NSTA Recommends -- Animal Adaptations

Reviews of science-teaching materials recommended by K-12 science teachers.
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Biology (1,753)

Science (4,732)

Animals (1,034)

Updated on: October 2, 2001
Page 2 of 2


Animals: A Macmillan Illustrated Encyclopedia

Macmillan Publishing Company
Reviewed by Frank Roe – Secondary Science Teacher

This excellently illustrated, three-volume set contains 2,000 original, full-color paintings and pertinent information about animals from around the world. The volumes are organized by type of animal; volume one deals solely with mammals, volume two is devoted to the birds of the world, and volume three concerns reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Each entry contains, in tabular form, succinct information about the size of each creature, its breeding pattern, feeding habits, adaptations, behaviors, common and scientific names, and conservation status (using a coding derived from the World Conservation Union). Two to four creatures are featured on each page.

Each volume's introduction contains an overview of the group of animals covered with excellent diagrams and sketches of the classification system. To make the volumes easier to use, they are based on the traditional systematics classification and influenced by the more recent phylogenetics cladistic system. For general classroom use, the introductions are probably the most useful sections of the volumes, which essentially are intended as catalogs of the tremendous diversity of animals. These volumes would be best used as library references, as they are a bit too expensive for classroom use.

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