Throughout the twentieth century, pioneering biological field work was conducted from Mexico through Panama by such giants in the field as Miguel Alvarez del Toro, Charles Sibley, John T. Emlen Jr., and many others. But the written reports and scientific papers detailing their discoveries leave out the adventure, sense of discovery, and unexpected humor of their time in the field.
Moments of Discovery collects twenty autobiographical descriptions of the incongruous situations, captivating people and places, and the inevitable trials and tribulations that surround some of the greatest biological discoveries in Mexico and Central America from the 1930s through the 1990s. The anthology allows the entertaining and illuminating events that have mostly lived in oral history to be read and enjoyed by a broad audience.
A significant contribution to the history of biological exploration, this book is a must-read for anyone considering biological field work in the region--or the amateur, armchair fieldworker who wonders what those trips were really like.
"A delightful compilation of adventure and catastrophe as well as triumph and tragedy experienced by those who struggled valiantly to study the rich biodiversity of Middle America and anguished over its senseless destruction." --Floyd E. Hayes, Pacific Union College
"Each chapter is a mix of ingredients, a mortar, which contributes to the foundation of Middle American scientific inquiry of species, and their research little known to the wider audience, upon which future inquiry must stand. It's also great and fascinating reading!" --Robert L. Norton, coeditor of An Inventory of Breeding Seabirds of the Caribbean
Kevin Winker is curator of birds and professor of biology and wildlife at the University of Alaska Museum and the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. 2012 paperback printing (2010).