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

By David Rains Wallace

I feel the largest unhappiness I had with this e-book used to be the shortcoming of images. yes, in part my fault simply because i did not detect that there have been in simple terms 18 black and white illustrations, but if a booklet makes use of very recognized work of art as a place to begin after which does not have 1 colour photo of the work of art, i'm disillusioned. the photographs from the Age of Mammals have been muddy at best.

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

I picked up this publication after I learn a piece of writing on Buffon in traditional historical past so i used to be shocked at how Wallace handled him. Now i must be aware of extra approximately Buffon to determine which illustration is extra accurate.

The e-book is a few years outdated however the basically factor i spotted was once the remark that mammals have been small and rat-like in the course of the Age of Reptiles. in the prior 2 years there were numerous huge mammal species found which co-existed with the dinosaurs. even though no longer megafauna, they have been over 3 ft in size and preyed on dinosaurs.

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

Sample text

Cuvier thought that the gypsum had formed “many thousands of centuries” before the present. In the second place, some of the species he restored were much less like living French mammals even than mammoths were like elephants. The bones included eight species—in two genera— of hoofed mammals, which Cuvier called “pachyderms”—thick-skinned beasts. The first genus he reconstructed had a head and teeth resembling a South American tapir’s but feet more like a camel’s. He named it Palaeotherium, ancient beast, and identified five species, ranging from horse to sheep size.

It is astonishing with what an intense feeling of hatred Owen is regarded by the majority of his contemporaries,” observed one of the chief haters, a rival named Thomas H. Huxley. A year after visiting Cuvier in Paris, and probably in reaction to the transmutationist ferment he had encountered there, Owen stepped smartly into the late baron’s role as upholder of anatomical class distinctions. One of the Lamarckians’ favorite examples of a link between two animal classes was the strange little duck-billed platypus discovered in New South Wales the century before.

Buckland took two of them to Paris on a continental tour that summer, and gave casts to the members of the Académie des sciences. Examining them, a zoologist named Achille Valenciennes decided that the jaws belonged to marsupials after all, although he changed the genus from Didelphis to Thylacotherium, “pouched beast,” because they seemed more like a South American mouse opossum’s than a Virginia opossum’s. Even Geoffroy acknowledged that the jaws were a marsupial’s, although, as with monotremes, he put marsupials in a transitional class.

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