strange behaviors

Cool doings from the natural and human worlds

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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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Why Field Biologists Do What They Do

Posted by Richard Conniff on September 18, 2014

I like this account of working in the natural world.  I found it in an article by Don Lyman, about field work in a New Jersey salt marsh. (That’s my old habitat.  And “ticks on the delicates”? Yes, I have been there, too.)  The speaker is Yoel Stuart, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas at Austin:

“We like being surprised by nature. We enjoy watching an organism conduct some behavior in the field that we could have never seen in the lab. We enjoy finding organisms living in places we never would have expected them, like kilometers under the Antarctic ice. We enjoy the adventure of getting to new places and discovering species new to science. We take great pleasure in understanding how species interact with each other in the wild as they find food, avoid predators, reproduce, and pass genes on to the next generation. Nature never ceases to amaze, so we always return to nature, where we pursue knowledge for knowledge’s sake. To many of us, that’s worth bloody knuckles,

scraped shins, whining mosquitoes, simultaneous sunburn and hypothermia, ticks on the delicates, and mud in the ears.”


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