The Elephant's Secret Sense: The Hidden Life of the Wild Herds of Africa (Paperback)

The Elephant's Secret Sense: The Hidden Life of the Wild Herds of Africa Cover Image
$15.00
On Our Shelves Now
Book Passage, Corte Madera Store
On hand as of Dec 5 8:45am
(NATURE & ENVIRONMENT)

Description


While observing a family of elephants in the wild, Caitlin O’Connell noticed a peculiar listening behavior—the matriarch lifted her foot and scanned the horizon, causing the other elephants to follow suit, as if they could “hear” the ground. The Elephant’s Secret Sense is O’Connell’s account of her groundbreaking research into seismic listening and communication, chronicling the extraordinary social lives of elephants over the course of fourteen years in the Namibian wilderness.
            This compelling odyssey of scientific discovery is also a frank account of fieldwork in a poverty-stricken, war-ravaged country. In her attempts to study an elephant community, O’Connell encounters corrupt government bureaucrats, deadly lions and rhinos, poachers, farmers fighting for arable land, and profoundly ineffective approaches to wildlife conservation. The Elephant’s Secret Sense is ultimately a story of intellectual courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
 
“I was transported by the author’s superbly sensuous descriptions of her years spent studying the animals. . . . Conjures a high-class nature documentary film in prose.”—Steven Poole, Guardian
 
“A ride as rough and astonishing as the roads of the African floodplain.”—Joan Keener, Entertainment Weekly
 
“A successful combination of science and soulfulness, explaining her groundbreaking theory of how elephants use seismic communication. . . . O’Connell’s account is studded with sympathetic insights and well-turned phrases.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“This fascinating book reads like a fast-paced detective story of a scientific discovery and adventure set in contemporary Africa. . . . By the end, O’Connell takes her rightful place among the leading biographers of the African elephant.”—Iain Douglas-Hamilton, author of Among the Elephants  

About the Author


Caitlin O’Connell is a faculty member at Stanford University School of Medicine. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Boston Globe, National Geographic, and Discover, among many others. She lives in San Diego.

Praise For…


“Our author sleeps in blinds, pores through elephant dung, darts and collars elephant matriarchs, puts zoo elephants on force plates to send vibrations to their feet, even cuts up a frozen elephant to search for vibration-sensitive cells in its toes and heels. . . . A compelling memoir of how a small but fascinating biological discovery is made, from a momentary observation to a fully presented theory.”
— Anthony Doerr

“I was transported by the author’s superbly sensuous descriptions of her years spent studying the animals. . . . Conjure[s] a high-class nature documentary film in prose.”
— Steven Poole

“A ride as rough and astonishing as the roads of the African floodplain.”
— Joan Keener

“A successful combination of science and soulfulness, explaining her groundbreaking theory of how elephants use seismic communication. . . . [O’Connell’s] account is studded with sympathetic insights and well-turned phrases.”
— Publishers Weekly

“This fascinating book reads like a fast-paced detective story of a scientific discovery and adventure set in contemporary Africa. . . . By the end, [O’Connell] takes her rightful place among the leading biographers of the African elephant.”
— Iain Douglas-Hamilton, author of Among the Elephants

"Effective communicators of science are scarce and O'Connell provides a valuable contribution in the form of a realistic and compelling description of international field work. Those interested in Africa or elephants in general will be rewarded."
— Jason Munshi-South
Product Details
ISBN: 9780226616742
ISBN-10: 0226616746
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: September 1st, 2008
Pages: 264
Language: English