Extinct Madagascar: Picturing the Island's Past

Extinct Madagascar: Picturing the Island's Past


By (author) Steven M. Goodman, By (author) William L. Jungers, With Velizar Simeonovski

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  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Format: Hardback | 296 pages
  • Dimensions: 216mm x 279mm x 23mm | 885g
  • Publication date: 19 September 2014
  • Publication City/Country: Chicago, IL
  • ISBN 10: 022614397X
  • ISBN 13: 9780226143972
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: 21 colour plates, 87 halftones, 12 tables
  • Sales rank: 526,220

Product description

The landscapes of Madagascar have long delighted zoologists, who have discovered, in and among the island's baobad trees and thickets, a dizzying array of animals, including something approaching one hundred species of lemur. Madagascar's mammal fauna, for example, is far more diverse, and more endemic, than early explorers and naturalists ever dreamed of. But in the 2,500 or so years since the arrival of the island's first human settlers, the vast majority of its forests have disappeared, and in the wake of this loss a number of species unique to Madagascar have vanished forever into extinction. In Extinct Madagascar, noted scientists Steven M. Goodman and William L. Jungers explore the recent past of these land animal extinctions. Beginning with an introduction to the geologic and ecological history of Madagascar that provides context for the evolution, diversification, and, in some cases, rapid decline of the Malagasy fauna, Goodman and Jungers then seek to recapture these extinct mammals in their environs. Aided in their quest by artist Velizar Simeonovski's beautiful and haunting paintings - images of both individual species and ecosystem assemblages reproduced here in full color - Goodman and Jungers reconstruct the lives of these lost animals and trace their relationships to those still living. Published in conjunction with an exhibition of Simeonovski's paintings set to open at the Field Museum, Chicago, in the fall of 2014, Goodman and Jungers' awe-inspiring book will serve not only as a sobering reminder of the very real threat of extinction, but also as a stunning tribute to Madagascar's biodiversity and a catalyst for further research and conservation.

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Author information

Steven M. Goodman is the MacArthur Field Biologist at the Field Museum, Chicago, and based in Antananarivo, Madagascar. He is coeditor of The Natural History of Madagascar and Atlas of Selected Land Vertebrates of Madagascar, the former published and the latter distributed by the University of Chicago Press. William L. Jungers is distinguished teaching professor and chair of anatomical sciences at Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

Review quote

Large faunal species disappeared from Madagascar at a time when humans were certainly present on the island. A deduction, though not a parsimonious one, purported by many scholars is to attribute these extinctions to the hands of man, whether as a primary or contributory factor. . . . By contrast, in "Extinct Madagascar," Steven M. Goodman and William L. Jungers explore in greater depth than the current literature presently offers the recent past of these animals through specific case studies presented by sites and by species. Each site is splendidly illustrated by the artist Velizar Simeonovski in arresting artworks, depicting how some of these animals may have lived or gone extinct based on available palaeontological evidence. These plates allow the reader a pictorial (though still speculative) glance of the past. . . . "Extinct Madagascar" provides superb information on a large number of palaeontological sites, contextualising the ecological uniqueness of each site. . . . The material presented should certainly provide more meat to pursue research on the elusive nature of past extinction processes in Madagascar, especially if the past is to be used as a guide to conservation of biodiversity. This is more relevant than ever, with the huge challenge facing biodiversity in Madagascar today with continuing climate change and increasing human population impacts. --Malika Virah-Sawmy, University of New South Wales, Australia "Holocene ""