Following the fascinating history of the crocodile, this story tells the tale of an ancient animal whose ancestors have roamed the earth since the time of the dinosaurs. Addressing the true nature of this intriguing animal, this resource explores its evolutionary survival, the 23 living species in the world today, and the extinction they face due to habitat intrusion. Also explored are the myths and legends surrounding crocodiles and the vicious reputation they have amongst humans. Kelly, an Australian writer and science teacher, gives readers a thorough tour of crocodilian evolution in this lively biological biography. Kelly builds her scientific investigation on a solid cultural foundation, by introducing the crocodile through folk tales of indigenous Australians, Africans, Americans and South Asians; similarly, fossils showing crocodilies have changed very little in more than 200 million years adds relevance to the old stories and weight to the sobering fact that, today, mankind has managed to kill off many crocodilian species that eons of natural selection never could. Among chapters on biology, featuring photos and drawings of characteristic behavior and skeletal structures, Kelly covers the scientific minds who came before her, such as 19th century naturalists Sir Richard Owen and Thomas Huxley ("Darwin's Bulldog"), who feuded famously over still-unresolved taxonomy issues. In addition, Kelly recounts the tales of famous crocodile hunters and infamous attacks on humans by crocodilians, discusses the continuing demand for crocodile hides and meat and investigates crocodile farming in relation to other types of animal husbandry. Kelly's treatment is clever, entertaining and complete, making this a fine read and a great example of species history done right.
Review "Superbly readable and exceptionally well-researched." - Choice
"Equivalent to a thorough nature documentary. . . . Readers will come away knowing quite a bit about the crocodile." - Library Journal
About the Author Lynne Kelly is an educational consultant in science, mathematics, and computing. She is the author of Avenging Janie and The Skeptic's Guide to the Paranormal.