August 24, 1963

To know a fly

Author Affiliations



By Vincent G. Dethier. 119 pp. $3.75. Holden-Day, 728 Montgomery St, San Francisco, 1963

JAMA. 1963;185(8):676. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060080072034

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At the present time zoologists have in large part lost contact with "nature" in the older 19th-century sense. Modern zoology seems wedded to chemistry and physics, with a houseful of alreadyadult daughter sciences, and roomfuls of electronic furniture. It is consequently a matter of great satisfaction when we find a highly sophisticated biologist who not only presents the achievements of modern zoology but at the same time preserves the virtues of the old-time naturalist and who, as a special bonus, is also a talented writer bringing charm and wit to his pages.

Professor Dethier, a specialist in insect physiology at the University of Pennsylvania, writes about flies, their anatomical structures and physiological functions, their habits and instincts, modes of integration and adaptation. He discusses them as whole organisms interacting with their environment, as well as composites of separate organs and functions.

The book would come under the category of "popular

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