ANIMALS IN THE NIGHT: Senses in Action After Dark by J.H. Prince

ANIMALS IN THE NIGHT: Senses in Action After Dark

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KIRKUS REVIEW

How various animals' various sensory adaptations fit them for life in various darknesses (night, underground, underwater): light-emitting and-receiving organs, sound-emitting and-receiving organs, odor-and taste-receiving organs, the constellation of tactile organs. Although the role of the scientist is uncommonly understressed in the context of discovery by experimentation, there is a wealth of detail: e.g., re the functions of rhodopsin, retinene, and vitamin A in seeing, and luciferin and luciferase in light production. Regrettably, an outmoded teleological view of evolution is implicit throughout the book, suggesting that animals develop certain capacities and cast off others by way of preparing themselves to adjust to particular environments; thus, some ""Fish...are faced with an evolutionary choice: to develop eyes that are remarkably sensitive, or to discard them altogether and use some other sense to detect food and mates."" This reservation aside, the survey is instructive unto itself and especially important for its thematic collation -- of material usually treated in isolation (bioluminescence, for instance, or the radar of bats).

Pub Date: June 1st, 1971
Publisher: Nelson