Lutra 57(1)_Bekker_Editorial_2014

Mind your step!

The fourth, and most recent, volume of Wilson & Mittermeier’s Handbook of the mammals of the world (2011a, 2011b, 2013, 2014) was published this year. Each volume has, on average, almost 800 pages, and when turning these pages the reader is overwhelmed by a plethora of insights and details about carnivores, hooved animals, primates and sea mammals. Approximately half of the pages are filled with excellent photographs depicting, in detail, morphological aspects, methods of communication, eating habits, home ranges, social organisation and more. All these details are based on copious scientific references and citations. For instance there are 57 double column pages of literature on carnivores. While this new assemblage of information is very interesting, it raises the question of what major advances (if any) have been made in mammalogy in recent decades and their nature. There definitely have been some, three of which are worthy of mention. First,.....