The Female Animal

Irene Elia

Henry Holt 1988
A book review by Danny Yee © 1993
female life on Earth

The Female Animal is a guided tour of the animal kingdom from the point of view of the female, with the focus on such topics as reproduction, courtship, lactation, and gestation. The first part covers invertebrates (very briefly), fishes, and herptiles (reptiles and amphibians); the second covers mammals and primates. Only the last twenty odd pages are devoted specifically to women, but references to them are scattered throughout the book. Elia, herself a physical anthropologist, never takes the sociobiology too far, though her conclusions may dismay some.

Overall The Female Animal is a lot of fun. It contains plenty of interesting details, admittedly sometimes rather trivial, about the animal world and should appeal to all fans of natural history. It would be great illustrated or as a television series: where are you David Attenborough?

October 1993

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%T The Female Animal
%A Elia, Irene
%I Henry Holt
%D 1988
%O paperback, bibliography, index
%G ISBN 0805007024
%P 318pp