Understanding Mammals

Threefoldness and Diversity: Volumes 1 and 2

Wolfgang Schad; Translated by Catherine Creeger; Mark Riegner

Out of print

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This edition is out of print but a new edition, called Threefoldness in Humans and Mammals, is available. Click on the cover in the carousel below.

  • An astonishing study of mammals and what influences their size, morphology, habitat and embryonic development
  • Five decades in the making, this is Wolfgang Schad's major work, updated and revised for this edition
  • A must-read book for anyone interested in evolutionary biology

A monumental, groundbreaking work which is the fruit of a lifetime of observation, research and meditation.

234 x 165 mm
Adonis Press
Philosophy of Human Life;
800 colour illustrations
1312 pages
Publication date:
21 Feb 2019


This monumental, groundbreaking work is the fruit of a lifetime of observation, research and meditation on humans and our closest animal relatives: mammals.

The two volumes set out to answer questions such as:
-- Are mammals solely the result of random mutation and natural selection — essentially external factors — or do the internal dynamics of the organism itself play a role in determining their astonishing diversity?
-- Why do cattle have horns and deer have antlers?
-- Why do small chipmunks have dorsal stripes that run parallel to their spine, and tigers have stripes on their flanks that run parallel to their ribs?

Wolfgang Schad demonstrates how such fascinating phenomena can be traced to which organ systems -- nerve-sense, centred in the head; metabolic-limb, centred in the digestive organs and limbs; and circulatory-respiratory, centred in the chest -- are emphasised in a particular species. In this way he establishes the basis for a systematic understanding of mammalian morphology.

Schad shows how the different emphases come to expression through a mammal's size, morphology, dentition and coloration, and also in its preferred habit and embryonic development.

In almost five decades since its first edition, Wolfgang Schad has continued to add to what has become his life’s major work. This expanded second edition includes many new insights and additional chapters on antelopes, marsupials, bats, xenarthrans (armadillos, anteaters, and sloths), and pangolins, as well as on milk and mammalian embryology, mammalian embryology and much more.


'Understanding Mammals is a profoundly important work which has the potential to steer biology and evolution theory in a more rational and positive direction.'
-- New View


Professor Dr Wolfgang Schad was born in 1935 and studied biology, chemistry, physics and education. He worked for many years as a Waldorf school teacher and as a lecturer at the Waldorf Teacher's College in Stuttgart. He is an Emeritus Professor at Institute for Evolutionary Biology at the University of Witten-Herdecke, Germany, a position he held until his retirement in 2005.

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