadian rhythm is innate: a genetically programmed clock that essentially ticks of its own accord. This Very Short Introduction explains how organisms can -know- the time and reveals what we now understand of the nature and operation of chronobiological processes. Covering variables such as light, the metabolism, human health, and the seasons, Foster and Kreitzman illustrate how jet lag and shift work can impact on human well-being, and consider circadian rhythms alongside a wide range of disorders, from schizophrenia to obesity. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Very Short Introductions Blog Book


Author: Oxford University Press
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191056243
Category: Science
Page: N.A
View: 3378
DOWNLOAD NOW »
In this free Very Short Introductions Blog Book we’ve gathered 30 of our VSI authors’ very best blog posts on topics including history, politics, science, and more. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the passion, insight, and great writing that characterizes these authors and the Very Short Introductions series.

The Eye

A Very Short Introduction
Author: Michael F. Land
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199680302
Category: Science
Page: 105
View: 5221
DOWNLOAD NOW »
In this Very Short Introduction, Michael Land introduces all aspects of the eye and vision in both human and animals. He looks at the features of the human eye and retina, explores the evolution of eyes, and considers aspects of visual perception, including eye movements, vision in three dimensions, colour vision, and visual recognition.

Evolution: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Brian Charlesworth,Deborah Charlesworth
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191577669
Category: Science
Page: 160
View: 6167
DOWNLOAD NOW »
Less than 450 years ago, all European scholars believed that the earth was the centre of a universe that was at most a few million miles in extent, and that the planets, sun, and stars all rotated around this centre. Less than 250 years ago, they believed that the universe was created essentially in its present state about 6000 years ago. Less than 150 years ago, the special creation by God of living species was still dominant. The relentless application of the scientific method of inference from experiment and observation, without reference to religious, or governmental authority has completely transformed our view of our origins and relation to the universe, in less than 500 years. Few would dispute that this programme has been spectacularly successful, particularly in the twentieth century. This book is about the crucial role of evolutionary biology in transforming our view of human origins and relation to the universe, and the impact of this idea on traditional philosophy and religion. The purpose of this book is to introduce the general reader to some of the most important basic findings, concepts, and procedures of evolutionary biology, as it has developed since the first publications of Darwin and Wallace on the subject, over 140 years ago. Evolution provides a unifying set of principals for the whole of biology; it also illuminates the relation of human beings to the universe and each other. In addition, many aspects of evolution have practical importance; for instance, the rapid evolution of resistance by bacteria to antibiotics and of HIV to antiviral drugs are pressing medical problems. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Sleep: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Steven W. Lockley,Russell G. Foster
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191620343
Category: Health & Fitness
Page: 160
View: 9074
DOWNLOAD NOW »
Why do we need sleep? How much sleep is enough? What is sleep? What happens when we don't get enough? We spend about a third of our lives asleep - it plays a crucial role in our health and wellbeing. References to sleep abound in literature and art, and sleep has been recognized as fundamental to the human condition for thousands of years. Over the past century, our knowledge of how sleep occurs, what it does, and what happens to our health if we do not have enough has developed hugely. The impact of poor sleep on our quality of life is also gaining recognition and the prevalence of sleep disorders in the population appears to be increasing as we live ever stressful lives. This Very Short Introduction addresses the biological and psychological aspects of sleep, providing a basic understanding of what sleep is and how it is measured, looking at sleep through the human lifespan and the causes and consequences of major sleep disorders. Russell G. Foster and Steven W. Lockley go on to consider the impact of modern society, examining the relationship between sleep and work hours, and the impact of our 24/7 society. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The History of Life: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Michael J. Benton
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191578789
Category: Science
Page: 184
View: 9474
DOWNLOAD NOW »
There are few stories more remarkable than the evolution of life on earth. This Very Short Introduction presents a succinct guide to the key episodes in that story - from the very origins of life four million years ago to the extraordinary diversity of species around the globe today. Beginning with an explanation of the controversies surrounding the birth of life itself, each following chapter tells of a major breakthrough that made new forms of life possible: including sex and multicellularity, hard skeletons, and the move to land. Along the way, we witness the greatest mass extinction, the first forests, the rise of modern ecosystems, and, most recently, conscious humans. Introducing ideas from a range of scientific disciplines, from evolutionary biology and earth history, to geochemistry, palaeontology, and systematics, Michael Benton explains how modern science pieces the evidence in this vast evolutionary puzzle together, to build up an accessible and up-to-date picture of the key developments in the history of life on earth. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Eine kurze Geschichte der Menschheit


Author: Yuval Noah Harari
Publisher: DVA
ISBN: 364110498X
Category: History
Page: 528
View: 8472
DOWNLOAD NOW »
Krone der Schöpfung? Vor 100 000 Jahren war der Homo sapiens noch ein unbedeutendes Tier, das unauffällig in einem abgelegenen Winkel des afrikanischen Kontinents lebte. Unsere Vorfahren teilten sich den Planeten mit mindestens fünf weiteren menschlichen Spezies, und die Rolle, die sie im Ökosystem spielten, war nicht größer als die von Gorillas, Libellen oder Quallen. Vor 70 000 Jahren dann vollzog sich ein mysteriöser und rascher Wandel mit dem Homo sapiens, und es war vor allem die Beschaffenheit seines Gehirns, die ihn zum Herren des Planeten und zum Schrecken des Ökosystems werden ließ. Bis heute hat sich diese Vorherrschaft stetig zugespitzt: Der Mensch hat die Fähigkeit zu schöpferischem und zu zerstörerischem Handeln wie kein anderes Lebewesen. Anschaulich, unterhaltsam und stellenweise hochkomisch zeichnet Yuval Harari die Geschichte des Menschen nach und zeigt alle großen, aber auch alle ambivalenten Momente unserer Menschwerdung.

Sexual Selection: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Marlene Zuk,Leigh W. Simmons
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191084417
Category: Science
Page: 144
View: 4294
DOWNLOAD NOW »
What is responsible for the differences between the sexes in so many animals, from the brilliant plumage of birds of paradise to the antlers on deer? And why are the traits that distinguish the sexes sometimes apparently detrimental to survival? Even when they look more or less alike, why do males and females sometimes behave differently? Questions like these have intrigued scientists and the public alike for many years, and new discoveries are showing us both how wildly variable the natural world is, and how some basic principles can help explain much of that variation. Like natural selection, sexual selection is a process that results from differential representation of genes in successive generations. Under sexual selection, however, the crucial characteristics that determine whether an individual reproduces depend on sexual competition, rather than survival ability. This Very Short Introduction considers the history of our understanding of sexual selection, from Darwin's key insights to the modern day. Considering the investment animals place on reproduction, variation in mating systems, sexual conflict, and the origin of sexual dimorphism, Marlene Zuk and Leigh Simmons discuss questions such as whether females can really choose between males on aesthetic grounds, and how sexual conflict is resolved in different species. They conclude with a consideration of the thorny question of how, and even if, sexual selection theory applies to humans. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.