Pleistocene Amphibians and Reptiles in Britain and Europe

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The Pleistocene epoch or Ice Age, an extended period of advancing and retreating ice sheets, is characterized by striking climatic oscillations and sea level fluctuations. This age saw the rise and spread of humans and a great extinction of large mammals by the end of the epoch; in fact, the world today is essentially the product of dramatic changes that took place in the Pleistocene. This book, a companion to the author's Pleistocene Amphibians and Reptiles in North America, discusses the Pleistocene amphibians and reptiles in Britain and the European continent eastward through present-day Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Yugoslavian republics, and Greece. The book begins with a general discussion of the Pleistocene in Britain and Europe with an emphasis on regional terms used to define Pleistocene chronological events. Next, a look at the pre-Pleistocene herpetofauna of the study area sets the stage for a discussion of Pleistocene herpetofauna. A significant section of the book consists of a "bestiary," a series of annotated taxonomic accounts of Pleistocene herpetological taxa from the region. Following this is the interpretive section, beginning with a discussion of herpetological species as paleoenvironmental indicators and continuing with an analysis of herpetological population adjustments to Pleistocene events in Britain and Europe, and then with a discussion of extinction patterns in the region. Finally, the author compares Pleistocene herpetological events in Europe with those in North America. This volume and its companion together provide an up-to-date and comprehensive review of Pleistocene herpetofaunas across a significant portion of the Northern Hemisphere.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The fossil record of amphibians and reptiles, most of whose close relatives are alive today and known from specific habitats, are especially useful indicators. Holman has made a career of studying these vertebrates, collecting and carrying out the difficult task of identifying their skeletal remains. . . . More than 400 references, plus general, taxonomic, and site indexes. For students of climate change, paleohistory, and faunal studies. Graduates through professionals."—Choice

"This compilation is going to be of considerable value to palaeontologists and zoologists interested in the recent history of the European fauna. Alan Holman . . . examines in turn all the species which have been reported from Pleistocene sites in an area extending from Ireland and Portugal to Poland and Greece, discussing their diagnostic features and listing all the sites in these countries from which they have been reported. The fossil faunas from each country are then discussed in turn . . . The book ends with four short review chapters, considering the value of these species as climatological indicators, the range changes documented by these fossil faunas, and the contrast between American and European faunas. The collation of the European record in this manner is going to make this an invaluable volume. . . . Any decent library with a coverage of reptiles, amphibians and the Pleistocene will need this book . . ."—Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society

"To date, the primary information on Pleistocene amphibians and reptiles from Europe has been widely scattered through the paleontological and zooarchaeological literature. Thus, these data have received little attention in paleoclimatological and paleoecological studies, which tend to focus on mammals or plants. Holman's book fills a major gap in the literature. This book will be a valuable reference for any student of Pleistocene vertebrate assemblages from Europe and their paleoecology." - New Biological Books, March 2000

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Product Details

Meet the Author

University of Michigan
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. The Pleistocene in Britain and Europe
3. The European herpetofauna, Paleocene through Pleistocene
4. A bestiary: annotated taxonomic accounts
5. Pleistocene herpetological localities
6. Herpetological species as paleoenvironmental indicators
7. Herpetological population adjustments in the Pleistocene of Britain and Europe
8. Extinction patterns in the herpetofaunas of Britain and Europe and North America compared
9. Pleistocene events in the herpetofaunas of Britain and Europe and North American compared

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