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Good cetacean books/guides?

Discussion in 'TV, Movies, Books about Zoos & Wildlife' started by TheMightyOrca, 29 Jan 2015.

  1. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    A while back, I started a little blog about wild cetaceans. News, information, that sort of thing. On the side bar, I put a "Books and other Resources" section, but I only have a few books listed: Audubon Society Guide to Marine Mammals, Collins Nature Guides to Whales and Dolphins, and a guide I have for Marine and Freshwater Fish of the World. (the title is misleading; it also has information on reptiles and mammals) I'm trying to get more active on the blog, and I'd love to fill out that Books and Resources section. If you guys know of any good ones, I'd love to hear about them. Even better if you can post a few other things about them, like, I put that the Audubon guide is very comprehensive, while the Collins guide is a small book and easy to take on whale-watching trips.

    I'm also considering putting a separate section for TV and film documentaries, so if you have any really good ones, I'd be happy for suggestions.
     
  2. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Probably the best book available is the fourth volume of Handbook of the Mammals of the World, which focuses specifically on marine mammals - pinnipeds, sirenians and cetaceans.
     
  3. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member

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  4. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I agree with the previous posters that the fourth volume of "Handbook of the Mammals of the World" is the best book on cetaceans; this book has the added advantage of covering pinnipeds and sirenians too.

    Two other cetacean books that I like are:-

    The Sierra Club Handbook of Whales and Dolphins (Leatherwood and Reeves; 1983)

    Sea Guide to Whales of the World ( Lyall Watson; 1981)

    However, one aspect of Watson’s book irritates me; he objects to using the generally accepted common names of cetacean species if they feature a person’s name. Hence instead of using, for example, Commerson’s dolphin or Burmeister’s porpoise he coins his own name for these species.
     
  5. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Quite; this affectation (for affectation it is) is one of the reasons I did not deign to suggest this book above :p

    His refusal to use the common names for species does not stop at those featuring a person's name either; in a number of cases he coins a new name purely because he feels the common name is ugly.

    For instance, the Narwhal is here named the Unicorn Whale, and the Ginkgo-Toothed Beaked Whale renamed the Japanese Beaked Whale.
     
  6. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    ... That's pretty weird. What's wrong with narwhal?
     
  7. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    The name is derived from the Old Norse word nár, meaning "corpse" :p
     
  8. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    Is he one of those people that likes to call orcas "sea pandas"? Cause even the friendlier-than-killer-whale orca comes from the scientific name "Orcinus orca", which roughly translates to "a kind of whale from the underworld". (on a side note, I'm in favor of calling them Hellwhales)
     
  9. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    He calls Orcinus orca the Great Killer Whale, as a contrast to the Pygmy and False.
     
  10. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    I've never heard that one before. I'm not really one to criticize, though, I like to call them murderwhales. (it's like killer whale, but cooler. I've been hoping it would catch on but it doesn't seem there are any early adopters)
     
  11. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Another interesting book on cetaceans is:-
    • Whales, Dolphins & Porpoises: A Natural History and Species Guide (Editor: Annalisa Berta)
    which was published in 2015 although I saw it on sale today for the first time.

    This volume is well illustrated with a picture of every cetacean species.

    For those who already own the marine mammal volume of Handbook of the Mammals of the World purchasing this book too is probably an unnecessary extravagance but, at first glance, it appears to be a very attractive publication....
     
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