The book is being published by the University Press of Kansas and will be available for use in classes in the spring of 1999.
A Kansas University naturalist emeritus, Joseph Collins, wrote a key to amphibians and reptiles that he thinks is going to get a lot of use.
"If they teach a lab in which they're going to identify reptiles and amphibians in North America, ... this is the only modern text," he said.
"A Key to Amphibians and Reptiles of the Continental United States and Canada," written by Collins, Robert Powell of Avila College in Kansas City, Mo., and Errol Hooper Jr., an assistant at the KU Natural History Museum, is the first North American reptile and amphibian key written since 1983. A lot has changed in the herpetology of North American since then.
"Since that time, we've added at least 50 new species," Collins said.
The guide walks students through class to species to identify the 550 types of reptiles and amphibians in North America.
"You could actually take this out in the field," Collins said. "Some of the creatures might wiggle."
Collins said he thinks the book has several unique, "cutting edge," features.
"I think it sets a new standard for keys," he said. "It does, in my opinion, present the most true representation of reptilian life on this continent and I think that's good for students."
It uses "evolutionary species concept," to identify animals and requires students to know their geography. It also offers enterprising learners references for more information on species.
"We are trying to teach more about the animals," Collins said.
The evolutionary species concept says that animals that look exactly alike but are separated by genetics and can not interbreed be classified as different species.
The book is being published by the University Press of Kansas. It will be available for use in classes in the spring of 1999. It is one of 22 books Collins has written.
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