Monday, January 13, 2014

Nonfiction Monday: The Dolphins of Shark Bay, by Pamela Turner

Last week we commented on the popularity of dinosaur books. Dolphins aren't quite at that level, but there is no denying the interest humans have in these smiling, playful creatures. Most people know dolphins are considered highly intelligent - but, why? What about a dolphin's life in the wild requires more brain power than many other animals?
The Dolphins of Shark Bay
In this book, Turner follows scientist Janet Mann and others as they study and get to know a large community of dolphins over the course of decades. I've read a fair bit on dolphins, but learned a dozen things I hadn't known in just the first few pages (did you know young female dolphins will steal anotherdolphin's newborn, just for kicks?). Turner's quick-paced, storytelling style make up for the small print that may throw off reluctant readers at first.
fascinating information throughout, presented very accessibly to the non-scientifically-minded (i.e., me). Oh, and if you are curious as to the answer to the original question, a lot of it seems to boil down to this passage:
"Perhaps you've heard the saying, 'Necessity is the mother of invention." Among dolphins, invention is sometimes a necessity of motherhood." (pg. 32)
(or, for the male dolphins, it boils down to posturing and alliances that make any season of Survivor look like child's play).
The end pages include plenty of web sites to offer more information, including the official site for the Shark Bay Project, as well as an update on some of the humans and dolphins we met. (I will admit to feeling much relief about Fin.) Librarians may have to hand-sell this a bit because of the afore-mentioned small print, but I think readers who take them up on it will not be disappointed. Definitely one to add to your collection!

1 comment:

  1. This looks like an interesting one. Thanks for telling me about it.