David Rains Wallace's Beasts of Eden: Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other PDF

By David Rains Wallace

ISBN-10: 0520237315

ISBN-13: 9780520237315

I feel the most important unhappiness I had with this publication was once the shortcoming of images. definite, partially my fault simply because i did not observe that there have been in simple terms 18 black and white illustrations, but if a publication makes use of very recognized work of art as a place to begin after which does not have 1 colour photograph of the work of art, i'm dissatisfied. the images from the Age of Mammals have been muddy at best.

The writing used to be regular. Wallace isn't any stylist yet he's an effective author conveying technical information.

I picked up this e-book after I learn an editorial on Buffon in typical background so i used to be shocked at how Wallace handled him. Now i have to understand extra approximately Buffon to determine which illustration is extra accurate.

The e-book is a number of years previous however the merely factor i realized used to be the remark that mammals have been small and rat-like through the Age of Reptiles. in the prior 2 years there were a number of huge mammal species stumbled on which co-existed with the dinosaurs. even if now not megafauna, they have been over 3 toes in size and preyed on dinosaurs.

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Extra info for Beasts of Eden: Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution

Sample text

This trotting off to a provincial town is a little surprising, given Cuvier’s grandeur and rudimentary English, but, while there, he saw a tiny Stonesfield jaw and identified it as an opossum’s. The identification is not surprising—the jaw looks not unlike a miniature of a modern opossum’s. But it must have been a shock to Cuvier, apparently coming from deep in the same rock that had produced giant saurians. Its implications for his clear-cut scheme of Secondary saurians and Tertiary mammals were disturbing.

The small fossil record was growing so bewilderingly in the mid nineteenth century, anyway, that any conclusions seemed premature. No longer could prehistory be divided into Primary, Transition, Secondary, and Tertiary strata. The Transition and Secondary opened like a conjurer’s box into a welter of new periods commemorating fossil locations—Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous— Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous. Lyell cut the Tertiary Period into Greek cognate epochs—Eocene, “dawn recent”; Miocene, “less recent”; and Pliocene, “more recent”; he also fabricated a Pleistocene, “most recent,” epoch that came after the Tertiary.

Beside adding to Cuvier’s early Tertiary menagerie, he saw that creatures similar to Palaeotherium had inhabited Europe in later times as well, and that they also had similarities to modern creatures such as horses. The more light he shed on the subject, however, the harder it was for him to follow Cuvier’s example in evading the issue of why and how later mammals came to differ from earlier ones. To Owen’s credit, he didn’t want to evade the issue. “It is to be presumed that no true researcher after truth can have a prejudiced dislike to conclusions based upon adequate evidence,” he wrote to Robert Chambers, an Edinburgh publisher who happened to be the anonymous author of the transmutationist best-seller Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation.

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Beasts of Eden: Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution by David Rains Wallace


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