Extinct Animals

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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

From the Publisher

"The prose is exceptionally well crafted, always including interesting facts or stories about the departed species."

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ARBAonline

"Extinct Animals is a remarkable and highly recommended work of scholarship that is fully accessible to the non-specialist general reader, as well as academia."

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Midwest Book Review - MBR Bookwatch

". . . 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)."

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School Library Journal

"These 65 species are fascinating, evocative, and important to know about as representative of the history of the earth. The information is interesting and well documented, and the author writes clearly and intelligently."

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Booklist

"This book is recommended for public and college libraries and high schools where there is a strong interest in extinct species."

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Catholic Library World

"Anyone with an interest in zoology or general users interested in animals of the past will enjoy this book; a good addition for public libraries."

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Reference 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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313349874
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/20/2009
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 1,102,403
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

ROSS PIPER is an independent scholar. His life-long interest in natural history, especially animals, led to academia and he went on to gain a 1st class degree in Zoology from the University of Wales, Bangor and a PhD in entomology from the University of Leeds. Currently, he lives in Hertfordshire, England. This is his sixth book.

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Table of Contents

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

1. LESS THAN 100 YEARS AGO

GOLDEN TOAD

GASTRIC-BROODING FROG

ESKIMO CURLEW

CARIBBEAN MONK SEAL

THYLACINE

CAROLINA PARAKEET

PASSENGER PIGEON

EXTINCTION INSIGHT 1: THE LOTTERY OF FOSSILIZATION

2. LESS THAN 200 YEARS AGO

ROCKY MOUNTAIN LOCUST

PIG-FOOTED BANDICOOT

QUELILI

STEPHENS ISLAND WREN

TARPAN

QUAGGA

WARRAH

GREAT AUK

EXTINCTION INSIGHT 2: THE GREAT AMERICAN INTERCHANGE

3. LESS THAN 500 YEARS AGO

ELEPHANT BIRDS

STELLERS SEA COW

DODO

AUROCHS

MOA

HAASTS EAGLE

MARCANO'S SOLENODON

EXTINCTION INSIGHT 3: HUMAN DISCOVERY AND EXTINCTION

4. LESS THAN 10000 YEARS AGO

MOA-NALO

DU

HORNED TURTLE

GIANT LEMUR

WOOLY MAMMOTH

SIVATHERE

GIANT DEER

GIANT GROUND SLOTH

CUBAN GIANT OWL

EXTINCTION INSIGHT 4: ENTOMBED IN TAR: THE RANCHO LA BREA ASPHALT DEPOSITS

5. 10000-12500 YEARS AGO

GLYPTODONTS

SABER TOOTH CAT

SCIMITAR CAT

AMERICAN MASTODON

GIANT BEAVER

AMERICAN CHEETAH

AMERICAN LION

WOOLY RHINOCEROS

LITOPTERN

DIRE WOLF

CAVE BEAR

SICILIAN DWARF ELEPHANT

MERRIAMS TERATORN

EXTINCTION INSIGHT 5: ICE AGES

6. MORE THAN 12500 YEARS AGO

GIANT SHORT-FACED BEAR

FLORES HUMAN

GIANT BISON

HOMO ERECTUS

NEANDERTAL

MARSUPIAL LION

DIPROTODON

AUSTRALIAN THUNDER BIRDS

GIANT MONITOR LIZARD

QUINKANA

GIANT SHORT-FACED KANGAROO

GIANT ECHIDNA

WONAMBI

EXTINCTION INSIGHT 6: A HOLE IN THE DESERT: THE NULLARBOR PLAIN CAVES

7. MORE THAN 50000 YEARS AGO

GIANT RHINOCEROS

MEGATOOTH SHARK

MAGNIFICENT TERATORN

POUCH-KNIFE

TERROR BIRDS

GIANT HYENA

GIANT APES

GIANT CAMEL

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

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