Synopses & Reviews
The first volume in the series Adaptations of Desert Organisms covers physiological adaptations of domestic and wild animals to the harsh desert environment in a comparative manner, describing the different mechanisms adopted by animals to overcome the stresses and strains imposed by heat and aridity. Thermoregulation and water economy are considered in detail while also examining nutritional requirements and peculiarities of the digestive systems. This is a thorough and up-to-date analysis and review of the literature allowing readers to gain an insight and understanding of the ecophysiological adaptations that have developed in both domesticated and wild ruminants in order to survive and reproduce in the desert environment.
I have spent less time in the arid zone in the last few years than I did during the 1960's, 1970's and early 1980's. This results from a progression through age and a career structure which gradually shifted the emphasis of my work from being essentially field-oriented to essentially office-hound. When, therefore, I was asked by John Cloudsley-Thompson to undertake the writing of this hook I hesitated for two reasons. One reason was that, although I now had access to good library facilities and kept up with the literature on the arid zones and their fauna, I was not sure that a sedentary and pleasant life in a temperate highland island in tropieal Africa would provide a mental attitude suitable to writing a hook which related to areas where life is usually nomadie and often extremely disagreeable. The other reason was that I was uncertain whether I could devote the time necessary to researehing and writing the hook on top of my professional (which now specifical- ly excluded research in the arid zones and on camels) and social (new-found and time-consuming) commitments. In the event I accepted and the fates were kind to me. By some peculiar combination of circumstances I was given the opportunity to spend a considerable part of the first half of 1988 in some of the driest areas of the globe. I had already visited all of the locations used for the construction of Fig. 2.