The Tapir's Morning Bath: Mysteries of the Tropical Rain Forest and the Scientists Who Are Trying to Solve Them

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002 - Nature - 328 pages
4 Reviews
An engaging portrait of a community of biologists, The Tapir's Morning Bath is a behind-the-scenes account of life at a tropical research station that "conveys the uncertainties, frustrations, and joys of [scientific] field work" (Science). On Panama's Barro Colorado Island, Elizabeth Royte works alongside the scientists -- counting seeds, sorting insects, collecting monkey dung, radiotracking fruit bats -- as they struggle to parse the intricate workings of the tropical rain forest. While showing the human side of the scientists at work, Royte explores the tensions between the slow pace of basic research and the reality of a world that may not have time to wait for answers.
 

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User Review  - albertgoldfain - LibraryThing

Royte does a good job expressing the outsider's awe at the BCI ecosystem and seems genuinely invested in the cycle of drudgery and fleeting payoff that is scientific fieldwork. The patience and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - satyridae - LibraryThing

I enjoyed both of Royte's more recent books. This was more memoir than science, and while that's not a bad thing, it's certainly not what I was led to expect. Some wonderful moments, but ultimately not memorable, I'm afraid. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

The Lab in the Jungle
1
Pieces of the Frame
20
Cocktails with Bert
40
The Covert Troop
60
The Ingenious Habit
78
Rat Patrol
98
Higher Primates
115
The Rainy Season
137
The Disappearing Naturalist
208
The Division of Cells
226
Wonderland
236
Saving the Whales
259
Tropical Derelict
271
A Maverick Reconsiders
290
The Great Unknown
308
Epilogue
322

Bug Jocks
159
Random Error
174
Hubi Toolmaker
191
Bibliography
324
Acknowledgments
327
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About the author (2002)

Elizabeth Royte is a contributing writer for Outside magazine. She has written for the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, National Geographic, Smithsonian, The New Yorker, and Rolling Stone.

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