All the Mammals of the World
- All the Mammals of the World (Lynx Edicions, 2023).
- 800 pages; 7,349 illustrations, 6,459 colour distribution maps.
- ISBN: 9788416728664. Hbk, €89.
Following on from the nine-volume spectacular that was Handbook of the Mammals of the World comes an amalgamation of that series into a single, 800-page book: All the Mammals of the World. Presented in the same vein as 2020's All the Birds of the World, this is a synopsis of all Earth's known mammal species (6,581 to be exact).
Being the owner of a couple of volumes of the Handbook, I was already aware of the high quality of illustrations to be found within, yet seeing everything from big cats, great apes and hyenas to moles, shrews and bats all presented together was something special. This is a visually stunning book that is an absolute joy to simply pick up and flick through, something that the eye-to-eye contact with the Snow Leopard on the front cover signals might well be the case even before turning the first page.
After a brief foreword, the species accounts begin. Presented in taxonomic order, the species entries are shown in 'grids', with genera grouped together thus showing similar species side by side. Each species is attributed at least one illustration (some have several, where there is significant phenotypic variation), a simple range map, basic measurements (such as size and weight), the scientific name and the English, German, French and Spanish names. The result of keeping things minimal – yet not too minimal as to be rendered unhelpful – is that no page looks overly cluttered. For example, there is enough space so that none of the illustrations overlap and each species can be appreciated fully without distraction.
Retailing at €89, All the Mammals of the World isn't a cheap purchase. But why would it be? It's a hefty tome that weighs 4.6 kg and presents well in excess of 7,000 illustrations – a reminder of the staggering volume of work that has gone into its creation. It's undoubtedly an investment for life that any budding naturalist will never fail to be impressed by. It comes highly recommended.