The Animal Way of Death
By Bernd Heinrich
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), Hardcover, 9780547752662, 256pp.)
Publication Date: June 19, 2012
List Price: $25.00*
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When a good friend with a severe illness wrote, asking if he might have his green burial at Bernd Heinrich's hunting camp in Maine, it inspired the acclaimed biologist to investigate a subject that had long fascinated him. How exactly does the animal world deal with the flip side of the life cycle? And what are the lessons, ecological to spiritual, raised by a close look at how the animal world renews itself? Heinrich focuses his wholly original gaze on the fascinating doings of creatures most of us would otherwise turn away from field mouse burials conducted by carrion beetles; the communication strategies of ravens, the premier northern undertakers; and the inadvertent teamwork among wolves and large cats, foxes and weasels, bald eagles and nuthatches in cold-weather dispersal of prey. Heinrich reveals, too, how and where humans still play our ancient and important role as scavengers, thereby turning not dust to dust but life to life.