Mammoths and Mastodons of the Ice Age

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9781770853157: Mammoths and Mastodons of the Ice Age
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A vivid, authoritative exploration of the iconic giants of the Ice Age.

Featuring stunning photographs of skeletons, casts, tusks and preserved flesh from the world-famous collections of the Natural History Museum in London and Chicago's Field Museum (home to the most complete and best preserved mammoth baby), this book reveals what life was like for these prehistoric giants whose remains invite so much modern fascination and speculation.

From 1.8 million to 10,000 years ago as global temperatures cooled, colossal mammals were an imposing presence on the Pleistocene landscape, roaming alongside humans across great swaths of Europe, Asia, and much of North America. Mammoths and Mastodons of the Ice Age explains the differences between these animals, describes their habitats and behaviors, and introduces other amazing creatures from the Ice Age, such as the saber-toothed cat, giant sloth, cave bear and dire wolf.

Drawing on current scientific research, including recently revealed DNA analysis that shows the real color of mammoths, Adrian Lister explores how hunters stalked the elephantine prey, why they died out and whether it's possible to clone them today. He also examines what wild elephants (their surviving cousins) tell us about their extinct ancestors and how the natural and human-caused challenges elephants face today may doom them to the same fate.

Mammoths and Mastodons of the Ice Age is a tie-in with the traveling museum exhibition "Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age," which opened in Chicago in 2010, and will tour through 2016. The similarly named 3D film has received rave reviews and undoubtedly will become a popular big-screen event, once the museum exhibition closes.

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About the Author:

Professor Adrian Lister is a Merit Researcher in the Earth Sciences Department at the Natural History Museum, London. His research is centered on Quaternary mammal fossils to enhance our understanding of processes of evolution and species extinction. He is a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London and writes and contributes regularly to professional publications.

Review:

Although the last of the mammoths died only 4,000 years ago, modern humans know them only through their physical remains and the haunting artwork depicting them left by ancient hunter-gathers. In five chapters, Lister, a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London, U.K., details what we know of these lost cousins of the elephant, from their lineage's origins 60 million years ago to what appears likely to be Proboscidea's end in the next few generations. Delving into details of evolutionary history, diet and a range that once spanned both Old and New Worlds, he uses these vanished animals to explore the context in which they lived and draws disturbing parallels between the final days of the mammoths, their once mighty expanse broken into scattered refugia insufficient to sustain them, and the current circumstances of the few surviving elephant species, likewise trapped in isolated preserves, surrounded by rapacious hominids. The author manages to provide a startling amount of
information in this slim volume with a recommended reading list for readers seeking more, this is an exemplary work for those newly curious about these vanished giants. (Publishers Weekly 2014-03-31)

Paleontologist Adrian Lister traces the species from their origins some 60 million years ago to their recent demise. Written for lay people and richly illustrated with numerous color drawings, photographs, and maps, this book provides a basic education on all aspects of these creatures' lives. Lister also examines the various theories concerning their extinction and scrutinizes the role of climate change in the Ice Age as well as the spread of human hunters. Many well-preserved woolly mammoths have been found In the permafrost of the Arctic, and Lister explains how it may be possible to resurrect the species through cloning. This book is an outstanding introduction for the general reader to the fascinating story of some of our most interesting large animals and their demise. (Mark Michel American Archeologist)

A good general introduction to the topic. (Ian Paulsen Birdbooker Report 307-308 2014-02-17)

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