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Walrus Island, Pribilof group. Photograph by HARRY CHICHESTER.
Red-faced cormorants (Phalacrocorax urile)
The authors present this book as an elementary account of animal ecology—that is, of the relations of animals to their surroundings and their responsive adaptation to these surroundings. The book takes the observer's point of view, who is especially concerned with the reasons for the varied structure and habits of animals. To understand how naturally and inevitably all animal form, habit, and life are adapted to the varied circumstances and conditions of animal existence should be the motive of the beginner in this fascinating study. The greatest facts of life, except that of life itself, are seen in the marvelously perfect methods which Nature has adopted in the structure and habits of animals. The keen observation of a fact hould lead the student to inquire into the significance of that fact. The veriest beginner can be, and ought to be, an independent observer and thinker. In the study of zoology that phase which treats of the why and how of animal form and habit not only absorbs the attention of the most advanced modern scholars of biology, but should also appeal most strongly to the beginner. The beginner and the most enlightened thinker in zoology should each have the same point of view. With this belief in mind the authors have tried to put into simple form the principal facts and approved hypotheses upon which the modern conceptions of animal life are based.
It is unnecessary to say that this book depends for its