Prentice-Hall, Inc. (1966). Index. 343pp. 6.25 x 9.25 inches. Hardcover. Illustrated by George Geygan.
The oceans of the Earth provide about 300 times more living space than the land and fresh waters combined, and the major portion of all living things on this planet dwell in the upper, sunlit parts of the sea. Here countless plants the size of dust motes form invisible pastures upon which graze legions of barely visible shrimplike copepods, worm-sized sea dragons and the helpless babies of virtually all marine life. These are the grasses and baby foods of the sea; the fantastic menagerie of vegetarians that they sustain are in turn eaten by beasts ranging from the herring to the blue whale. As amny as 60,000 copepods have been found in the stomach of a single herring, and the blue whale — largest creature that has ever lived on Earth — eats from one to three tons of shrimp a day. Man is striving to find the best way to break into this big-eat-little chain in order to provide the fast-growing, largely undernourished population of Earth with new sources of food. Expect seafood dinners of the future to include exotic new creatures; breads, milk substitutes and soups made with fish flour; shrimp, turtle and fish flesh raised on sea farms and ranches; salmon and trout selectively bred like chicken and cattle.
Drawing on 20 years of experience as sailor, scientist and writer, the author traces the story of sea creatures from the dawn of life on Earth to the present day. You follow the development and diversification of life from organisms that are neither plant nor animal to the giant squid with a complex nervous system that operates arms as long as a 3-story building, the tenacious turtles and salmon that can navigate by the sun and stars, the large-brained dolphins whose underwater navigation and communication equipment is superior to anything man has been able to devise.
Along with the story of life, you learn the secrets of the mini-world of the plankton, inhabited by some of the most extravagantly designed creatures in nature. As through the windows of a bathyscaphe you watch the behavior of creatures in the dark abyss: scarlet shrimps, the black vampire squid, fishes that can swallow prey bigger than themselves, piscians whose bodies are covered with hundreds of living lights. In this profusely illustrated book author William J. Cromie explores the answers to such questions as: Is the Great Sea Serpent fact or fable? Do the dark depths shelter the equivalent of living dinosaurs — beasts long thought to be extinct? When will man develop artificial gills and begin to colonize the ocean floor?
For anyone who wishes to know more about his ancient heritage and become intimately acquainted with the living world of the sea, this book is exciting, non-technical and highly readable.
The author and a friend discuss The Living World of the Sea (author: William J. Cromie; friend: Sinbad, a bottlenose dolphin). Photo by Bill Stapleton.
William J. Cromie is author of Exploring the Secrets of the Sea and Why the Mohole. In addition to his books, he has written articles for The Reader's Digest, Natural History, and Life Magazine's Nature Series. Mr. Cromie lives in Houston, Texas, and works as a scientific consultant and writer for an international science news and feature syndicate.
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