On the Wing: Insects, Pterosaurs, Birds, Bats and the Evolution of Animal Flight

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9780199996773: On the Wing: Insects, Pterosaurs, Birds, Bats and the Evolution of Animal Flight

Ask anybody what superpower they wished to possess and odds are the answer just might be "the ability to fly." What is it about soaring through the air held up by the power of one's own body that has captivated humans for so long? David Alexander examines the evolution of flight in the only four animals to have evolved this ability: insects, pterosaurs, birds, and bats. With an accessible writing style grounded in rigorous research, Alexander breaks new ground in a field that has previously been confined to specialists. While birds have received the majority of attention from flight researchers, Alexander pays equal attention to all four groups of flyers-something that no other book on the subject has done before now. In a streamlined and captivating way, David Alexander demonstrates the links between the tiny 2-mm thrip and the enormous albatross with the 12 feet wingspan used to cross oceans.

The book delves into the fossil record of flyers enough to satisfy the budding paleontologist, while also pleasing ornithologists and entomologists alike with its treatment of animal behavior, flapping mechanisms, and wing-origin theory. Alexander uses relatable examples to draw in readers even without a natural interest in birds, bees, and bats. He takes something that is so off-limits and unfamiliar to humans-the act of flying-and puts it in the context of experiences that many readers can relate to. Alexander guides readers through the anomalies of the flying world: hovering hummingbirds, unexpected gliders (squirrels, for instance), and the flyers that went extinct (pterosaurs). Alexander also delves into wing-origin theory and explores whether birds entered the skies from the trees down (as gliders) or from the ground up (as runners) and uses the latest fossil evidence to present readers with an answer.

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About the Author:


David Alexander grew up near Dayton, Ohio, and earned a B.S. at the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. at Duke University. He has been on the faculty of the University of Kansas for over 20 years.

Review:


"dependably engaging" -- The Washington Post


"On the Wing: Insects, Pterosaurs, Birds, Bats and the Evolution of Animal Flight, is an excellent book. It is extremely well-written, and balances discussion of all four taxa like no other published treatise on animal flight. Moreover,it is accessible to the general public while still providing enough depth (and appropriate references) for anyone who wants to further examine the evolution of flight. This book is a must-read for all graduate students who plan to work on the evolution or biomechanics of flight, regardless of what lineage(s) they study." -- Integrative and Comparative Biology


"Alexander tells us that this book had a long gestation; he started writing it in 2002. But if the writing was difficult the reading is easy; the book ranks highly on that score. But Alexander has not compromised on the scientific content, and he gives all the different views he describes a fair hearing while not hesitating to say where his own preference lies. This is definitely a book that I shall be reading more than once." --ANTHONY CAMPBELL'S BOOK REVIEWS


"On the Wing would be an excellent introduction to the field for amateur birders and entomologists - or just the flight curious. Furthermore, while reading, I found myself designing an undergraduate seminar course, using the book as a foundation and introduction to supplemental primary research." --Bioscience


"This book provides a very accessible, well-illustrated synthesis of current understanding of how this most wondrous, rare, and beneficial of adaptations came to be. From birdwatchers to bug collectors, dinosaur enthusiasts, bat lovers, and even pilots, anyone with an interest in nature, evolution, and flight will enjoy this fascinating book. Highly recommended." --CHOICE


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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. From airplanes to birds, the phenomenon of flight has always amazed and mystified humans. Therefore, it is unsurprising that scientists have invested a substantial amount of research into unraveling the secrets of flight evolution. Over the course of the past decade, the science of flight evolution has recently experienced a research renaissance, most of the information has been confined to the ivory tower of academia. In On the Wing, David Alexander delves into the evolution of flight in each of the four animal groups that evolved powered flight: insects, pterosaurs, birds, and bats. Alexander presents and compares each group s evolutionary history, including diversification and partial or complete extinction, especially as related to flight. The evolution of flight in animals is fascinating story riddled with scientific controversy and colorful characters, from the incredible Archaeopteryx to the recently-discovered feathered dinosaur Microraptor. Chapter topics include aerodynamics, comparisons and contrasts among the powered flyers, and the ultimate evolution away from flight. Alexander even examines the surprisingly diverse group of gliding animals, including squirrels, snakes, and ants. Through rigorous yet accessible writing, Alexander offers a comprehensive and engaging account of the evolution of flight, from dinosaurs to modern birds. On the Wing will delight and inform everyone from bird lovers to dinosaur enthusiasts, and offers key insights into the perpetual mystery of flight. Codice libro della libreria AAC9780199996773

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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. From airplanes to birds, the phenomenon of flight has always amazed and mystified humans. Therefore, it is unsurprising that scientists have invested a substantial amount of research into unraveling the secrets of flight evolution. Over the course of the past decade, the science of flight evolution has recently experienced a research renaissance, most of the information has been confined to the ivory tower of academia. In On the Wing, David Alexander delves into the evolution of flight in each of the four animal groups that evolved powered flight: insects, pterosaurs, birds, and bats. Alexander presents and compares each group s evolutionary history, including diversification and partial or complete extinction, especially as related to flight. The evolution of flight in animals is fascinating story riddled with scientific controversy and colorful characters, from the incredible Archaeopteryx to the recently-discovered feathered dinosaur Microraptor. Chapter topics include aerodynamics, comparisons and contrasts among the powered flyers, and the ultimate evolution away from flight. Alexander even examines the surprisingly diverse group of gliding animals, including squirrels, snakes, and ants. Through rigorous yet accessible writing, Alexander offers a comprehensive and engaging account of the evolution of flight, from dinosaurs to modern birds. On the Wing will delight and inform everyone from bird lovers to dinosaur enthusiasts, and offers key insights into the perpetual mystery of flight. Codice libro della libreria AAC9780199996773

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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. From airplanes to birds, the phenomenon of flight has always amazed and mystified humans. Therefore, it is unsurprising that scientists have invested a substantial amount of research into unraveling the secrets of flight evolution. Over the course of the past decade, the science of flight evolution has recently experienced a research renaissance, most of the information has been confined to the ivory tower of academia. In On the Wing, David Alexander delves into the evolution of flight in each of the four animal groups that evolved powered flight: insects, pterosaurs, birds, and bats. Alexander presents and compares each group s evolutionary history, including diversification and partial or complete extinction, especially as related to flight. The evolution of flight in animals is fascinating story riddled with scientific controversy and colorful characters, from the incredible Archaeopteryx to the recently-discovered feathered dinosaur Microraptor. Chapter topics include aerodynamics, comparisons and contrasts among the powered flyers, and the ultimate evolution away from flight. Alexander even examines the surprisingly diverse group of gliding animals, including squirrels, snakes, and ants. Through rigorous yet accessible writing, Alexander offers a comprehensive and engaging account of the evolution of flight, from dinosaurs to modern birds. On the Wing will delight and inform everyone from bird lovers to dinosaur enthusiasts, and offers key insights into the perpetual mystery of flight. Codice libro della libreria BZE9780199996773

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