For millennia these mighty beasts lived in isolation on remote oceanic islands such as the Galapagos, Seychelles and Mauritius. From the sixteenth century, the discovery that tortoises were good to eat and their strategic location led to a wholesale plunder of their population by ships making long voyages. Later, Victorian scientists became fascinated by these creatures, and from wondering why it was that such large animals were always to be found on remote islands came the first understanding of ecology and biogeography. It was the giant tortoise that directly inspired Darwin to create his theory of natural selection. Could a tortoise which Darwin took from the Galapagos in 1835 still be alive today in an Australian zoo? Indeed many people have become fascinated with these gentle giants. We learn why the French were surrendered the island of Mauritius but baulked at handing over their mascot tortoise and why the discovery of some dodo bones inspired Victorian scientists to launch a 'save the tortoise campaign'. The twentieth century saw the establishment of wildlife reserves in the Galapagos and elsewhere but it was too late for many species.Paul Chambers shows how modern genetics has been able to track down members of what were once believed to be extinct populations of these magnificent creatures.
'Pacy, light-footed, graceful and diverting... be grateful to Chambers for bringing so much information about it into one accessible place.' -- Tom Fort, Sunday Telegraph 20040627 'A wonderful exploration of the history of this gentle giant ... Lovingly researched and engagingly narrated' -- P D Smith, The Guardian 20040731 'Chambers' volume is entertaining, elegiac and anything but plodding. With wonderfully arcane asides ... this is a surprisingly revelatory volume' -- Scotland on Sunday 20040704 'Hugely entertaining' -- Daily Telegraph 20040828 'Quirky ... an enjoyable account of an intriguing creature' -- The Scotsman 20040807 'This book is as entrancing as the creature it describes' -- Independent 20050408 'Very readable and full of engrossing anecdotes' -- New Scientist 20050402 'An entertaining volume with a fascinating look into the giant tortoise's history and evolution.' -- Sunday Telegraph 20050327 'A delightful tribute' -- Guardian 20050409
About Paul Chambers
Paul Chambers has a PhD in Micropalaeontology from University College, London, and has worked in London's Natural History Museum. He is now a freelance writer and scientific consultant and has just finished working on the sequel to the BBC's successful 'Walking With Dinosaurs' series.
A Sheltered Life by Paul Chambers
Used - Very Good
John Murray Press
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine.