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Deer of the World: Their Evolution, Behaviour and Ecology by Valerius Geist

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Looking around the office again for inspiration in preparing my featured book article, I noticed we had multiple copies of Deer of the World. I don’t know about you, but I am an animal lover and was immediately drawn to this title. Here in the Wye Valley and the neighbouring Forest of Dean, we have many Deer although I could not tell you what ‘brand’ they are! They are very stealthy creatures and I find myself in awe of them whenever I come across one… so silent in their comings and goings. I guess not so good if they are loose in your countryside garden demolishing your beloved plants!

Deer of the World

Deer of the World is a large tome and quite heavy. Disappointingly, there are few colour photos but the many black and white illustrations help to make up for this. I was wondering how best to describe this book, then I read the text on the front flap of the dustwrapper and I could not put it any better so I will paraphrase it here:


Deer of the World tells the fascinating story of how the family Cervidae has evolved over the past 30 million years and how its adaptations have made it one of the most successful mammals in the world today. Here the author, Dr Valerius Geist, combines over 40 years of first-hand research with information from English, German and Russian sources – both published and unpublished – to form the most comprehensive, up-to-date volume available on deer evolution, behaviour and ecology. (At least this was claimed to be the case in 1999 when this book was first published, 25 years ago now).

Since prehistory, deer have flourished in nearly every habitat – from desert to forest, from tropics to tundra – and have left a fossil record of dramatic earlier forms. As glaciers and humans altered the earth’s landscape, deer adapted. Deer of the World defines the body types of both past and present species, revealing how they avoid predation, whether they prefer dense vegetation or open plains habitat, whether their numbers are limited by resources or predators, and how well-suited they are to their environments. These evolutionary characteristics are followed by explanations of each species’ reproductive strategies, dominance displays and other social behaviours, discussed in context with similar species in comparable environments, weaving a compelling narrative of deer ecology.

This book is an authoritative reference for researchers, scientists, hunters, game managers and wildlife watchers alike.

At the time of writing, we have four copies of this informative book in stock… plenty to go around!

Contributed by Sonia

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(Published 7th May 2024)

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