A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals

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9780871137975: A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals
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Since humans first wandered from their original habitat in Africa, over fifty millennia ago, they have radically altered the environment wherever they have gone, often at the cost of the animals who'd ruled the wild before mankind's arrival. Humanity's spread throughout the globe has begotten what paleontologist Richard Leakey has termed the "sixth age of extinction" -- the most deadly epoch the planet's fauna have seen since the demise of the dinosaurs. And in the last five hundred years, since the dawn of the age of exploration, this rate of extinction has accelerated ever more rapidly. In A Gap in Nature, scientist and historian Tim Flannery, in collaboration with internationally acclaimed wildlife artist Peter Schouten, catalogs 104 creatures that have vanished from the face of the earth since 1492. From the tiny Carolina parakeet to the majestic Steller's sea cow, which was over twenty-five feet long and weighed ten tons, all of these animals have become extinct as a direct result of the European expansion into every corner of the globe. Flannery evocatively tells the story of each animal: how it lived and how it succumbed to its terrible destiny. Accompanying each account is a beautiful color representation (life-size in the original painting) by Schouten, who has devoted years of his life to this extraordinary project. Animals from every continent are represented -- American passenger pigeons, Tasmanian wolves, and African blaauwboks -- in this homage to a lost Eden. This extraordinary book is at once a lament for the lost animals of the world and an ark to house them forever in human memory.

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From Library Journal:

This work offers a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of 103 mammals, reptiles, and birds that have become extinct since 1492. For each animal, Flannery (The Eternal Frontier) describes what is known of its habitat, behavior, and probable cause of extinction. These accounts are beautifully written, often anecdotal, and almost always poignant. Whitney Award-winning wildlife painter Schouten produced the accompanying illustrations, which are stunning, full-color, and sometimes spread across two pages. In some cases, these illustrations may be the most accurate renderings anyone has ever produced of these creatures. Flannery and Schouten did extensive research into the literature and reviewed, in person, skeletal and other remains located in museums; numerous species were excluded owing to insufficient materials upon which to base an accurate drawing. A little more in the way of factual data, such as probable size, would have been appreciated in some of the descriptions. For example, the Kawekaweau, a lizard that once inhabited New Zealand, is described as "giant," but no estimated length or weight is given, even though the authors viewed the skin of one of these geckos. Nevertheless, this book, which includes the "big names" such as the dodo and passenger pigeon as well as many lesser-known but fascinating animals, is highly recommended for all academic and large public libraries. (Map not seen.) Lynn C. Badger, Univ. of Florida Lib., Gainesville
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

There are gaps in every natural area on the planet, created when animal species paid the price for the expansion of our own species--in other words, extinction. The initial spread of humans from our ancestral home in Africa happened so long ago that most of the first victims were never preserved or even depicted. Flannery and artist Schouten show 103 species that have gone extinct between 1500 and 1999, species adequately enough known for Flannery to write about and Schouten to illustrate. Flannery begins this homage to these lost animals with an essay on the age of extinctions, explaining the loss of animals as humans colonized new areas. Presented chronologically, the following portraits and text reveal the extent of our knowledge of each animal. In many cases, little is known except where the animal came from and perhaps a little about what it ate. The true strength of the book, which almost necessitates its purchase, is Schouten's illustrations. This book is as close as we will ever get to these irretrievable animals, and it is highly recommended for all libraries. Nancy Bent
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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9780434008193: A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals

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ISBN 10:  0434008192 ISBN 13:  9780434008193
Publisher: William Heinemann, 2001
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