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Any tips for a beginner?

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by LucasReynesMatt, 4 Jun 2015.

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  1. LucasReynesMatt

    LucasReynesMatt New Member

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    I am a painter living and working in London and have recently embarked on a project to make a modern day bestiary (a kind of medieval encyclopedia of animals). I have been researching animals and evolution for about six months now, reading books by Konrad Lorenz, Richard Dawkins and more recently Edward O Wilson. I have learnt much from these books about animals and their behaviour but I am now trying to find more detailed information on specific animals to use in my Bestiary.

    This is where I have begun to have trouble as much of what I find on the internet is either too basic or too academic to be of use to me. For instance I am interested in the pygmy gecko (Coleodactylus amazonicus) but if I type in it's common name on my search engine, I get large amounts of pages all with the same info (usually about how it can stand on water) and if I type in it's Latin name I get academic papers that either I don't understand or are about a very specific aspect of the gecko which is too involved for me.

    This has been the case for other animals I have tried to look into though I have had better luck with some. The kind of information I want would be a good overview of the animal's phsyiognomy, habitat and habits. It is also important for me that I can cite the information I find so unfortunately this rules out wikipedia which I have used a lot in my preliminary research.

    The kind of animals I am looking into are very varied and many are nowhere near as obsure as the pygmy gecko (e.g crows, foxes, cows) but it would still be nice to have a more general scientific overview of these instead of having to read whole books as to do this with the amount of animals I am hoping to write about would take an age!

    Does anyone have any tips or advice on how I might go about finding this kind of information?

    Thanks

    Lucas
     
  2. cracker

    cracker Well-Known Member

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    Not sure if you've come across this website but it's quite good and gives other references too, might be useful?


    ADW: Home
     
  3. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    For birds I would recommend the online version of Handbook Birds of the World. You may have heard of the print version which is hugely expensive compared to the annual subscription to the online version (which I have and is necessary to view all of the information) of only 20 dollars. It gives quite a bit of information about every bird species in the world and there is a recommended citation given at the bottom of each species' page.

    Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive | HBW Alive
     
  4. Ned

    Ned Well-Known Member

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  5. Ned

    Ned Well-Known Member

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    There are often citations for much of the information in Wikipedia, you could turn to the original sources.
     
  6. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    As far as I know, there is no single resource which will provide everything you may want.

    The Tree of Life Web Project has one approach Tree of Life Web Project

    Zipcode Zoo may suit you better (although it is rather American) ZipcodeZoo

    Don't forget Wikipedia, it may have most of the details you need (but I would search by scientific name).

    Alan
     
  7. LucasReynesMatt

    LucasReynesMatt New Member

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    Thanks very much to everyone for your replies which are all helpful. I have had a look at the websites people mentioned which all seem interesting as well as looking up the Handbook Birds of the World which seems extensive and I think will come in handy.

    I suppose on thinking about it what would be useful at this stage is an extensive animal encyclopaedia. The ZSL library is within convenient distance and I imagine that they have good ones but does anyone know any in particular that are worth trying?
     
  8. Macaw16

    Macaw16 Well-Known Member

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    I have a number, I would recommend these three the most;
    [ame="http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1405362332/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_3?pf_rd_p=569136327&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1405315601&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_r=13TMTEYGTXAD3PQQ1HYR"]Animal: Amazon.co.uk: DK: 9781405362337: Books[/ame]

    [ame=http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Natural-History-Book-DK/dp/1405336994/ref=pd_sim_14_5?ie=UTF8&refRID=04WXSA3EVNQQ2YQFKYTX]The Natural History Book: Amazon.co.uk: DK: 9781405336994: Books[/ame]

    [ame="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Encyclopedia-Animals-Complete-Visual-Guide/dp/1740897781/ref=pd_cp_14_2"]Encyclopedia of Animals: A Complete Visual Guide: Amazon.co.uk: Schodde, tait and Vogt Cooke Dingle Hutchinson Mckay: 9781740897785: Books[/ame]

    All are rarely expensive, although I got most of mine at a reduced price from WHSmith (or The BookPeople), so I would try there.
     
  9. dean

    dean Well-Known Member

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  10. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    I have copies of all three of the above books and to be honest, I'm not sure it's worth purchasing them. I personally find having incomplete lists of species somewhat frustrating and would rather have a book that thoroughly does one group of animals than a general overview with just examples. Of course, that may just be me :p.
     
  11. Macaw16

    Macaw16 Well-Known Member

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    I agree, I do like them though, and the bits which aren't species profiles, are interesting. (And the tree frog one is worth it for the art;)).