Humans and Hyenas : Monster or Misunderstood book cover
1st Edition

Humans and Hyenas
Monster or Misunderstood

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 18, 2021
ISBN 9780367436414
March 18, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
288 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Humans and Hyenas examines the origins and development of the relationship between the two to present an accurate and realistic picture of the hyena and its interaction with people. The hyena is one of the most maligned, misrepresented and defamed mammals. It is still, despite decades of research-led knowledge, seen as a skulking, cowardly scavenger rather than a successful hunter with complex family and communal systems.

Portrayed as sex-shifting deviants, grave robbers and attackers of children in everything from African folk tales through Greek and Roman accounts of animal life, to Disney’s The Lion King depicting hyenas with a lack of respect and disgust, despite the reality of their behaviour and social structures. Combining the personal, in-depth mining of scientific papers about the three main species and historical accounts, Keith Somerville delves into our relationship with hyenas from the earliest records from millennia ago, through the accounts by colonisers, to contemporary coexistence, where hyenas and humans are forced into ever closer proximity due to shrinking habitats and loss of prey – are hyenas fated to retain their bad image or can their amazing ability to adapt to humans more successfully than lions and other predators lead to a shift in perspective?

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars in the environmental sciences, conservation biology, and wildlife and conservation issues.

Table of Contents

Introduction and acknowledgements  1. Dramatis personae – the spotted, striped and brown hyena  2. Humans and hyenas from the Pleistocene to the Holocene  3. Humans and hyenas in Africa to 1600CE   4. Humans and hyenas in West, Central and South Asia to 1600CE   5. Humans and hyenas from1600CE to the end of the 19th century  6. Persecution increases under colonial rule   7. Contemporary Africa, West, Central and South Asia 8.  Myths and representations from early humans to The Lion King

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Keith Somerville is a Member of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent, UK, where he teaches at the Centre for Journalism. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, UK.