Pub. Date:
University of California Press
Neptune's Ark: From Ichthyosaurs to Orcas / Edition 1

Neptune's Ark: From Ichthyosaurs to Orcas / Edition 1

by David Rains Wallace, Ken Kirkland


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Neptune's Ark illuminates the dramatic saga of evolution spanning 500 million years of marine life along the magnificent Pacific coast of western North America.
In an engaging narrative that artfully blends elements of science, history, folklore, and personal observation, renowned naturalist David Rains Wallace reveals a marvelous diversity of creatures, not only modern ones, but those from the far prehistoric past. Mysterious forms have abounded—from giant sea cows, oyster bears, and flightless toothed birds to the orcas, elephant seals, and sea otters of modern times. Wallace tells a story about evolution as well as a tale of the storms, scurvy, and shipwrecks that plagued the coast's explorers, naturalists, and scientists, many of whom led turbulent or tragic lives, with themes reflected in the wonder and danger of the coast itself. Neptune's Ark is full of vivid characters—from explorers like Sir Francis Drake and Captain James Cook, to pioneer naturalists including Georg Steller and Charles Scammon, to early paleontologists Othniel Marsh and Edward Cope, and to recent scientists and ecological visionaries.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520258143
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 09/18/2008
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 845,431
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

David Rains Wallace is the author of sixteen books, including Beasts of Eden: Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution (UC Press), A New York Times Notable Book; The Klamath Knot: Explorations of Myth and Evolution (Twentieth Anniversary Edition, UC Press), winner of the John Burroughs Medal; The Bonehunter's Revenge: Dinosaurs, Greed, and the Greatest Scientific Feud of the Gilded Age; and The Monkey's Bridge: Mysteries of Evolution in Central America, A New York Times Notable Book.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Prologue. Steller’s Sea Ape

1 / Reefs in the Desert
2 / Amphibious Ambiguities
3 / Bird Teeth and Reptile Necks
4 / Tail Tales
5 / Cope’s Elusive Ophidians
6 / Hooves into Flippers
7 / Marsh’s Deceptive Desmostylians
8 / Emlong’s Whale
9 / Paws into Flippers
10 / Sea Cows and Oyster Bears
11 / The Long, Warm Summer
12 / Emptying Bays
13 / Punctuated Pinnipeds and Darwinian Sirenians
14 / Advent of Autumn
15 / Ice Age
16 / Hands into Paddles
17 / Pileated Woodpecker’s Boat
18 / The End of the Earth
19 / An
20 /
Intimations of Communication

Epilogue. The Old Man of the Sea



What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Wallace's easy-going style, mixing personal adventures with textbook science, makes paleontology as readable as narrative history."—The California Territorial Quarterly

"A fascinating narrative of adventures from the pioneer naturalists to modern scientists."—Mammalia

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Neptune's Ark: From Ichthyosaurs to Orcas 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
JNSelko on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A most worthy addition to marine life of the past, from ammonites to sea bears. Masterfully illustrated, clearly written and a must for the paleontologically inclined.