Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle

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Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle

by Thor Hanson

Basic Books | May 31, 2011 | Hardcover

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Feathers are an evolutionary marvel: aerodynamic, insulating, beguiling. They date back more than 100 million years. Yet their story has never been fully told.

In Feathers, biologist Thor Hanson details a sweeping natural history, as feathers have been used to fly, protect, attract, and adorn through time and place. Applying the research of paleontologists, ornithologists, biologists, engineers, and even art historians, Hanson asks: What are feathers? How did they evolve? What do they mean to us?

Engineers call feathers the most efficient insulating material ever discovered, and they are at the root of biology''s most enduring debate. They silence the flight of owls and keep penguins dry below the ice. They have decorated queens, jesters, and priests. And they have inked documents from the Constitution to the novels of Jane Austen.

Feathers is a captivating and beautiful exploration of this most enchanting object.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 352 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.25 in

Published: May 31, 2011

Publisher: Basic Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0465020135

ISBN - 13: 9780465020133

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– More About This Product –

Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle

by Thor Hanson

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 352 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.25 in

Published: May 31, 2011

Publisher: Basic Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0465020135

ISBN - 13: 9780465020133

About the Book

The natural and cultural history of how people, birds, and the feather came together

From the Publisher

Feathers are an evolutionary marvel: aerodynamic, insulating, beguiling. They date back more than 100 million years. Yet their story has never been fully told.

In Feathers, biologist Thor Hanson details a sweeping natural history, as feathers have been used to fly, protect, attract, and adorn through time and place. Applying the research of paleontologists, ornithologists, biologists, engineers, and even art historians, Hanson asks: What are feathers? How did they evolve? What do they mean to us?

Engineers call feathers the most efficient insulating material ever discovered, and they are at the root of biology''s most enduring debate. They silence the flight of owls and keep penguins dry below the ice. They have decorated queens, jesters, and priests. And they have inked documents from the Constitution to the novels of Jane Austen.

Feathers is a captivating and beautiful exploration of this most enchanting object.

About the Author

Thor Hanson is a conservation biologist, Switzer Environmental Fellow, and member of the Human Ecosystems Study Group. His first book, The Impenetrable Forest: My Gorilla Years in Uganda, won the 2008 USA Book News Award for nature writing. Hanson lives with his wife on an island in Washington State.

Editorial Reviews

Robert Michael Pyle, author of  Wintergreen  and  Mariposa Road “ Feathers  is simply a splendid book! Even for one biased toward butterfly scales, their closest competitors in the animal raiment line, feathers in all their glory can only be seen as astonishing. With elegance and wit, Thor Hanson captures not only their awesome esthetics, but also the astonishing evolution, historical and cultural impact, and sheer wonder of avian plumage. Rendered in exquisite detail with delicate touch, like a feather-painting of old, this is the best kind of natural history—quilled by a real field biologist who is also a fine writer.” Bernd Heinrich, Emeritus Professor of Biology, University of Vermont; author of  Winter World  and  Mind of the Raven “Feathers are truly remarkable. In this book Hanson shows how they are the key to many of the most fascinating and diverse aspects of bird biology, how they have affected our understanding of evolution, and how they have and are enriching our everyday lives. This is science written in clear and entertaining prose; a great read.”   Frank B. Gill, author of  Ornithology “Thor Hanson has captured the wonders of feathers in gripping prose that will likely change forever how you look at birds and their colorful adornments. This is rich and engaging ornithology at its best.”   Garth Stein, author of  The Art of Racing in the Rain &ldq
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