Beasts of Eden

Beasts of Eden

Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution

Book - 2004
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
In this account of early mammals and their evolution, a naturalist presents fossil discoveries such as towering mammoths, tiny horses, and whales with legs, among other exotic extinct species, providing a perspective on the grandeur of evolution.

University of California Press
Mammals first evolved at about the same time as dinosaurs, and their story is perhaps the more fascinating of the two—in part because it is also our own story. In this literate and entertaining book, eminent naturalist David Rains Wallace brings the saga of ancient mammals to a general audience for the first time. Using artist Rudolph Zallinger's majestic The Age of Mammals mural at the Peabody Museum as a frame for his narrative, Wallace deftly moves over varied terrain—drawing from history, science, evolutionary theory, and art history—to present a lively account of fossil discoveries and an overview of what those discoveries have revealed about early mammals and their evolution.

In these pages we encounter towering mammoths, tiny horses, giant-clawed ground sloths, whales with legs, uintatheres, zhelestids, and other exotic extinct creatures as well as the scientists who discovered and wondered about their remains. We meet such memorable figures as Georges Cuvier, Richard Owen, Edward D. Cope, George Gaylord Simpson, and Stephen Jay Gould and learn of their heated disputes, from Cuvier's and Owen's fights with early evolutionists to present controversies over the Late Cretaceous mass extinction. Wallace's own lifelong interest in evolution is reflected in the book's evocative and engaging style and in the personal experiences he expertly weaves into the tale, providing an altogether expansive perspective on what Darwin described as the "grandeur" of evolution.

"Beasts of Eden is a wondrous journey through the vanished worlds of extinct mammals. Exciting, insightful, and accurate, it is everything that good science writing should be."--Tim Flannery, author of The Eternal Frontier

"A compelling scientific adventure story. . .. Peopled with colorful and larger-than-life characters, this account of the history of paleontology dramatically demonstrates how the interactions between crude but charismatic fossil seekers, ascetic intellectuals, temperamental artists, and many others have forever changed the ways in which we view life's prehistoric beginnings."--Ian Tattersall, author of The Monkey in the Mirror

"Beasts of Eden is a true delight. Each page drips with the drama and passion of scientific pursuit. Wallace is a keen observer, a learned writer, and a great story teller--this is a must read!"--Don Johanson, Director of the Institute of Human Origins


Baker
& Taylor

In this account of early mammals and their evolution, a leading naturalist presents fossil discoveries such as towering mammoths, tiny horses, and whales with legs, among other exotic extinct species, providing an expansive perspective on the grandeur of evolution.

Publisher: Berkeley : University of California Press, c2004
ISBN: 9780520237315
0520237315
Characteristics: xxviii, 340 p. : ill. ; 24 cm

Related Resources


Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at DCPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top