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In this addition to the critically acclaimed Scientist in the Field series, Dorothy Patent follows the scientists trying to put a stop to a gruesome disease before it’s too late. Tasmanian devils are dying at an alarming rate from a type of tumor that appears to be contagious. What scientists are learning while researching the Tasmanian devil has potential to affect all animals, and even humans, as they learn more about how to prevent and hopefully eradicate certain genetic diseases.
In 1995, a deadly disease began sweeping across the Australian island state of Tasmania, killing every infected Tasmanian devil. The disease moved so fast that some scientists feared the species would be wiped out in the wild within a few decades.
Where did this disease, named Devil Facial Tumor Disease, come from? What caused it—a virus, bacteria, or something else? How did it pass from one devil to another? What could be done to fight it?
When author Dorothy Hinshaw Patent learned of the race to save the devil from her friend, Australian geneticist Jenny Graves, she felt compelled to travel to Australia to learn firsthand from scientists what they were finding out about these iconic Tasmanian animals and what they were doing to help it from disappearing in the wild.
Follow Dorothy as she takes readers on a fascinating journey into the Australian mainland and Tasmania, visiting parks and wildlife refuges and joining geneticist, ecologists, and other researchers as they work tirelessly to save Tasmania’s unique icon.
About the Author
Dorothy Hinshaw Patent holds a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives with her husband in Missoula, Montana.
★ "The author's long experience writing for young readers is evident....A message of hope from Scientists in the Field."—Kirkus, STARRED review
"Trailblazing nature writer for youth Patent returns to the Scientists in the Field series.... [with] a sympathetic introduction to an animal most readers will only know from cartoon and legend."—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"...the outlook for the worldwide population of devils looks promising; readers of this concise study will know why." —The Horn Book