Photographs by Brian Kosoff
Skeleton of a Reticulated Python
From the perspective of an engineer admiring the girders of a bridge or the parts of a machine, Bones celebrates how animals work. In tribute to both the beauty and the mechanics of its subject, the book explores the structure, material, and movement of bones as they serve the design of living animals. It examines the composition of bones, looks at the joints and muscle attachments that allow for movement?including such elaborate mechanisms as fish jaws, rattlesnake fangs, and a lions retractable claws?and shows how the same bone is shaped wildly differently in a variety of animals.
A wealth of specially commissioned color plates complements the text. Their precise, luminous images range from the unusual (the skeleton of a pygmy flying squirrel) to the ordinary (the tailbones of a domestic cat), and from the enormous (the vertebra of a dinosaur) to the miniscule (the acoustic bones of a desert kangaroo rat).
Teeth of a Crab-eating Seal (Lobodon
Brian Kosoff is an award-winning still-life photographer whose studio is in New York City.
Mark A. Norell is Curator, Department Vertebrate of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
From the opening chapter on design to
the closing contemplation of an eagles skull, [Alexander] challenges
his readers to do more than just admire some 140 amazing photographs and
the text. Alexander sees bones both as marvels of engineering and beauty.
After a few hours with this book, the reader should share that feelingalong
with one of wonder.
Skull of Hydrolycus
The configuration of bones and skeletons
offers compelling examples of engineering principles and design. Evolution
has produced countless variations of features and functions based on the
same basic parts of the skeleton, and so bats suspend their wings on long
fingers while monkeys use their fingers for grasping, and horses run on
one enlarged toe with nothing but remnant slivers of bone to show that
their ancestors ever had more. This volume's 140 elegant photos illustrate
some of these amazing adaptations (no diagrams of muscles or living animals
intrude on the macabre purity of the bones themselves). The discussion
focuses on engineering aspects such as the trade-off between strength
and lightness, how joints are constructed, how bones adapt as an animal
grows, and the uses for different shapes of teeth. It's an eye-opening
and visually beautiful synthesis of ideas about ecology, evolution, and
In tribute to both the beauty and mechanics
of its subject, the book explores the structure, material and movement
of bones as they serve the design of living animals. It examines the composition
of bone material, looks at the joints and muscle attachments that allow
movementincluding such elaborate mechanisms as fish jaws, rattlesnake
fangs and a lions retractable clawsand shows how the same
bone is shaped wildly differently in a variety of animals. It explains
how bones grow yet remain strong and functional throughout an animals
life, and delves into the amazing variety of patterns and textures bones
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