↠´ Beasts of Eden: Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution ç Download by Û David Rains Wallace A history of mammal evolution and the scientific controversies its study has spawned I enjoyed the book very much, but I would have likedon the mammals and less on the controversies.
Somewhat disjointed but spirited coverage of mammalian palaeontology and evolution, tied together in a rather laboured manner via Zallinger s famous mural at the Peabody museum First third mostly covers the early days of palaeontology as a science, then it meanders into a discussion of punctuated equilibrium vs gradualist evolution, and ends up talking about the search for basal primate fossils Lacking something if a coherent narrative either on a scientific or historical level, but it s enormously enthusiastic, knowledgable, and stuffed with fascinating vignettes Could have done with somefocus like Deborah cadbury s brilliant Terrible Lizard , or at the very least someillustrations The sheer number of scientific names that Mammals First Evolved At About The Same Time As Dinosaurs, And Their Story Is Perhaps The Fascinating Of The Two In Part Because It Is Also Our Own Story In This Literate And Entertaining Book, Eminent Naturalist David Rains Wallace Brings The Saga Of Ancient Mammals To A General Audience For The First Time Using Artist Rudolph Zallinger S Majestic The Age Of Mammals Mural At The Peabody Museum As A Frame For His Narrative, Wallace Deftly Moves Over Varied Terrain Drawing From History, Science, Evolutionary Theory, And Art History To Present A Lively Account Of Fossil Discoveries And An Overview Of What Those Discoveries Have Revealed About Early Mammals And Their Evolution In These Pages We Encounter Towering Mammoths, Tiny Horses, Giant Clawed Ground Sloths, Whales With Legs, Uintatheres, Zhelestids, And Other Exotic Extinct Creatures As Well As The Scientists Who Discovered And Wondered About Their Remains We Meet Such Memorable Figures As Georges Cuvier, Richard Owen, Edward D Cope, George Gaylord Simpson, And Stephen Jay Gould And Learn Of Their Heated Disputes, From Cuvier S And Owen S Fights With Early Evolutionists To Present Controversies Over The Late Cretaceous Mass Extinction Wallace S Own Lifelong Interest In Evolution Is Reflected In The Book S Evocative And Engaging Style And In The Personal Experiences He Expertly Weaves Into The Tale, Providing An Altogether Expansive Perspective On What Darwin Described As The Grandeur Of Evolution Mammals appeared in the Triassic, having evolved from mammal like reptiles with a reptilian skull but differentiated teeth Most Mesozoic mammals were small and unspecialized, like the squirrels and rats of today s cities, though by the Cretaceous modern orders started appearing we have a skull showing typical lagomorph circulation and another with typical ungulate teeth After the dinosaurs died off, there was of course an explosion of mammalian ecological diversity, producing whales, horses, and different now extinct Tertiary mammals, including carnivorous ungulates with meter long skulls and enormous browsers that looked like a cross between the rhino and the giraffe All of this was discovered from the fossils in the 19th and the 20th century, and confirmed by genetic analysis in the 21st century the discoveries were the raw mate When you use a famous but little seen mural as the structure on which you build your narrative it would help immensely to have that mural reproduced in your book Instead we are left to wonder at the overall look and feel of the artwork, with only black and white reproductions of small areas scattered throughout the text Still, there are many interesting things to learn here, mostly about the scientists who worked to uncover facts about these long dead creatures, their wars over theory, and the animals themselves.
This book is not as advertised I was hoping for somethinglike a field guide of prehistoric mammals, or at least some kind of walkthrough of what mammal life was like millions of years ago However, despite everything on the cover and summary in the jacket flap, this book was really a book detailing the history of mammalian evolution theories Wallace does a nice job detailing that history, but it isn t nearly as interesting as the animals themselves It was a bit of a struggle to read through because it was not at all what I expected.
At the La Brea Tar Pits, I realized that I didn t quite have as firm a grasp on evolution as I thought, especially when I found out that there were only mammals at La Brea and I didn t know how we fit into the grand scheme of things I remedied this immediately, thinking that I was purchasing a grand overview of evolutionary history Instead, I had purchased the evolution of the theory of mammalian evolution On the pedantic side, I didn t really keep up with all the names or events This book appears to have been intendedfor academics than the general public.
Something of a disappointment to me While it started strongly and elegantly, and is tied together with a marvelous device, the book increasingly became a turgid narrative of the politics of mammalian paleontology Too much inside baseball for me.
I was sort of disappointed with this one It was good, it just wasn t as good as I d hoped it would be I m really fascinated by early mammals, so I went in expecting to learn a lot about the dawn horses and walking whales in the title Instead, the greater portion of the book was about the various scientists who discovered the fossils and their rivalries and competing theories The other disappointment was the dearth of illustrations The author takes his inspiration from the famous Age of Mammals mural at the Peabody Museum, so you would think that the mural would be reproduced in the book Sadly, the full mural is never shown portions of it are reprinted, but in black and white, which makes it look blurry and also makes it difficult to ascertain exactly which ancient mammals the author is referring to I had hoped to get a better idea of what all of these mammals were, how they Advertised as a book about the enigmas of mammalian evolution, it is as much about the politics and feuds of early anthropology Also, while it uses Rudolph Zallinger s The Age of Mammals mural at the Peabody Museum as inspiration and guide, there are almost no illustrations from the mural used through the book, which leaves the reader without an easy referent This book is also highly technical in its use of zoological terms in ways which left me frequently baffled a useful book but probably not one intended for the casual reader.