BOOK REVIEW: “Polar Bear Facts and Myths – A Science Summary for All Ages” by Susan Crockford

Book Review by Kip Hansen

fm_small_medSusan Crockford, the “Bones”1 of the zoology world, is a partner in Pacific Identifications, Inc., whose homepage proudly declares “We identify animal bones”.   She is a world-renowned expert in the identification and analysis of animal bone recovered from archaeological sites and animal digestive tracts, among other things. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria, British Columbia and has given public lectures about evolution for 20 years.   She has been particularly interested in vertebrate evolution, especially of dogs, polar bears, and humans and is the author of “Rhythms of Life: Thyroid Hormone & the Origin of Species”, in which she unravels the conundrum of how brown bears transformed into polar bears, and a nature-action thriller, the novel “Eaten”.

One of her two newest books2 is “Polar Bear Facts and Myths – A Science Summary for All Ages”.  It is available from Amazon in paperback format where is it described this way:

This beautiful, full color summary explains in simple terms why polar bears are thriving despite the recent loss of Arctic sea ice. It’s written in a question and answer format, in language that readers of all ages can understand (age 7 and up). The book takes a sensible, big-picture approach that many readers will appreciate and is based on the most up-to-date information available.”

 It is particularly well-suited for young readers interested in the natural world and will help to allay any fears they might have that polar bears, an iconic Arctic species, are doomed to extinction.  It accomplishes the latter using the effective approach of making simple statements that young people may have heard on TV or in school and asking if they are Facts or Myths.   Each question is accompanied by a photograph or drawing and an easy to understand explanation as to why the statement is either a true fact or an incorrect myth, giving educational information on each topic.

It is refreshing to see a book for our youth that is based on factual scientific information in a let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may fashion without any attempt to force on the reader a pre-determined, biased or politically correct viewpoint.  Our children deserve to be presented with clear and honest facts, even of controversial and highly politicized subjects, and then to be allowed to draw their own conclusions.

For an adult, this just-under 40 page book is a quick read – simple straight-forward text with photographs thoughtfully illustrating each point.  It is particularly well-suited to be read to, or with, your children.  Both parent and child will learn something they didn’t know.

I intend to send a copy to my 12-year-old animal-loving granddaughter.  You can’t get a better recommendation that that.

 # # # # #

1 – “Bones”, or Temperance Brennan, is a fictional character created by Kathy Reichs and is featured in the TV series by that name.

2 – The other new book is “Polar Bears: Outstanding Survivors of Climate Change” –  a fully-referenced polar bear science book is aimed at adults and high school students – which should be available at Amazon soon.

Polar Bear Facts & Myths  Authored by Susan J. Crockford  44 pages  ISBN-13: 978154112333  ISBN-10: 1541123336

 

115 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: “Polar Bear Facts and Myths – A Science Summary for All Ages” by Susan Crockford

  1. Saw the reviews on Amazon…. keep wondering if I should bomb ‘kim in ontario’ with that same set of peer-reviewed papers which griff denies exists.

      • Thanks to all of you for your support, now and in the past.

        The negative fake reviews from some are to be expected, of course – that is just the kind of people they are and it says more about them than about me or my work.

        Honest, heartfelt reviews are the way to counter this behaviour. So if any of you that have ordered a copy but would like to see the same review document I sent to Kip, contact me via the form on my blog (this is not an ebook, by the way, but the pdf proof for the hard copy version).

        It would actually be most interesting to see some feedback from the kids. Those kids to whom I sent a draft review copy all gave a 10 and said they loved it.

        Warmest wishes for the new year to all – you have made my heart glad on this cold and dreary Christmas Eve morning.

        Dr. Susan Crockford, big-picture zoologist with an eye on polar bears

      • …it just wouldn’t be Christmas without it
        Merry Christmas Dr.Crockford…and all of you guys…and Happy New Year!

        To All My Democrat Friends:
        Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2017, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wish.

        To My Republican Friends:
        Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

      • Latitude,
        I like the way you stated that
        Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours too

        May next year find us all in better places and with far fewer insane people inferring we are crazy

    • ClimateOtter:
      I have not seen Griff around for a while. Do you have any idea what might have happened to him?

      • He showed up in Tim Ball’s Global Warming Skepticism is Part of the Final Phase of the American Revolution post earlier today with his Arctic Sea Ice graph …. yet again. And was smacked down numerous times … yet again.

        The boy is a glutton for punishment.

      • TonyL He tries to avoid Climateotter now @climateotter please comment on every thread so he will just slink away.

      • At least this time of year he could pass for a drunk :)

        Congrats on the book Susan. I’ll probably get the other one as all the people I know are high school / university age.

      • Please do not engage in name-calling against Griff, or others like him. The CAGW people use ad hominem arguments because they don’t have the facts on their side, or sometimes because they are unwilling to make the effort to compose reasoned (albeit often fallacious) arguments.

        They also use them because, as Saul Alinsky noted, intimidation is effective:

        “5. ‘Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.’ There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.”
        Rules for Radicals,

        Let’s not stoop to their level and make ourselves look like that.

      • Ralph Dave Westfall ==> Well said.

        The #1 commenting rule is: “Please Don’t Feed the Trolls”.

        Like the bears at Yosemite, feeding them only encourages them to keep coming back …. after a while, due to their basic nature, they get aggressive and start causing trouble.

        Climate science sites attract not only trolls but certified official Junior Climate Warriors, complete with plastic badges and cut-and-paste talking points and link lists. Oddly, this is true regardless of the “side” one is on — both sides have their own Junior Climate Warriors who, despite ample evidence, think they are accomplishing something by responding to Junior Climate Warriors from “the other side”. It is all very childish — often engaged in by persons of what-should-be-mature age.

        It is for the best to ignore the whole foolish enterprise.

      • R D Westfall

        I’m in general agreement about ad hominem attacks, however Griff is so far over the line in a class of trivial & transparent trolls that exist solely to disrupt threads. He’s persistent enough that we’re all familiar with him (and his technique).

        He has richly earned the group’s disrespect.

      • He has richly earned the group’s disrespect.

        People are free to disrespect him as much as they want. However going beyond disrespect to ad hominem attacks may be counterproductive. People like him are often so convinced of the righteousness of their cause that they view personal attacks as validations of their position. The attacks reinforce their belief that they are brave and noble martyrs who are being persecuted by sinister forces.

        As a practical matter, some of the names you see may be teams posting under one nom de guerre. In that case personal attacks could be even less effective than if there was just one author.

      • I have concluded that replies to comments by Griff should be concise and factual and build on his past comments about others, for example:

        “Griff, you are not qualified to comment on this topic.”

        This encapsulates his derision of others and applies it succinctly without engaging ad hominem approaches. Best, the statement is always true no matter the topic. It also avoids what Willis calls the ‘something added’ that Leif always tosses at Vuk.

        So being Christmas and all, that is my present to you. Copy-paste the sentence each time Griff posts and carry on with regular commenting.

    • It sure sounds like one, if not all of the negative commenters are griffiepoo, i.e. northerner, kim in Ontario, e.k.

      I filed a few complaints with Amazon over their reviews. northerner, in particular, only seems to have the account to post fake reviews on Amazon.

      Hmmm. Fake names, fake accounts, terrible logic, classic sks nonsense thrown around as information. Perhaps northerner is griffiepoo and one of johncrockpot, er johncook’s alter egos?

  2. It will be interesting how a child will have no trouble understanding this book, yet a tenured M.A. Climate Scientist will.

    • Just ordered me a copy off Amazon to read with my 7 and 12 year old. This is to counteract my 12 year old being forced to watch ‘Before the Flood’ in school, on my tax dollar no less.

      • Better to counteract. Teaches a kid to think his or her way through an issue. We don’t need any more doctrinaires on the planet, if possible (which of course it’s not).

      • Yes, critical thinking is more important to me. Fortunately , I am blessed that my 12 year old is just that. I do not preach my non-beliefs to him, he seems capable all on his own. Such as after watching Before the Flood, he questioned why Leanardo was flying around in a helicopter to see the melting Greenland ice cap. Of course he has not discovered yet that Greenlands ice melts every summer, but neither has Leanardo. So he has time, 30 more years to be exact.

      • Duncan: Yes, critical thinking is crucial. Some kids can stand up to the pressure, but some cannot. Home schooling doesn’t mean “brainwashing”, it just limits the amount of indoctrination flung at a kid to smaller parcels than the public school. No reason to home school your child if they can indeed stand up to the pressure. If they appear to drowning in it, maybe it’s time to throw a life jacket and try re-entry later when they’ve built up their defenses.

      • Well, said RC. In case it was implied, I did not mean homeschooling would/could not provide critical thinking. I aas just responding to MRW.

    • Duncan,
      Thanks for the laugh this morning. The best comments, like yours, capture the hypocrisy of the catastrophic warming believers

      • Which is like Economists, whose leading lights fearing they wouldn’t be taken seriously have convinced an ignorant public since 1947 that [the study of] Economy is a hard science like Astronomy. Hence, the models that are as off-the-wall as the pletheora of climate models claiming to be axiomatic truth.

      • Sorry, study of Economics.

        Economists don’t have to study accounting to get their PhDs. That’s like saying Astronomers don’t have to use telescopes.

      • Accounting is how a company keeps track of it’s money and resources. It has nothing to do with the study of economics.

      • MarkW,

        Accounting is how a company keeps track of it’s money and resources. It has nothing to do with the study of economics.

        Accounting is also how the federal government “accounts for” or records the creation of the US Dollar recorded or accounted for on the right side of the ledger as a liability or more colloquially, as ”debt.” The US federal government is the only entity worldwide that can legally create a USD; it has a monopoly on it. This “debt” recordation is an accounting artefact, part of the structure of double-entry accounting. (The left side is the asset the USD was created to purchase, which is only done per congressional appropriation.)

        This “debt,” however, is not the same as a company’s liabilities, where debt is something that must be paid back, with interest, and within a specified time period or you could forfeit your collateral. (Households, state and local governments, also cannot create the USD. They’re in the same boat. So their debt is very real and income-constrained as well.)

        Yet we use the same word for these totally opposite conditions.

        So unless economics only deals with business, households, state and local govts, or foreign users of USD, only models those worlds, then the issue of who creates those dollars in the first place and how it’s recorded—in other words, the national economy—cannot be properly understood. Or modeled. It’s just pie-in-the-sky stuff, like social science department-educated climate scientists modeling the future climate based on one variable: CO2.

        Ask an economics student (undergraduate to doctoral) where you can find the federal government’s daily checkbook statement, which is an accounting statement. They’ll look at you as if you have four eyes. They don’t have a f**king clue.

        Incidentally, here is where you can find the daily checkbook statement for the end of fiscal year 2016, which was September 30, 2016:
        https://www.fms.treas.gov/fmsweb/viewDTSFiles?dir=a&fname=16093000.pdf

        It’s a two-pager. Look at Table III-A on page 2. Look at the left column: Issues. That’s a record, an accounting, after the fact of the USD the US federal government created in 2016. It was $95,648,584,000,000.00. (The numbers there are in millions.) $95.6 trillion.

        The right column shows the amount the US federal government redeemed or spent in 2016: $94.2 trillion.

        The difference is what the US federal government allows the people to keep. We know it as the “National Debt.” It doesn’t have to be paid back; it’s currently parked in everyone’s USD accounts. Yours and mine. And your grandma’s.

        Now, look at Table IV – Federal Tax Deposits. In 2016, the federal government collected $2.8 trillion total in federal taxes.

        Still think federal taxes pay for anything?

        Accounting teaches you that. Economists who comment on, or who model, the national economy need to understand that.

        Here is one economist, however, who does: http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntharvey/2016/10/19/one-more-reason-to-be-depressed-about-this-years-election/#796e36413ae2 Check his bio.

  3. Ordered from Amazon UK. No reviews there yet but I’m happy to buy in the knowledge that it’ll inevitably be up to the standard of Susan’s other publications.

  4. Off topic:
    While on WUWT I just had a window pop-up saying I should download an “URGENT CHROME UPDATE”.
    It is a fake. Do not download it.
    (Sorry for the interruption.)

    • Gunga ==> I’m sure that the pop-up is unrelated to WUWT..but thanks for the warning to all who read here. Do you have an ad blocker installed in Chrome? (I take it Chrome is the browser you are using?)

      • I didn’t think it was triggered by something here but I did happen to be on WUWT at the time.
        I do have an ad blocker and Norton Security.
        I’d guess this is a “new” one that slipped past them.
        ( I didn’t download it. A quick search showed it was fake. I put the warning up here moments after I saw it in case it time had something to do with the attack.)

    • I get a similar msg regarding Firefox at random sites. Automatically redirects to a different site altogether.

      • Alan ==> Internet hygiene, how not to catch digital diseases, is a course that should be being taught in Jr. High School…..

        There are products that will automatically check links for you when you are suspicious….the problem is that most people are not suspicious enough. I teach my family members to NEVER click a link they didn’t ask for without running it through a link checker….

      • The super-duper intel-level network forensic guys I know now tell me stay 4,000 miles away from Chrome. Then they talk in acronyms and cite ‘backbone’ issues and I reach for a beer. So don’t ask me what their concerns are. FYI.

      • the problem is that most people are not suspicious enough.

        Or using an effective enough password program for websites like 1Password (fee-based) by Agile Solutions (I think…was called that…I just do the updates). Has Mac and WIN versions; don’t know about Linux or Ubuntu. It’s a pistol of a program created by Ukrainians in Toronto, Canada.

    • Nothing to do with WUWT mate. Try downloading ‘Adblocker’ and ‘Ghostery’ (click the three dots [far right top of chrome] go to ‘more tools’ – ‘extensions’ and search for them both. They are not foolproof but will help.

      You should also make sure your version of Windows is up to date (click on ‘services’ in most versions of windows and make sure automatic updates are activated) and use Windows Defender as your virus checker etc. Make sure chrome is also up to date, they all do work in the background to secure your PC.

      You are probably 90% safe with those. The rest is down to common sense. Oh! You should read and understand Ghostery, it can be disabled permanently, or momentarily on sites you trust (Amazon, Microsoft, BBC etc.) Ad blocker is either on or off.

    • Eric ==> The second link — the YouTube of the polar bear researchers close encounter fascinated and terrified my wife —

    • Eric,

      Polar bears are far from alone in cannibalism. Not just their griz kin, but many other male carnivores kill and eat the young of females of their species they encounter, in order to bring the moms more rapidly into heat.

      For instance, felines from house cat to lion do the same thing.

    • Polar bears are the most terrifying bear there is. The population around Churchill, Manitoba has quintupled since Canada put a sport-hunting ban on them since 1972. The Indigenous people still have their hunting rights, but I would not want to be within a mile of a hungry polar bear. Search the web for Churchill, MN stories. Nothing cuddly about them at all.

      • MRW, Read your accounting comment and linked to J T Harveys comments and bio, interesting take against what I think most people believe in . It sure has me wondering. I’ll have to read a lot more of his stuff to understand it better. Sure goes against instincts.

      • asybot,

        Know what you mean about “goes against instincts.” It’s taken me years to figure it out–and verify by developing contacts with the real worker bees at the Federal Reserve and US Treasury who confirmed whether I understood these monetary operations or not–and I prided myself on being intelligent, well-educated, etc. Turns out I was just a dumb regurgitator of journalistic ignorance and buzz words.

        By the way, if you picture a teeter-totter you’ll start to get it right. One side is the public (federal) sector. The other side is the domestic private and foreign sector. The public sector creates the dollar. The private sector (and state/local govts) uses the dollar.

        The teeter-totter represents the closed universe of USD: creation and usage. It’s a closed system because there is only one monopoly creator worldwide.

        So when one side goes up the other side goes down. Government (federal) surpluses always create private sector deficits. If government surpluses persist over a number of years, you create a depression. We’ve had seven of them in the last 238 years, each one preceded by either a balanced budget (Andrew Jackson’s time) or surplus. If you go to the Historical Tables on whitehouse.gov, and look at Table 1.1, you can see the deficits and surpluses going back about 200 years. The proof is right there. Check out Reagan’s deficits. Enormous. But so was private sector growth.

        Clinton’s surpluses caused the Great Recession of 2008 because it was delayed by the dotcom and housing bubbles.

  5. Thanks for the book review. I will send a copy to my nephew for his sons.

    Is it possible to post a list of recommended books somewhere on WUWT?

    • South River Independent ==> That’s a good question for Anthony — he may be willing and able to put together a list — it is a bit tricky though — he has a very bully pulpit and if he recommends Susan’s book byt fails to recommend s0-and-so’s book, there might be hard feelings.

      For some authors, being recommended by WUWT could work negatively.

      One of my [ Kip Hansen ] recommendations is Roger Pielke Jr.’s The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change.. It contains all the science for which he was professionally assassinated by Joe Romm acting for Podesta acting for ….. This is a serious science book. The small short paperback makes a good reference, there is a Kindle version as well.

  6. Susan, thanks. I ordered a copy for my animal-loving 12 year-old granddaughter. I’m not sure what she has been taught in school about polar bears or climate change, but I figure this could be an opportunity to provide some anti-dote to what seems to be science propaganda rather than science education in regards to climate. Thanks for the help!!

    • John P Miller ==> Gee — a lot of 12-year-old granddaughters are animal-lovers. Mine likes ferrets, bunnies, fancy bantam chickens……emphasis on ferrets.

      • I live where County Fairs and 4-H** are big. Young ladies seem to like pigs for raising and showing. You can see this here: This is NOT a Polar Bear story

        I find this fascinating because at the beginning of the activity the child is much larger than the pig but by fall and the Fair, the pig is much larger than the handler. Personally, we like bird dogs; Brittanys.

        ** ‘head, heart, hands, and health’

      • John ==> My wife once ‘fell in love’ with a pair of Polish Red piglets at the NY State Fair — we brought them home in her lap. The got incredibly HUGE….but were family pets and I couldn’t bear to have them slaughtered. Sold them to a breeder, who brought his gargantuan son to capture them and carry them to his truck — a truly awe inspiring sight.

  7. Good to get this stuff out to begin the massive turnaround from ‘The Little Dark Ages’ in education and scholarship before such works are banned or censored. I suspect there to be scathing attacks in the ugly press and school boards, etc. Fortunately, the new gov in USA will create a more favorable environment for facts and debate. Remember that Democrat first ladies are both actively involved with children and they accepted the consensus!

    Good on you Susan. You are a hero. You could have put your intellect and skills into a very lucrative CAGW career. I thank you very much for that.

    • May I hope that Mark Twain and Shakespeare will make a comeback, too. I’m seditiously reading these works to my grandchild.

  8. MERRY CHRISTMAS, all
    (or whatever floats your boat)

    … especially to Susan Crockford …

    … whose web site I visit in all seasons.

  9. Polar Bears appear to have evolved from Brown Bears about 150,000 years ago. link
    That means this is their second interglacial.
    Here’s an interesting paper that indicates that, during the existence of Polar Bears, the arctic was ice-free for part of the year several times for lengthy periods (>centuries).

    My first point is that Polar Bears have survived a part year ice-free arctic in the previous interglacial as well as at the beginning of this one. Clearly, part year ice-free conditions do not cause their extinction.

    My second point is that they fast for as much as eight months. If the arctic were to become ice-free for part of the year, that would merely change the bears’ hunting season. Again, no reason to expect them to become extinct.

      • The damn things float.

        Float? The damn things can smell a seal above or beneath the ice four miles away, and can torpedoe through the water to get it faster than I ever, ever could. Or Mike Phelps.

        Just ask the National Geographic photographers who go out in protective tanks to photograph them. lol.

      • “Are you just felicitating me or do you really like me?” (unknown)
        Happy Christmas Vuk!

        [The mods would point out that, technically, he was only felicidaying you on this, the 25th of December 25, 2016 Anno Domino by felicidating your merriment. .mod]

  10. For a different reading experience, here, one more time, is Dr. C’s Eaten.: (I’m hoping to show the cover, but WordPress may have other ideas.)

    • An adult polar bear is taller than Joan Crawford, the length of a piece of sheetrock, and he can’t stand up in an average US apartment because he’s 10 ft tall on his hind legs. On top of that, he’s a meat-eating machine, and humans are tasty.

      • jorge ==> PBs can be as tall at the shoulder, standing on four feet,as the diminutive Joan, at 5’3″.
        “Search Results
        Image result for how big is the biggest polar bear?
        The largest polar bear on record, reportedly weighing 1,002 kg (2,209 lb), was a male shot at Kotzebue Sound in northwestern Alaska in 1960. This specimen, when mounted, stood 3.39 m (11 ft 1 in) tall on its hindlegs. The shoulder height of an adult polar bear is 122 to 160 cm (4 ft 0 in to 5 ft 3 in).”

      • No, MRW, … NOT too much eggnog, … too much alarmism over cold white stuff melting. … needed a bit of absurdity to balance that out. The cake tasted great, by the way. I invite everyone who believes that human beings cause Earth ice melt downs to eat some good cake. This does not involve melting ice, but rather icing that melts in your mouth. Why not have REAL cake on your face when you talk about human-caused global warming ? Happy holidays.

      • Robert Kernodle, your icing made me smile as I scrolled down initially, then I read the pun. (That’s what the eggnog comment was referring to). I mean, that icing was the work of a mad artist in the kitchen, and then you threw coconut on it with a Jackson Pollock flourish. ;-)

  11. Thanks for your tremendous common sense, Dr. Crockford. I predict that one day, the people who mindlessly attack your credentials and your work will look back on this hubris-filled (or brainwashed) period of their lives and feel stupid. If so, may they have the wisdom to learn and grow from the humbling experience.

    Thanks for the great work this year to Anthony and all the mods and writers. Good luck with the new blog, Willis. A small tip has been sent to the tip jar. I only wish I could do more.

    Merry Christmas, everyone.

    • Mickey

      Somehow I doubt folks like Griff are introspective. He & his tribe will simply bo off on the next crusade to save the world – probably global cooling or concern that we don’t have enough CO2 in the atmosphere to raise food.

      Integrity does not appear to be a big thing with these folks.

  12. IMO the salient fact of polar bear life is that they don’t need drift ice to survive and thrive.

    The ice that is important for polar bear reproductive success is land fast ice in the spring, not floating sea ice in winter or any other season. Ringed seals give birth in snow lairs on land fast ice, with a hole in the ice through which the mom comes and goes. When sow bears emerge from their winter hibernation in a snow den, they’re hungry, in need of fat for themselves and any cubs they might have. Ringed seal pups and adults provide this essential diet item in a timely fashion. Ringed seal populations are not threatened.

    Male polies usually don’t hibernate, but spend the winter hunting. They can look for seals on ice floes or hunt on land. They don’t all need to survive. One boar can cover ten sows.

  13. Caveat emptor, Part II: I find it highly ironic that the reviewer’s claim of professional “vagueness” was made by a pair of initials.

  14. Susan’s novel, “Eaten,” is a fun read for troubled times in fantasy land. Steve Stringham, also a bio-professional, has another tale laced with bear facts, “Treasure of the Golden Bear.” Lighten up pilgrims and read some fun stuff too.

  15. Hold on, wait a minute there. What kind of book is this? Isn’t science supposed to be terrifying our kids with messages of doom, gloom, dead polar bears and filling them with nervous apprehension of the future?

    No proper alarmist would want to raise kids with a positive and rational world outlook, when fear greases their wheels so well.

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