Spying on Whales by Nick Pyenson

Spying on Whales

The Smithsonian's star paleontologist takes us to the ends of the earth and to the cutting edge of whale researchWhales are among the largest, most intelligent, deepest diving species to have ever lived on our planet. They evolved from land-roaming, dog-like creatures into animals that move like fish, breathe like us, can grow to 300,000 pounds, live 200 years and roam entire ocean basins. Whales fill us with terror, awe, and affection--yet we kn...

Details Spying on Whales

TitleSpying on Whales
Release DateJun 26th, 2018
GenreNonfiction, Science, Animals, Environment, Nature, History

Reviews Spying on Whales

  • Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
    Spying on Whales is a beautifully written introduction to the immersive world of whales. From their ancestry to their future, the beauty and evolution of these magnificent creatures as well as their adaptability, influence and importance to their and other ecosystems is explored in easy terms anyone can understand. This is the endeavor of Nick Pyenson, a paleontologist and curator at the Smithsonian Institute, who shares his passion for whales an...
  • Juli
    I've always had a fascination with whales, dolphins and other mammals that live in the sea. I think maybe it's because they are so like us, and yet so different at the same time. When I saw this book written by a Smithsonian paleontologist, I knew I had to read all about the past, present and future of whales. I'm glad I did -- this book is fascinating!Nick Pyenson shares so many facts about whales...species that still swim in our oceans and ones...
  • Mary Carrasco
    When I think about whales, I get excited. What amazing, majestic HUGE creatures! They hold a very symbolic meaning for me and so I couldn't wait to get this book. The book itself is still fascinating but exciting? Not so much. Written by a scientist, it reads a bit like a science book. Nick Pyenson was extremely thorough in laying out the evolution of whales. I'm sorry to say it wasn't enough to keep my attention for long periods of time. I'm sti...
  • Cher
    4 stars - It was great. I loved it. Did you know that whales used to walk on land before returning to the water?Oh the rabbit holes this book led me down….googled until my googler was sore. Easy to read (not dry at all) with fascinating tidbits. I love that the author makes you aware of what has been done by humans, along with what might happen due to humans (pros and cons), without being preachy or condescending. ------------------------------...
  • Steve Nolan
    I think having read "The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs" right before reading this really soured this one for me - there was more paleontology in this book than there was in the dino book.
  • Stephanie
    SPYING ON WHALES: Teaching the Heart of Sciencehttp://fangswandsandfairydust.com/201...The author and whale paleobiologist provides a fascinating look at the when and what of his work.I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.At the heart of this book is the young man, the boy, whose curiosity led him to become a paleobiologist. Dr. Pyens...
  • Dustin Rottier
    Won this book in a Goodreads giveaway from Viking books. This is a relatively quick, easy read packed with scientific data and anecdotes. Author is a paleontologist and rightfully includes his expertise to help explain the natural history of whales and highlight many of the questions still not 100% understood about these marine giants. I love that the author shows how a scientist works through a problem through what may be taught as the scientifi...
  • Edward Canade
    I liked it. I like whales and I felt like I learned some about their evolution, habits and and the effects of whaling and climate change on their chances for survival. Nick Pension intentionally wrote in a style any layperson can understand. The author shares his personal experiences in his quest to learn about whales from direct interactions with both living and fossils of Cetaceans. Not only are some whales the largest beings to ever roam the e...
  • Caitlin
    Fascinating, easy read about these majestic animals. I found the evolutionary history and the author’s guesses as to where the different species of whales may lead to be the most interesting aspects of the book. Worth the read.
  • Awallens
    This book was very dry in places and I found the writing a bit scattered going from one thing to another. I wish it had been a little more linear.
  • Debbie
    I finished reading “Spying on Whales” by Nick Pyeson. I found it to be an informative book on everything whales. I learned quite a few new things about whales. Beautiful animals!
  • Natalie Keating
    This book is SO good! I have always been interested in whales and paleontologist Nick Pyenson definitely has a deep and abiding love for them that comes through in this book. He divides the book into three sections—past, present, and future—and writes eloquently about whales. Ancient whales that were fossilized, whales whose populations were decimated by whaling, and what the future may bring for whales in a world populated by more and more h...
  • Melissa McGuire
    Since i was little I always was so intrigued about whales. This book lived up to what I was expecting and I learned quite a fee new things.
  • Allen Adams
    http://www.themaineedge.com/tekk/spyi...Writing about science in a manner that is entertaining and accessible while also conveying the desired information with clarity and concision – not an easy task by any means. Finding the proper balance of wonky jargon and narrative engagement requires a backwards-and-forwards depth of knowledge about the subject matter AND significant storytelling acumen. It’s a shot at harmony while dodging discord.In ...
  • Evan
    I received an advance reading copy of this book, for free, through Goodreads First Reads program in exchange for my honest review.As the curator of fossil marine mammals at Smithsonian, there is no denying that Nick Pyenson is an expert in his field. The research he conducted while writing Spying on Whales: The Past, Present, and Future of Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures is meticulously documented in over 40 pages of notes at the end of the book...
  • Danielle
    Rating: 4.5/5 stars Appropriate for middle schoolers and aboveEspecially those interested in any sort of paleontology (not just whales).Parent Rating: GA deep look into a sub-field of paleontology that doesn’t get the attention that dinosaur hunters get, but with all the same mystery and appeal of the long-lost, as well as the largest of all time, creatures that shared our planet.Gives hope for amateur bone detectives and nascent Indiana Jones...
  • Danielle
    First, I listened to the audio book and didn't realize that the physical book is full of drawings and diagrams. I think this book would have been easier to follow if those diagrams had been provided to audio book listeners. Second, I had a hard time with the author describing hitching a ride with a whaling fleet out of Reykjavik. He gives many justifications that end with something along the lines of "if they're killing them anyway, at least let ...
  • Aaron Schmidt
    3.5 starsI find whales to be one of the most majestic and mysterious species on our planet. There is so much that we don't know about them, and their culture(s). The fact that I can say 'culture' when talking about whales is fairly unique in itself. There are not many families of organisms on this planet that can claim to have a culture. So, you could say I am a pretty big fan of the subject matter of this book.Onto the book itself. According to ...
  • EC2151
    Be aware that the book is mostly interested in facets of whale biology and fossilized whale bones. Vignettes and anecdotes about discovering whale fossils etc. fill out the tract. There is time given to discussing the process of tagging whales, how whales evolved to meet various different environmental challenges, and a final section on how whales can survive (or not) in the modern age.The text is rendered in a readable and approachable format. T...
  • Megan
    One of my first favourite books was The Whale Tale, which featured Kermit the Frog and his nephew Robin saving some whales from evil (pig) whalers. I also did a few projects on whales in elementary school; I've always been a fan of the giant marine mammals. My interest in maritime and nautical history has led me to read a bit about whales especially in the context of whaling, but I'm not at all knowledgeable about their biology. I learned a ton f...
  • James (JD) Dittes
    Pyenson here synthesizes a number of areas of science: evolutionary biology, marine biology, paleontology, and physiology to name a few.And what creature could inspire such a wide-ranging look into Nature's past, present, and future? It would have to be the whale.Pyenson takes the reader along to a road cut in Chile, where we learn about prehistoric whales and geologic changes to the Pacific coast of South America. My favorite chapter found him a...
  • Sheri S.
    Pyenson does a thorough job of exploring the ancient history of whales by going through their evolutionary changes as exemplified by fossil records. I particularly liked learning about the numerous whale bone deposits in Chile and thinking about how those bones ended up at that location. The author also covers the current state of whales and discusses possible reasons for the changes in whale sizes over the years. I found it interesting and sad (...
  • Read Ng
    This was a GoodReads giveaway win.This was a good and educational book of whales. I learned quite a bit about whales, but I have to admit that I never really took the time beforehand to study whales. This book is written in clear and easy to understand terms. At times I thought it was too simplified, but in reflection after reading the entire book, I think the story was well done.From the title, I was half expecting technology had gotten to the p...
  • Rick Jackofsky
    I saw this book listed as a Goodreads giveaway. I thought it looked interesting and I was pleasantly surprised when I got the email informing me that I was a a Giveaways winner. The copy I received was an "advance uncorrected manuscript", (hopefully the typos, were corrected before it went to press), typos, missing index, missing glossary, and blank (TK) Whale Lineage Diagram aside, I found this to be a very well written and informative essay. Th...
  • Liz
    By coincidence, my husband and I just returned from a trip to Iceland where we went on a whale watching excursion. The ecologist guide went into great detail about the whales we were able to see and supplied us with all sorts of interesting information but that was nothing compared to this book. This is a well-written study that lucidly describes the history, the physiology and, possibly, the future of this awesome creature. In addition, the desc...
  • Marcia
    I won this book on Goodreads. This is a fantastic book! Sometimes, very knowledgeable people can be boring in lectures and books. NOT SO for Mr. Pyenson! He is obviously an expert in his field, but he explains whales & their behaviors to those of us who have very little scientific background so well that almost anyone can follow along without a dictionary or doing other research. I don't think that most people would know that whales once were lan...
  • Arthur Stewart
    Dr. Nicholas Pyenson’s Spying on Whales (2018; Viking) is remarkably well-written: the book provides insights on these magnificent creatures through a delicate balance between personal experience and Deep Time evolutionary knowledge. By trade and passion a whale paleontologist and naturalist, Dr. Pyenson presents engaging accounts of whale physiology, ecology, behavior, evolution, and potential fate under global climate change. From arctic feed...
  • Leah Lodato
    A straightforward, easy read describing some pretty incredible animals and their future on this planet. There is a chapter in the epilogue called “A Family Tree Of Whales” which I wish had been in the front of the book because it would have helped with terminology. I found myself with my phone in hand looking up photos and videos of referenced species so images may have been helpful - but who doesn’t have a phone these days for such activit...
  • Dolly
    I won this on GoodReads.For those with an interest in whales and the study of whales, “Spying on Whales” by Nick Pyenson is a great read. It is a balanced blend of information about whales and what it is like to study them. For me, who finds whales interesting but has never studied them, this was a wonderful place to start. The author’s love of whales shines through on each page. Reading this would encourage a young person to pursue a caree...
  • Jim
    I won this book on Goodreads. I had a difficult time with this book, it just didn't really hold my interest. At first I was thinking, oh no not another book spewing global warming/climate change and the inaccuracies and political spin that surround it but thank God it was limited to just a few sentences about it here and there. There are some interesting facts about whales here but also some mundane as well. It is mostly a book on whale bones rat...