216 pages, colour photos, illustrations
Personal, anecdotal, and highly engaging, Watching Giants opens a window on a world that seems quite like our own, yet is so different that understanding it pushes the very limits of our senses. Elin Kelsey's colourful first-person account, drawing from her rich, often humorous, everyday experiences as a mother, a woman, and a scientist, takes us to the incredibly productive waters of the Gulf of California and beyond, to oceans around the world. Kelsey brings us along as she talks to leading cetacean researchers and marine ecologists about their intriguing discoveries.
We encounter humpback whales that build nets from bubbles, gain a disturbing maternal perspective on the dolphin-tuna issue, uncover intimate details about whale sex, and contemplate the meaning of the complex social networks that exist in the seas. What emerges alongside these fascinating snapshots of whale culture is a dizzying sense of the tremendous speed with which we are changing the oceans' ecosystems – through overfishing, noise pollution, even real estate development. Watching Giants introduces a world of immense interconnectivity and beauty – one that is now facing imminent peril.
"An appealing, agitating foray into the world of whales that ignites both protective instincts and a hungry curiosity to know more."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Cogent, compassionate [...] Brilliant at pursuing seemingly unrelated trails back down the blowhole, Kelsey illuminates the "humanity" of whales."
– Publishers Weekly
"Engaging portrayal of the lives and culture of whales."
– The Economist
"Charming [...] Will be of interest to all whale and dolphin watchers."
Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Extreme Motherhood 2. A Sea of Milk 3. Looking for Whales in All the Wrong Places 4. Resident Aliens? 5. How to Make a Really Rich Sea 6. Popular Mechanics: What Chimpanzees and Dolphins Can Teach Us about Tools 7. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Smartest One of All? 8. Building Nets from Bubbles and Other Mysterious Talents of Humpback Whales 9. Do Baby Sperm Whales Suck Milk through Their Noses? 10. Deep Culture 11. What's the Use of Granny? 12. Dolphin Snatchers 13. Friendly Mothers, Friendly Calves? 14. The War on Fish 15. Why Blue Whales Gotta Be Big 16. What You Can See by Listening 17. What You Can Learn from the Dead 18. Let's Talk about Sex, Baby 19. Missing Meat 20. Shifting Scale Notes Index
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Elin Kelsey is the author of Saving Sea Otters, Finding Out about Whales, Strange New Species, and other books. She consults for environmental organizations including the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). She is a faculty member in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University in Canada.