Cover image for Walker's mammals of the world.
Walker's mammals of the world.
Nowak, Ronald M.
Personal Author:
Sixth edition / Ronald M. Nowak.
Publication Information:
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
2 volumes (li, 1936 pages) : illustrations ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL703 .N69 1999 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
QL703 .N69 1999 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



From aardwolves and bandicoots to yapoks and zorillas, Ernest P. Walker's Mammals of the World is the most comprehensive--the pre-eminent--reference work on mammals. Now, completely revised and updated, this fascinating guide is better than ever. Providing a complete account of every genus of mammal in all historical time, the sixth edition is 25 percent longer than its predecessor. Of the previous generic accounts, 95 percent have been substantively modified, and there are 80 new ones--among them, three remarkable, large ungulates recently discovered in the forests of Indochina. New also is a full account of the woolly mammoth, now known to have survived until less than 4,000 years ago.

Each section of the book describes one genus and includes facts such as scientific and common names, the number and distribution of species, measurements and physical traits, habitat, locomotion, daily and seasonal activity, population dynamics, home range, social life, reproduction, and longevity. Textual summaries present accurate, well-documented descriptions of the physical characteristics and living habits of mammals in every part of the world. As in the last two editions, the names and distributions of every species of every genus are listed in systematic order. These lists have now been cross-checked to ensure coverage of all species in the comprehensive new Smithsonian guide, Mammal Species of the World. Facts on the biology of mammals have been brought together from more than 2,700 newly cited references, nearly all published in the last decade. Also new are the latest data on reproduction, longevity, fur harvests, numbers in the wild and in captivity, and conservation status. The sixth edition also records all official classifications of every mammal species and subspecies in the massive 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals.

The illustrations--more than 1,700--include virtually every genus of mammal. Among them are pictures by such noted wildlife photographers as Leonard Lee Rue III, Bernhard Grzimek, David Pye, and Warren T. Houck. Mammals pictured here for the first time include the just-discovered giant muntjac deer of Viet Nam, a rodent known only from the Solomon Islands, a large fruit bat whose male suckles the young, and an extremely rare web-footed tenrec of Madagascar.

Since its publication in 1964, Walker's Mammals of the World has become a favorite guide to the natural world for general readers as well as an invaluable resource for professionals. This sixth edition represents more than half a century of scholarship--Ernest P. Walker himself devoted more than thirty years to the original project--and remains true to Walker's vision, smoothly combining thorough scholarship with a popular, readable style to preserve and enhance what the Washington Post called "a landmark of zoological literature."

Author Notes

Ernest P. Walker (1891-1969) began work on Mammals of the World in the early 1930s, when he became assistant director of the National Zoo in Washington. His work reflected an unequaled store of knowledge about the world's mammals. Ronald M. Nowak was senior author of the fourth edition and author of the fifth edition of Walker's Mammals of the World. His other works on mammalogy include North American Quaternary Canis and several parts of the National Geographic Society's Wild Animals of North America, for which he also was editorial consultant. He received a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Kansas in 1973 and was staff mammalogist at the former Office of Endangered Species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, from 1974 to 1987. He served as an Air Force officer for four years and is a private pilot.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This is an amazing reference book on the natural history of mammals! The total dedication and scholarship that have gone into this work, starting with 30 years of love and labor by E.P. Walker (who died in 1969), and the subsequent efforts of Nowak, are fully reflected in the new edition, which is about 25 percent longer than the previous one (5th ed., CH, Apr'92). There are substantial revisions of virtually all previously treated genera, and 80 new ones are discussed. Though one could go on and cite lists of superlatives, such as the photo coverage (1,700) of even rare species or the thoroughness of the literature reviews and cited references (2,700 new ones), most such praise is inadequate. There are valuable new additions to the areas covered in the previous edition (which include the scientific and common names, distributions, habitat, positional behavior, social life, longevity, and reproductive behavior) such as conservation related statistics. To illustrate the thoroughness of this new edition, the woolly mammoth (it survived into historical times, 4,000 years ago) is given detailed treatment. This two-volume work should win some prizes! Recommended without reservations for all levels of readers. F. S. Szalay; CUNY Hunter College