Review of The Lizard Scientists: Studying Evolution in Action [Scientists in the Field]

The Lizard Scientists: Studying Evolution in Action [Scientists in the Field] The Lizard Scientists: Studying Evolution in Action [Scientists in the Field]
by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent; photos by Nate Dappen and Neil Losin
Intermediate    Clarion/HarperCollins    80 pp.
12/22    9780358381402    $18.99
e-book ed.  9780358731641    $10.99

In this entry in the acclaimed series, Patent (Saving the Tasmanian Devil, rev. 11/19) introduces readers to anoles, a genus of lizards distinguished by having both dewlaps (neck folds) and toepads, and to the scientists investigating them. The anoles inhabiting four Caribbean islands are ecomorphs, species that evolved separately but developed the same physical features and are a classic example of convergent evolution. The animals also have a short life cycle, which allows scientists to document population level changes in real time. Patent interviews the scientists in a variety of research settings and explains, in easily understandable and scientifically robust detail, their research questions and methods and the contributions they make to our understandings of evolution and natural selection. She visits laboratories where lizards run on a track to test their agility on various surfaces. In field sites, recent hurricanes have provided opportunities for natural and controlled experiments, including a citizen science project in Florida where children send in photos of the lizards in their schoolyards. High-quality photographs of anoles and their habitats, taken by lizard scientists turned documentary filmmakers, are well aligned with the text and provide details that readers can scrutinize. Sidebars give further biographical details about some of the scientists. A glossary and lists of additional resources are appended, including the citations for key scientific papers produced by the people featured in the book.

From the January/February 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford is a Horn Book reviewer and an associate professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware.

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