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    Every Creeping Thing: True Tales of Faintly Repulsive Wildlife: “Conniff is a splendid writer–fresh, clear, uncondescending, and with never a false step; one can’t resist quoting him.” (NY Times Book Review)

    The Species Seekers:  Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth by Richard Conniff is “a swashbuckling romp” that “brilliantly evokes that just-before Darwin era” (BBC Focus) and “an enduring story bursting at the seams with intriguing, fantastical and disturbing anecdotes” (New Scientist). “This beautifully written book has the verve of an adventure story” (Wall St. Journal)

    Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time by Richard Conniff  is “Hilariously informative…This book will remind you why you always wanted to be a naturalist.” (Outside magazine) “Field naturalist Conniff’s animal adventures … are so amusing and full color that they burst right off the page …  a quick and intensely pleasurable read.” (Seed magazine) “Conniff’s poetic accounts of giraffes drifting past like sail boats, and his feeble attempts to educate Vervet monkeys on the wonders of tissue paper will leave your heart and sides aching.  An excellent read.” (BBC Focus magazine)

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The Species Seekers Quiz: Inside Jefferson’s White House

Posted by Richard Conniff on January 12, 2012

What did Thomas Jefferson keep in the East Room of the White House?

1.  A collection of mastodon bones.

2.  Silver crafted by Paul Revere.

3.  The largest library of natural history books in North America.

4.  A conference table made of petrified wood.

And the answer is

A collection of mastodon bones.

Jefferson sent off a letter, carried by Daniel Boone, to his friend George Rogers Clark, commander of the Army of the West, asking him to collect specimens from Big Bone Lick, a sulphur-smelling patch of marsh near the Ohio River in Kentucky.  The first —and only successful— shipment from Clark arrived at the White House in March of 1808.  Jefferson had these fossils spread out in a large otherwise unused room that later would become known as the East Room.  (It was a step up from John and Abigail Adams, who had hung their laundry there.)


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