Extinct Animals: An Encyclopedia of Species that Have Disappeared during Human History

Extinct Animals: An Encyclopedia of Species that Have Disappeared during Human History

by Ross Piper
     
 

Everyone is familiar with the dodo and the wooly mammoth, but how many people have heard of the scimitar cat and the Falkland Island fox? Extinct Animals portrays over 60 remarkable animals that have been lost forever during the relatively recent geological past. Each entry provides a concise discussion of the history of the animal—how and where it

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Overview

Everyone is familiar with the dodo and the wooly mammoth, but how many people have heard of the scimitar cat and the Falkland Island fox? Extinct Animals portrays over 60 remarkable animals that have been lost forever during the relatively recent geological past. Each entry provides a concise discussion of the history of the animal—how and where it lived, and how it became extinct—as well as the scientific discovery and analysis of the creature. In addition, this work examines what led to extinction—from the role of cyclical swings in the Earth's climate to the spread of humans and their activities. Many scientists believe that we are in the middle of a mass extinction right now, caused by the human undermining of the earth's complex systems that support life. Understanding what caused the extinction of animals in the past may help us understand and prevent the extinction of species in the future.

Extinct Animals examines the biology and history of some of the most interesting creatures that have ever lived, including: The American Terror Bird, which probably became extinct over 1 million years ago, who were massive predators, some of which were almost 10 feet tall; the Rocky Mountain Locust, last seen in 1902, formed the most immense animal aggregations ever known, with swarms estimated to include over 10 trillion insects; the Giant Ground Sloth, which was as large as an elephant; and the Neandertals, the first Europeans, which co-existed with prehistoric Homo sapiens. Extinct Animals includes illustrations—many created for the work—that help the reader visualize the extinct creature, and each entry concludes with a list of resources for those who wish to do further research.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—The great auk, the dodo, the passenger pigeon—these recently extinct animals get most of the press, but, as Ross points out, they are just the tip of the iceberg. Noting claims that possibly a million or more species have vanished in the last century alone, he highlights 65 creatures that are presumed extinct. Grouping his two- to four-page entries into chronological chapters, the author goes backward in time, beginning with the golden toad, the Eskimo curlew, and five others that were last seen less than 100 years ago, and ending more than 50,000 years ago with the likes of the megatooth shark and the giant ape. Homo erectus and its near relatives are included, too. Each entry opens with a taxonomic classification and brief overview; goes on to describe physical features, range, ecological niche, and likely fate; includes a small, drab photo or drawing; and closes with a bulleted list of extra facts and leads to further reading. Though the book has a dense, utilitarian look that will keep casual browsers away, the prose is clear and even lively at times ("Fortunately for the pronghorn antelope, the American cheetah died out around 10,000 years ago"). The level of detail makes this a more rewarding resource for serious students of extinction's causes—which are many and often hard to pin down—than Don Lessem's Dinosaurs to Dodos: An Encyclopedia of Extinct Animals (Scholastic, 1999).—John Peters, New York Public Library

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313349881
Publisher:
Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/20/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
4 MB

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