The Call of Distant Mammoths: Why the Ice Age Mammals Disappeared / Edition 1

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To help us understand what happened during the Ice Age, Peter Ward takes us on a tour of other mass extinctions through earth's history. He presents a compelling account of the great comet crash that killed off the dinosaurs, and describes other extinctions that were even more extensive. In so doing, he introduces us to a profound paradigm shift now taking place in paleontology: rather than arising from the gradual workings of everyday forces, all mass extinctions are due to unique, catastrophic events. Written with an irresistible combination of passion and expertise, The Call of Distant Mammoths is an engaging exploration of the history of life and the importance of humanity as an evolutionary force.
"Carefully intelligent and compelling book."-THE OLYMPIAN, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
"Ward deftly summarizes a large body of scientific literature, simplifying complex ideas for the general reader without condescension."-PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"Did the overkill really happen?...Peter Ward deftly summarizes the arguments...Ward tells (the story) well."-THE NEW SCIENTIST

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Carefully intelligent and compelling book." The Olympian (Seattle, WA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780387985725
  • Publisher: Springer New York
  • Publication date: 10/9/1998
  • Edition description: Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Elephants' Graveyard
1 The Time Machine 1
2 Heart of Darkness 24
3 When Worlds Collide 48
4 The Once and Future Kingdoms 68
5 Wheel of Fortune 88
6 The Hunger 118
7 The Kill Curve 166
8 The Lost World 192
9 Nevermore 202
10 The Smoking Gun 215
Afterword: 3001 221
References 225
Index 231
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Intriguing Possibility

    Everyone knows that the last ice age killed the mastodons and mammoths. Massive climate changes apparently altered their sources of food, the weather was difficult to adapt to and these mega mammals became extinct as a result of these powerful forces. But what if we are wrong in these assumptions?

    Peter D. Ward instructs us to search elsewhere for the true culprit. To learn the truth, Ward leads us through several mass extinctions in Earth's history, the demise of the mightiest of dinosaurs and the unceasing advance of the Clovis people and other groups of early man. On every continent, the great mammals disappeared shortly after the arrival of man. Coincidence? The author does not think so.

    On top of this, some species seem to go into "protective mode" if their survival seems unlikely. For example, when modern elephants are threatened, they produce less offspring, not more. They've even been known to shove juveniles away from shrinking waterholes so that the adult elephants may drink, thus helping to ensure the survival of viable males and females capable of continuing the species. Could ancient mega mammals have exhibited similar behavior? If waves of hunters were added to this sad equation, might not mammoths and other large creatures have reached the overkill threshold, the point from which their species could never recover?

    If so, how does this bode well for our future and the continuation of hundreds of species into the next century or millenium? Is it already too late? Read on, dear reader, read on and discover the true villain in this modern day mystery.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2000

    A Great Look at a Forgotten Species

    This was a great book. Everyone argues about what killed the dinosaurs, but this book takes a deep look at another great mystery - what killed off the ice age mammals. The findings are very interesting and somewhat shocking. The book is easy to read and really holds the reader's attention. This is a great book for anyone interested in ancient worlds or creatures, as well as man's impact on the world around us. I highly recommend it.

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