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Hopkins Fulfillment Services


, 288 pages

34 color photos, 72 halftones, 10 line drawings

April 2014



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Usually ships 2-3 business days after receipt of order.


The Animal Answer Guide

Answering every conceivable question about sharks, authors Gene Helfman and George H. Burgess describe the fascinating biology, behavior, diversity (there are more than 1,000 species worldwide), and cultural importance of sharks, their close relationship to skates and rays, and their critical role in healthy ecosystems.

Helfman and Burgess take readers on a round-the-world tour of shark habitats, which include oceans as well as lakes and even rivers (as far up the Mississippi as St. Louis). They describe huge, ferocious predators like (Great) White and Tiger sharks and species such as Basking and Whale sharks that feed on microscopic prey yet can grow to lengths of more than 40 feet. The mysterious and powerful Greenland shark, the authors explain, reaches a weight of 2,200 pounds on a diet of seal flesh. Small (less than 2-foot long) Cookiecutter sharks attack other sharks and even take a chunk out of the occasional swimmer.

Despite our natural fascination with sharks, we have become their worst enemy. Many shark species are in serious decline and a number are threatened with extinction as a result of overfishing and persecution. Sharks: The Animal Answer Guide presents a perfect mix of current science, history, anthropology, intriguing facts, and gripping photographs. Whether your fascination with sharks stems from fear or curiosity, your knowledge of these animals will improve immensely when you consult this book.

Gene Helfman is a professor emeritus at the Odum School of Ecology's Program in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development, University of Georgia. He is co-author of Fishes: The Animal Answer Guide, also published by Johns Hopkins. George H. Burgess is coordinator of museum operations and director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

"Whether you fear sharks or just have a curiosity about them, Sharks: The Animal Answer Guide will home school you about these fascinating creatures that have been around for millions of years... Get a copy, you'll be glad you did."

"Why do sharks attack people? How often do attacks really occur? Must we really contemplate a visit to the beach with terror? Such questions come to mind as shark season approaches. Fortunately, the answer to these and many other shark questions can be found in Sharks: The Animal Answer Guide."

"A wonderfully written and informative book that will be sure to excite and stimulate a new generation of shark biologists for years to come."

"A delightful, engaging, easy-to-read book introducing the cartilaginous fishes and covering their diversity, life histories, and special adaptations, with many fabulous illustrations. The chapters on 'sharks and humans' and 'sharkology' are balanced and refreshing. Helfman and Burgess have certainly done justice to this diverse, interesting, and intriguing group of fishes."

"This book is sheer delight to read. The answers to every shark question imaginable are presented in wonderful depth. It’s a great book for anyone interested in a factual and broadly informative guide to all things "sharky." I highly recommend it."

"I most highly encourage that all interested not only purchase and read Sharks: The Animal Answer Guide themselves but that additional consideration be given to presenting a copy as a gift to anyone with an interest in sharks... Ignorance and error are indeed a darkness of the mind for which the easiest correction is the introduction of light. To that end, this book veritably glows."

"Sharks: The Animal Answer Guide is captivating without being too light, and includes all shark facts. The result is a lovely survey recommended for any interested in sharks."

"Johns Hopkins University Press has produced many fantastic 'animal answer guide' books on a wide range of animals, including geckos, turtles, and porcupines. Now comes Sharks -- and it may be the best of the bunch... [The] books is witty and clear, and should inspire a wide audience, young and old and laypersons and professionals... This is exactly the kind of book this reviewer would love to give to a child interested in studying sharks or marine biology."

"Underpinning a well-written and accurate book, what makes Sharks: The Animal Answer Guide so enjoyable was the palpable enthusiasm exhibited by both authors... Sharks: The Animal Answer Guide is written with a contagious passion that will undoubtedly inspire the public of our generation to learn about, protect, and conserve these magnificent denizens of the deep."

"If you know of an academic/scholarly colleague who harbours a long-standing interest in sharks, this book should be on your gift shortlist. It is so well-written and insightful (and inexpensive) that they will find hours of stimulating thought, including quite a few new ideas."

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