Among the Islands: Adventures in the Pacific by Tim Flannery

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By Tim Flannery

Tim Flannery is without doubt one of the world’s such a lot influential scientists, credited with learning extra species than Darwin. In one of the Islands Flannery recounts a chain of expeditions he made on the sunrise of his profession to the unusual tropical islands of the South Pacific, an excellent arc stretching approximately 4,000 miles from the postcard perfection of Polynesia to a couple of the most important, optimum, historic, and so much rugged islands on earth.Flannery was once touring looking for infrequent and undiscovered mammal species, yet he came upon even more: wild, bizarre areas the place neighborhood taboos, foul climate, dense jungle, and sheer remoteness made for tricky and dramatic exploration. one of the Islands is stuffed with attention-grabbing creatures—monkey confronted bats, large fat, gazelle-faced black wallabies, and more—and the journey of discovery. this is often an concept learn for somebody who has ever imagined voyaging to the ends of the earth to discover and examine the infrequent and the fantastic.

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As we explored the area we discovered that the village of Guasopa is built over the remnants of a vast American army base. The base was used only briefly after being established in July 1943, because by the end of that year the focus of the war had shifted westward. Yet the locals remembered it clearly, especially that there had been both black and white troops, whom they recalled being buried in separate cemeteries. The jungle had reclaimed most of the old infrastructure, but parts of the airstrip surface—which had been made of living coral—remained solid, and many of the villagers had built their houses on it.

Thrusting both snake and holed bag in, I cursed the absent Dr Mengden and his slithering objects of study, and hoped that he would not be too long delayed. As it transpired, the great snake expert arrived the following evening. Greg was an Olympic wrestler in his youth. With a big black beard and muscular frame, he has an imposing presence, softened only by the kindest of smiling eyes. When I saw him that evening, however, those eyes were not smiling. Greg’s stay among the Islands of Love had been beset by misfortune.

This is why so many island birds are flightless and why the nuts and leaves of so many island trees are edible, even without cooking—trees that invest in toxins where there are no predators, rather than making more nuts and fruit, are disadvantaged in the evolutionary race for survival. But island species also lose their fear. Fearful creatures use a great deal of energy in fleeing danger, both imagined and real. Where the danger is almost entirely imagined, evolution selects for individuals that conserve their energy for reproduction.

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