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Lost Worlds: Adventures in the Tropical Rainforest: 05/16/10

cover art

Bruce M. Beehler is an ornithologist specializing in the birds of Papa New Guinea. Lost Worlds: Adventures in the Tropical Rainforest is a memoir of his career.

I keep hoping to find another science memoir like Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin and Beehler's book comes close but still doesn't hit the mark. There are a few moments in the book that I wish were the norm for it.

For example one early chapter ends with a side note about a poisonous bird who might be the key to understanding the toxin that makes the poison dart frog so deadly. The bird eats beetles that contain a toxin nearly identical to the frog toxin. The current theory is that the frogs and the beetles eat a mold and that mold is ultimately the source of these posions.

Mostly though the book is about the places he's been and his mishaps and misadventures while trying to do his field studies. These anecdotes are nice to give a feel for what it's like to start a career but by themselves don't make for a particularly interesting science memoir.

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Comment #1: Monday, May, 17, 2010 at 19:16:37


It sounds like the kind of book I would immediately pick up. Too bad it didn't live up to your expectations. I still might give it a try though, sounds interesting nonetheless.

Comment #2: Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 22:05:91


I blame some of my disappointment on the shelving choice at my library. It's really more a memoir than a science book. Had I expected a memoir, I would have liked it more.

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