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Preface: That Grand Subject
1. Galapagan Epiphany
2. The Mesosarus Problem
3. Pygmy Mammoths and Mysterious Islands
4. The Volcanic Ring That Changed the World
5. The Bloody Fall of South America and the Last of the Jurassic Beak-Headed Reptiles
6. Enchanted Waters
7. The Battle Over Eden
8. The Mysteries That Remain
9. The Grand Coalescence of Life and Earth
Posted October 4, 2011
McCarthy does an admirable job of presenting the importance of biogeography (an understanding of the distribution of organisms) in its historical and broader biological context, bringing together discovery travel, many aspects of biology, geology,and presenting the work of a wide variety of important researchers. His presentation is both well informed and very accessible to the non-specialist. Well written and well documented, I highly recommend this book to any who are curious about the world.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 27, 2009
One of the best popular science books on evolution or planetary science I've read. "Here be Dragons" introduces the reader to the subject of biogeography -- a subject that few people know about but has been instrumental in changing our views on plants, animals and even the planet. Filled with discussions of numerous fascinating creatures, located in various exotic places, the book shows how important it is to understand how evolution and various geological processes like continental drift have created the various geographical patterns of plants and animals -- the marsupials of Australia; the sloths of South America, the giant ratite birds of the Southern Hemisphere.
And you can look at these patterns to help determine the evolutionary and geological history of the regions. The author, Dennis McCarthy, argues that you really can't understand evolution until you understand it biogeographically, until you understand the intricate connection between life and Earth, and he proves his point in a lively and interesting fashion.
[My favorite chapter is on the "Bloody Fall of South America." Extraordinary!]