Rating = 3.5 starsThis was perhaps a little less interesting than [b:Throwim Way Leg|53859|Throwim Way Leg Tree-Kangaroos, Possums, and Penis Gourds|Tim Flannery|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348567278s/53859.jpg|6519510] because the focus here was more on zoology than anthropology. Not that I don't enjoy reading about rare bats and birds and rodents, but a girl needs some penis gourds and ancient blood feuds to spice things up. Whatever's missing early in the book with regard to culture is made up for in the chapter about Fiji, with stories of cannibalism and other strange practices. Cannibalism was such an integral part of Fijian culture that the proper greeting when encountering the tribal headman was "EAT ME." Yeah, baby. No further comment. Flannery makes some good arguments for how cannibalism made a certain amount of sense among isolated island societies. Tim Flannery's always a good sport about sharing his most embarrassing moments. My favorite one in this book took place on the French-speaking island of New Caledonia. Tim's French was rusty, but that didn't stop him from trying. He went into a pharmacy to buy some preservative for the animal specimens he was collecting. In French, the word preservatif refers not to formaldehyde, but to a certain prophylactic device. So it's not surprising that the druggist wanted to chase Tim out of the shop when he asked in French for "condoms for dead animals." Should you ever need to know, the correct word is formol. Tim Flannery has a gift for writing about scientific exploration without a lot of jargon or boring descriptions. His books are perfect for average people with an interest in animals and exotic places. No advanced degrees required. His books never have enough photos for me, so keep a list of the animals he mentions, and look them up online. Most of them are even more beautiful and/or bizarre than his descriptions can convey.