New Today: Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver  by Frances Backhouse

The beaver has an image problem. All bucktooth goofiness, not worthy of noble national animals like America’s soaring eagle or China’s ferocious but cute panda. But, Frances Backho51EUmGbDkcL._SX315_BO1,204,203,200_use contends in Once They Were Hats (ECW) there is much more to the beaver than a tail that appears to have been flattened by a tractor tire:

The truth is, the humble and much-aligned beaver is actually the Mighty Beaver, arguable North America’s most influential animal, aside from ourselves. For no less than a million years, and possibly as long as 24 million, beavers in one form or another have been sculpting the continental landscape…

Backhouse builds a case for the beaver as noble standard bearer fora new world order blending history, science and common sense into an engaging and memorable work. ◊

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