Its thickness is 800 pages, and it weighs about 2.5 kilograms – this is an advertisement. Joscha Grolms has not just written any book on the effects of reading. » Traces of animals in Europe. Defining and Interpreting Traces and Signs», published by Ulmer Verlag in June 2021, wants to be the standard work on the subject – and it does so with ease.
So far, no author has dared to tackle the gigantic task of capturing everything about this subject, and every discernible trace, of every animal occurring in Europe, so accurately and in as much detail as possible between two book covers. Grolms manages to do exactly that: On a double page in the book, for example, he actually calculates the differences between the footprints of white-toothed shrews and those of red-toothed shrew feet using pictures and lane photos. And this is despite the fact that 95% of the population probably does not even know that white and red-toothed shrews exist at all. Not to mention that one could tell them apart based on their tracks.
However, the extensive work is aimed at experts and laymen alike. It’s a track business for other trackers: Joscha Grolms has been handling the matter professionally for many years. After graduating from high school, he went to the United States for a year to learn the craft of tracing with a Native American. Since his return he has been active in the “Wildniswissen Wilderness School”, one of the pioneers of tracking in Germany. There he offers courses and continues to educate himself.
In Germany, Grolms are only allowed to take internationally approved exams in track reading. It is well networked in the small but steadily growing international community: Mark Elbrush, pioneer of modern reading of the track and author of the standard work on the North American zoologist, was one of the ideas behind this book and also wrote some of the texts in it. Many photos of footprints and tracks contributed by other avid trackers. For the aspiring tracker, standard length and width information on step seals, author ink drawings, and elaborate dots are invaluable.
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