Monday, May 28, 2018

NONFICTION MONDAY: The Hyena Scientist by Sy Montgomery


The Hyena Scientist sets the record straight about one of history’s most hated and misunderstood mammals, while featuring the groundbreaking, pioneering research of a female scientist in a predominately male field.

As a scientist studying one of the only mammalian societies led entirely by females, zoologist Kay Holecamp has made it her life’s work to understand hyenas, the fascinating, complex creatures that are playful, social, and highly intelligent—almost nothing like the mangy monsters of pop culture lore.


I love these Scientists in the Field series. Not only do they give the reader a glimpse into what it's like to be a field scientist but the information about the topic is fascinating.  I learned a lot about hyenas reading this book.  As Montgomery points out at the beginning of the book, hyenas are seen by many as evil scavengers, but they aren't.  They live in clans with complex social mores that Holecamp, even after years of study still works to understand.  In addition to sharing some of what she learned about hyenas, Montgomery highlights Holecamp and her research assistants and how they came to work in Kenya.  The challenges of field work aren't overlooked as Montgomery details problems such as flooding, lots of mud, and simply finding hyenas to observe.  Bishop's gorgeous photographs add a great deal to the book by showing both the people and animals involved in Holecamp's work.  A great addition to the series and a fabulous book to offer animal or science loving students.

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