Book Review by Kip Hansen – 1 September 2021
If you have more than one walrus, do you say “Two walruses”? Or is it like hippopotamus for which the plural is hippopotami? Or should you just play it safe and not chance the plural at all? Life is full of chancy choices all of which risk making one appear ignorant, uneducated or just plain silly.
Rejoice! The inestimable and wonderful Dr. Susan Crockford rides to your rescue with her latest book: “Walrus Facts and Myths – A Science Summary for All Ages”. Available at your favorite online book store. [ here and for our Canadian readers, here ]
No, that’s not a picture of me, that is a male walrus with the rough skin bumps common only to the male walrus – bumps which are called “bosses”. Just one of the wondrous and sometimes wacky facts you, your kids and your grand-kids will be able to learn while reading this marvelous little book. Just 36 fact filled pages, many with great photographs of walruses (yes, it is either “walrus” or “walruses”, but never “walri”).
This new book is the second in Susan Crockford’s Facts and Myths series – the first was “Polar Bear Facts and Myths – A Science Summary for All Ages”. As the walrus and the polar bear share much the same range, you will find some photographs of walruses and polar bears interacting.
Crockford’s facts-and-myths format makes it easy and clear reading for younger readers and will help clear up common misconceptions about these interesting animals. It is just as informative for adults – a book to pick up for a quick learning experience – all at once or one fact at a time.
My favorite editor shared my advance review copy and remarked:
“A most interesting and pleasing book! I like the approach of myth vs fact … Easy to read, digest and learn from.”
And it is that. Put a copy out on your coffee table. Buy a hard copy for your children to read and re-read, so they can pick it up in a spare inquisitive moment. Donate a copy to your kid’s elementary or junior high school.
Thanks to Dr. Crockford for yet another strictly-scientifically-correct nature-related book – I’m already looking forward to the next in the series! I recommend this book to all of you.
# # # # #
Once again only Amazon? I will do without rather than use them.
In UK, Blackwell’s sold the Polar Bear one, although it is out of stock at present, so I guess the Walrus one will be available from them in due course.
Oldseadog ==> I believe that Dr. Crockford’s choice of Amazon is based on their program for self-publishing — though I am not certain. Once the paperback is available in quantity, other book retailers pick these books up as well.
I am sure you are right but I’m still not going to use them.
Oldseadog ==> I try to avid all the giants as well — Amazon, WalMart, Home depot and Lowes, etc etc. We all have our preferences . . . .
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I like Home Depot. Can do without the others and I’m proud to say I’ve never ordered anything from Amazon. Hope this offsets my Home Depot sins.
pHil R ==> I think you may squeak by . . .
That said, Amazon is just today’s High Tech version of Sears and Roebuck . . .
yeah, but us kids got to look through the S&R catalogue every Christmas.
pHil R ==> My brothers and I would do fund raisers (selling kid crafts to little old ladies) and then go on a S&R catalog shopping spree.
Except now it is impossible to get through to a live person at Amazon when something goes wrong! The Live Chat is gone and there is no contact email for sending complaints. They recently charged me for two e-books that I did not order and when I filled out their complaint form (twice) they emailed back immediately that I was wrong! I removed my credit card information and am currently going cold-turkey on new e-books….
What’s wrong with Lowes?
I like Lowe’s. I know of nothing subversive coming out of Lowe’s.
Mike ==> Nothing if you own it , . . . .
Kip, I try too, but I just can’t get off Amazon, unfortunately. Their kindle unlimited is way too good for me,too.I avoid ebay like the plague since payenemy became its only payment method (and they blocked my cc because it was from a different country), but Amazon had too much to offer. There are few decent alternatives here in Oz.
I do try to not buy any drink made by Coca-Cola, but that’s becoming increasingly difficult. Even most water is sold by them now, and I need that not being on the water main.
This pandemic response has crippled small businesses and enriched the large ones to a massive degree.
Zig ==> Gotta live in the real world . . . . may not like big box stores, but sometimes you just gotta. They are not evil as such – I just find them annoying.
For hardware, I prefer Mom and Pop local stores, who can get it if they aint got it.
Alibris.com carries just about every book. I see Susan Crockford’s other books there, and assume the Walrus book will be available soon.
L.E. ==> Thanks, everyone needs alternate sources….
The “-us” ending is derived totally differently for the marine and semiaquatic mammals. So it’s “walruses” and either “hippopotami” or “hippopotamuses”. Since it’s from Greek, most correct would be “hippopotamos” (“horse of the river”) and “hippopotamoi”. But it came to English via Latin.
“Walrus” is Germanic, most likely from Old Norse for “whale horse”, entering English via Dutch.
Language is fluid, changes all the time, and from place to place.
I was taught in public school that the plural of craft is still craft. Ditto with aircraft.
I was also taught in engineering school that “datum” is singular while “data” is plural, but most people use “data” as both singular and plural – what’re ya gonna do, correct everyone?
Regarding “math” some folks are calling it “maths” – which seems silly to me since how can there be a plural form of a branch of science? Nevertheless, some do.
The rest of the English speaking world still does not accept American spellings – such as “iour” in lieu of “ior”. Not to mention entirely different terms for the same thing, such as “boot” for “trunk”. Who’s right and who’s wrong? In an interconnected world where people come from all over to communicate, there really cannot be a universal spelling for many words.
I guess there is at least one other example of a branch of science that has a plural name – physics, and all its variations (geophysics, astrophysics, etc.). But still, “maths” just sounds very odd to my ear, as do “crafts” and “aircrafts”.
Duane ==> Handicrafts?
The British use maths because our American “math” is really a shortened form of “mathematics”. Notice the “s” on the end of the original word….thus “maths” is perhaps more appropriate.
Because there are many different mathematic branches….
Yeah … but if one has actually been in the UK or Ireland, it is endlessly entertaining to hear their colloquialisms. Phases like “mind your step” as roadside warning signs just sounds weird to American ears.
On a family trip through the countryside of Ireland, after reading and chuckling at some of the roadside signs, we noticed a strong odor from herds of sheep in several places that happened to have signs warning of “Crosswinds!” We then assumed that “Crosswinds” was an Irish euphemism for “smells like shit”. 🙂
Or for “shite”
The plural of “aircraft” (also naval or spacecraft) is the same as its singular, but not of “craft”, as in “arts aand crafts”.”Maths” is British. Sounds odd to Americans, but perfectly valid as the word is a plural form in its singular. Similar, as you note, to “physics”, from Greek for “nature”, ie “phusis”. Greek upsilon looks like English “y”, but sounds like “oo”.
Nobody ever accused the English language of being too consistent 🙂
Lots of languages have nothing to do with logic, eg Spanish:
Don’t get me started on agendas to correct everyone!
And always remember your PIN number for using the ATM machine…
Obviously there are two mathematics: the one scientists use, and the one Lysenkoist climate loonies use.
More importantly, is the plural of bigfoot “bigfeet” or “bigfoots”?
Either. But for the Indian tribe, it’s Blackfoots and the Russian Su-25 attack plane, Frogfoots.
For Hobbits it’s “Proudfeet”.
Not according to those Proudfeet, however.
Here in Alberta I have never heard the Blackfoot referred to as “Blackfoots”. We use Blackfoot for both singular and plural. Perhaps a Canadian/American difference?
You guys and your “First Nations” terminology, which sounds both weird and politically too correct. Eh?
Depends. Sometimes in MT, you also see Blackfeet Nation. But my first wife was a Blackfoot, who insisted upon Blackfoots.
I thought it was a big myth.
For horses and cattle (of all kinds), it’s hooves. For pigs, it is trotters.
Sara ==> I had a friend that raised trotters — but they were racing horses.
What? No pacers? 🙂
Sara ==> Well, his horses raced at Saratoga (NY) and pulled those silly little chariots. . . . no pacers for him.
I thought trotters was what you get when you eat too many gooseberries
Or the plural of “moose”? Is it meese? Or mooses? Or moose?
Duane ==> I think it might be “mise” — following from mouse/mice.
Steam hissing out from under his hood, a Walrus pulls his convertible into a service station…
The service station attendant looks over and says “looks like you’ve blown a seal”
“No I haven’t,” says the Walrus, “I’ve just finished an ice-cream.”
Okay, you shameless person, I am SO stealing that!
👍, I hope Kip don’t mind to much just a little light relief.
We definitely need it right now.
Now that’s funny, hard telling what that says about my sense of humor.
Quite frankly, with those tusks, there’s going to be some issues…
The next book in the series should be Arctic Penguins – Facts and Myths.
Okay, everyone here gets that little joke, but with the current state of public school
educationindoctrination and misinformation, Dr. Crockford may just have to write such a (short!) book.
It wouldn’t surprise me a bit to find that some kids believe there are penguins at the North Pole.
I’m pretty much up to speed on Polar Bears, but not so much on walruses. I’ll have to check out a copy.
H.R. ==> Excellent suggestion about Penguins — particularly with the US EPA proposing to list emperor Penguins under the Endangered Species Act.
and so there were until global warming made them migrate as climate refugees to the antarctic
Arctic penguins became extinct due to Anthropogenic Global Warming, don’t you know?!
And the polar bears barbies…
Sad thing is that Antarctic penguins got their name from Atlantic and Mediterranean great auks, which went extinct off Iceland in 1844.
Another piece of misdirection and misrepresentation from the good Doctor?
Walrus rely on ice floes over shallow water… these days the ice recedes rapidly from the shallow water each year. So walrus haul out and when hauled out are vulnerable.
Here are some actual walrus facts:
Walruses in a Time of Climate Change (noaa.gov)
Climate change puts the Pacific Walrus population on thin ice | Stories | WWF (worldwildlife.org)
griff ==> You ought to buy and read the book before making disparaging remarks.
The IUCN Red List currently shows the walrus (globally) as “Vulnerable”. Your NOAA link states that there has been “an exponential increase in walruses in the region (Svalbard) that has experienced the fastest and most profound regional sea ice losses over recent decades.”
Notice to other readers:
Yeah, but, Kip Hansen, I’m worried that Griffypoo is just crying out for solace in his lonely tower on The Heap where he built it. We can’t even be sure he’s wearing trousers half the time… or getting enough peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. Nutrition is everything, you know. Food feeds the brain…. or something. 🙂
Classic example of only reading the propaganda and believing it, either can’t be bothered to fact check ,or just blind faith .
….. or he’s just off his medications again. I mean, is it any surprise to anyone that he knows more than Dr. Crockford about walruses.
Lack of medication or just brainwashing, whichever, he needs help.
They’re not mutually exclusive.
I miss his Arctic sea ice updates, but I can fill in partially until he gets his act together:
Don’t forget to hit the Antarctic button and run the plot for 1979.
phil ==> Thanks for the reminder of that link…..
The walrus is a relict species, last survivor of a once diverse pinniped family with at least 20 species of suction feeders. It’s more closely related to the eared seal family (sea lions and elephant seals) than to earless seals.
There were three subfamilies, of which only the walrus’ evolved tusks. The family dates from the mid-Miocene, some 15 to 20 Ma.
Pinnipeds are on the canid branch of Order Carnivora, either descended from bears or from a group closely related to them.
You would think the troll factory wouldn’t hire such stupid trolls.
Clearly Griff knows nothing. In earlier articles I documented how Russian walrus expert found the extensive ice of the LIA prevented walruses from foraging. Less ice now over the coastal shelves means more habitat and more food. Furthermore many walruses feeding in the Bering Sea go south to ice free regions, illustrating their total independence of ice floes. Walrus are only associated with ice floes because they follow the seasonally receding ice to gain access to the abundant food along the shallow coastal shelves that were covered in ice all winter.
True. During ice advances, walruses move south into the temperate zone. Even now they sometimes show up off CONUS coasts.
Poor griff doesn’t even read his references:
1 one of the only researched populations is increasing exponentially and it is not clear if ice matters
2 other climate worries arent: clams doing well
Terrestrial preditation not a problem
3 shipping: no issue
4 oil explotation: no problem since not one referenced study as there aren’t any
5 disease: no issue at all.
In fact everything in the noaa report is “this might be a worry, oops not” we should really quite it alot.
English language summary: “In the past, hunting controlled walrus populations. After implementation of hunting restrictions, current walrus over-exploitation of resources controls populations.”
“Another piece of misdirection and misrepresentation from the good Doctor?”
Another attempt at character assasination of Doctor Crockford by Griff?
You never learn, do you Griff.
Psychopaths cannot learn from error.
Flanders and Swan had this sorted out in the 1950s…
Now more hippopotami began to convene
On the banks of that river so wide
I wonder now what-am-I to say of the scene
That ensued by the Shalimar side?
They dived all at once with an ear-splitting splosh
Then rose to the surface again
A regular army of hippopotami
All singing this haunting refrain……
Here/hear you go, Flanders and Swan in full swing –
I listened to that and laughed so hard, I scared the cat out of perfectly good nap.
I hope Crockford’s book gets a lot of attention.
I wrote a few articles a few years ago documenting the gross misinformation alarmists have pushed regards walruses
2015 Arctic Report Card: NOAA Fails Walrus Science!‘
Hijacking Successful Walrus Conservation!
Jim ==> Thanks for checking in and giving links to better information.
In England the plural is walrusses. You are suffering from Noah Webster’s anti-English dictionary.
The walruses won’t have to eat junk food too will they?
Climate change may cause Arctic predators to eat marine ‘junk food’ (msn.com)
Ho hum another day another study put together by researchers suggests…..?
observa ==> first, consider the source….then….
Goo goo g’ joob
Alibris.com carries just about every book. I see Susan Crockford’s other books there, and assume the Walrus book will be available soon.
(Meant this as a reply to Oldseadog earlier.)