“In the Womb: Animals”, by Michael Sims

COVER_IntheWombAnimals A couple of months ago, I received an email asking if I would like to review this book.  I looked at some of the pictures they sent (which you'll see here) and immediately said yes.  Unfortunately, it took me some time to get around to reading the whole book. Yes, it's a picture book, but there's a lot of good information in the text, as well. 

I don't watch a lot of television, so I missed the accompanying TV series on the National Geographic Channel.   If they repeat it, I think it would be worth watching.

Embryo dog The book begins by reviewing the reproductive physiology of dogs, with which I am pretty familiar.  The information is very good, and contained no glaring errors.  From this I extrapolate that the rest of the book's information is similarly accurate.  While I enjoy the pictures, I hate to think that I'm soaking up a bunch of inaccurate data, and I really don't have the background to evaluate what the author says about the more exotic species.

Embryo dolphin When we get into kangaroos, sharks, dolphins, elephants and more, I must admit I'm out of my depth.

Embryo elephant I reckon I could call my old classmate, Dr. Dennis Schmidt, about the elephants, as he is one of the foremost experts in the world when it comes to elephant reproduction.  I wish that I'd had this book, or that he'd already been famous for that twenty years ago.  This story really plays better as performance art, but the gist of it is that two drunks came in wanting me to settle a bet about "how elephants make love."  You can just read the book… about their question, that is (not about the whole story.  Maybe I'll make a video and put it on Youtube).

This is really a neat book, with amazing photos.  I'm  a "how did they do that?" kind of guy, and I wish there were an appendix about the photography.  How much was done endoscopically? How much is computer simulation, plastic models or what?  This is never addressed.  That sort of technical background certainly is not the thrust of the book, of course, but I'd surely like to know.

I would recommend this book to any animal lover without hesitation.

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