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Silent Thunder: In the Presence of Elephants

Silent Thunder: In the Presence of Elephants Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Scientific discovery is not always the result of a careful accumulation of data or a measured consideration of the facts. Sometimes it takes a leap of imagination. Katy Payne, a naturalist and conservationist, took just such a leap and made an amazing discovery about how elephants communicate. And that was only the beginning of her adventure.

In 1984, Katy Payne visited the elephants at Washington Park Zoo in Portland. Oregon. She had been studying whale songs for the last fifteen years, and she was curious about the ways that elephants — the largest living land mammals — communicated with each other.

What Payne observed in her first week seemed, at the time, to be little cause for scientific excitement. But on her flight home, she flushed back to a childhood experience of singing in the church choir. Suddenly she realized that she had felt, in the presence of the elephants, a deep throbbing in the air just like the lowest notes of the church organ. Payne and two colleagues were soon able to show that elephants are powerful infrasound — sound pitched too low for the human ear to hear — in communication. This "silent thunder" allows elephants to intract over long distances.

This brilliant, unorthodox, nonlinearless was the basis of her discovery of infrasonic communication among elephant and is typical of Payne's work as a naturalist. It also infuses this deeply felt and observed book with an extraordinary spirit, Payne and her colleagues went on to do important field research on elephant communication in Kenya, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. But in 1991 the peaceful rhythms of their work were violently interrupted by a cull — a planned killing — that destroyed five of the elephant families they were studying. This destruction convinced her that all life is sacred. Payne determined to challenge the philosophies that support culling.

Silent Thunder is a natural history rich in ponderings about the animal world and how humans participate in it. It is also a passionate story of Payne's own spiritual quest as she turns an observant eye on her own role in this world and honors the holistic perspective of her indigenous friends, who became her teachers in Zimbabwe, Payne's courage and empathy shine through on every page, giving this unique combination of scientific journal and personal memoir an unforgettable emotional power.

Book News Annotation:

The author took an imaginative leap to discover infrasonic communication among elephants. Her combination scientific journal and personal memoir is not only a natural history but is also a story of her own spiritual quest as she turns an observant eye on her own role in this world and honors the holistic perspectives of her indigenous friends who became her teachers in Zimbabwe.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Scientific discovery is not always the result of a careful accumulation of data or a measured consideration of the facts. Sometimes it takes a leap of imagination. Katy Payne, a naturalist and conservationist, took just such a leap and made an amazing discovery about how elephants communicate. And that was only the beginning of her adventure.

In 1984, Katy Payne visited the elephants at Washington Park Zoo in Portland. Oregon. She had been studying whale songs for the last fifteen years, and she was curious about the ways that elephants — the largest living land mammals — communicated with each other.

What Payne observed in her first week seemed, at the time, to be little cause for scientific excitement. But on her flight home, she flushed back to a childhood experience of singing in the church choir. Suddenly she realized that she had felt, in the presence of the elephants, a deep throbbing in the air just like the lowest notes of the church organ. Payne and two colleagues were soon able to show that elephants are powerful infrasound — sound pitched too low for the human ear to hear — in communication. This "silent thunder" allows elephants to intract over long distances.

This brilliant, unorthodox, nonlinearless was the basis of her discovery of infrasonic communication among elephant and is typical of Payne's work as a naturalist. It also infuses this deeply felt and observed book with an extraordinary spirit, Payne and her colleagues went on to do important field research on elephant communication in Kenya, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. But in 1991 the peaceful rhythms of their work were violently interrupted by a cull — a planned killing — that destroyed five of the elephant families they were studying. This destruction convinced her that all life is sacred. Payne determined to challenge the philosophies that support culling.

Silent Thunder is a natural history rich in ponderings about the animal world and how humans participate in it. It is also a passionate story of Payne's own spiritual quest as she turns an observant eye on her own role in this world and honors the holistic perspective of her indigenous friends, who became her teachers in Zimbabwe, Payne's courage and empathy shine through on every page, giving this unique combination of scientific journal and personal memoir an unforgettable emotional power.

About the Author

Katy Payne's is work as an acoustic biologist has attracted international attention, first for her studies of the songs of humpback whales, then for her seminal work on elephant communication. She has written for National Geographic, Natural History, American Scientist, the Los Angeis Times, and many other publications. Her children's book, Elephants Calling, was selected as an outstanding book of 1992 by the National Science Teathers' Association. A frequent lecturer on conservation and on animal behavior and communication she is currently a Visiting Fellow at Cornell University's Bioacoustic Research Program. She lives in Ithaca, New York, and is the mother of four children.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

Preface

1 A Throbbing in the Air
2 Thanksgiving
3 Matriarchs, Sisters, and Baby-sitters
4 Rivals and Mentors
5 Dangers
6 Double Blind
7 Be Reasonable
8 The Calabash That Is Heavy
9 On Ntaba Mangwe
10 Zaccheus
11 Wildlife Is the Engine
12 Distant Friends
13 Slaughter in a Sacred Place
14 Passing Bells
15 Delving and Digging
16 Be Patient with Your Drumming
17 Everything Changes

Acknowledgments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780684801087
Subtitle:
In the Presence of Elephants
Author:
Payne, Katharine
Author:
Payne, Katy
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Books
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Mammals
Subject:
Behavior
Subject:
Elephants
Subject:
Payne, Katharine
Subject:
Elephants -- Behavior -- Anecdotes.
Subject:
General Nature
Publication Date:
19980812
Binding:
HC
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.60x6.44x1.07 in. 1.21 lbs.

Related Subjects

Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Mammals » Elephants
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Mammals » General

Silent Thunder: In the Presence of Elephants
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 288 pages Simon & Schuster Books - English 9780684801087 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Scientific discovery is not always the result of a careful accumulation of data or a measured consideration of the facts. Sometimes it takes a leap of imagination. Katy Payne, a naturalist and conservationist, took just such a leap and made an amazing discovery about how elephants communicate. And that was only the beginning of her adventure.

In 1984, Katy Payne visited the elephants at Washington Park Zoo in Portland. Oregon. She had been studying whale songs for the last fifteen years, and she was curious about the ways that elephants — the largest living land mammals — communicated with each other.

What Payne observed in her first week seemed, at the time, to be little cause for scientific excitement. But on her flight home, she flushed back to a childhood experience of singing in the church choir. Suddenly she realized that she had felt, in the presence of the elephants, a deep throbbing in the air just like the lowest notes of the church organ. Payne and two colleagues were soon able to show that elephants are powerful infrasound — sound pitched too low for the human ear to hear — in communication. This "silent thunder" allows elephants to intract over long distances.

This brilliant, unorthodox, nonlinearless was the basis of her discovery of infrasonic communication among elephant and is typical of Payne's work as a naturalist. It also infuses this deeply felt and observed book with an extraordinary spirit, Payne and her colleagues went on to do important field research on elephant communication in Kenya, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. But in 1991 the peaceful rhythms of their work were violently interrupted by a cull — a planned killing — that destroyed five of the elephant families they were studying. This destruction convinced her that all life is sacred. Payne determined to challenge the philosophies that support culling.

Silent Thunder is a natural history rich in ponderings about the animal world and how humans participate in it. It is also a passionate story of Payne's own spiritual quest as she turns an observant eye on her own role in this world and honors the holistic perspective of her indigenous friends, who became her teachers in Zimbabwe, Payne's courage and empathy shine through on every page, giving this unique combination of scientific journal and personal memoir an unforgettable emotional power.

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