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 researchWhales 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 ent...

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

  • 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 written by a Smithsonian paleontologist, I knew I had to read all about the past, present and future of whales. I'm glad I did -- this book is fascinating!

    Nick Pyenson shares so many facts about whales...species that still swim in our oceans and ones that are long gone. He discusses the ancestors of

    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 written by a Smithsonian paleontologist, I knew I had to read all about the past, present and future of whales. I'm glad I did -- this book is fascinating!

    Nick Pyenson shares so many facts about whales...species that still swim in our oceans and ones that are long gone. He discusses the ancestors of the whales we know today, the life of whales now and what the future might be for some of the largest creatures on the planet. There is still so much about whales that we don't know because they spend most of their time in deep ocean where even modern humans have a hard time following. I found it fascinating that Pyenson shared the fact that some whales can live more than 200 years...so there are some still swimming that saw wooden ships with sails skimming across the ocean. It made me wonder with awe what experiences the oldest whale in the world might have had over its long life.

    There is a lot of information and facts shared in this book, and at times Pyenson does get a bit academic. I read this book in small pieces, not in large chunks. The information is interesting and fascinating. But at times, the author let his ego show a bit. I don't fault highly educated people for this at all....they have a lot of knowledge and experiences that I don't. For me, small doses is best with information dense nonfiction like this book. Every night I would read a chapter or two while the HD television across the room showed an ocean documentary for ambiance. It just so happened that I was reading this book while Shark Week was on Discovery Channel....so it worked out perfectly. Sharks aren't whales of course...but the lovely ocean scenes made a perfect background for my enjoyment of this book.

    Lovely book! A nice blend of Pyenson's personal experiences and facts, history and information about whales themselves. He presents the information in an interesting way. Pyenson actually gives tours at the Smithsonian. After reading his book, I imagine he is an awesome guide! Great read!

    **I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Penguin/Viking via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

  • 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 three sections—past, present, and future—and writes eloquently about whales. Ancient whales that were fossilized, whales whose populations were decimated by whaling, and what the future may bring for whales in a world populated by more and more humans.

    I think the most fascinating thing I read was ab

    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 three sections—past, present, and future—and writes eloquently about whales. Ancient whales that were fossilized, whales whose populations were decimated by whaling, and what the future may bring for whales in a world populated by more and more humans.

    I think the most fascinating thing I read was about the lifespan of bowhead whales. Pyenson demonstrates through scientific investigation that these massive creatures can live for over 200 years! They live in the Arctic and were hunted back when whaling was still legal (or rather, practiced a lot more than it is now).

    This book is not to be missed. If you don't like whales already, you will by the time you finish reading it!!!

  • 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.

  • 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 in a style any layperson can understand. The author shares his personal experiences in his quest to learn about whales from direct interactions with both living and fossils of Cetaceans. Not only are some whales the largest beings to ever roam the earth, but some also can live to 200 plus years. (N

    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 in a style any layperson can understand. The author shares his personal experiences in his quest to learn about whales from direct interactions with both living and fossils of Cetaceans. Not only are some whales the largest beings to ever roam the earth, but some also can live to 200 plus years. (Now don't go telling me about clams or sponges, or mushrooms being bigger or living longer.)

    So if you are looking for a primer on whales, this might just be a good book to start with.

  • Cher

    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 read (not dry at all) with fascinating tidbits. I love that the author makes you aware of what has been done by humans, along with what might happen due to humans (pros and cons), without being preachy or condescending.

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    We sent whalesong into

    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 read (not dry at all) with fascinating tidbits. I love that the author makes you aware of what has been done by humans, along with what might happen due to humans (pros and cons), without being preachy or condescending.

    -------------------------------------------

    We sent whalesong into interstellar space because the creatures that sing these songs are superlative beings that fill us with awe, terror, and affection. We have hunted them for thousands of years and scratched them into our mythologies and iconography. Their bones frame the archways of medieval castles. They’re so compelling that we imagine aliens might find them interesting — or perhaps understand their otherworldly, ethereal song.

    At this very moment, two spacecraft move at over thirty-four thousand miles per hour, about ten billion miles away from us, each carrying a gold-plated copper record.

  • 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.

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