Extinct Madagascar

Extinct Madagascar : Picturing the Island's Past


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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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  • Hardback | 296 pages
  • 215.9 x 279.4 x 22.86mm | 884.5g
  • 19 Sep 2014
  • The University of Chicago Press
  • University of Chicago Press
  • Chicago, IL
  • English
  • New.
  • 21 colour plates, 87 halftones, 12 tables
  • 022614397X
  • 9780226143972
  • 355,030

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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.

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Review quote

" Extinct Madagascar" is an excellent and comprehensive work with a broad appeal across many disciplines. For those interested in Madagascar and rigorously testing hypotheses regarding paleoenvironment, community ecology, and extinction, this book is invaluable and represents a comprehensive synthesis of what is known about the island s past environments, the role of humans in environmental change, and the mechanisms of extinction. This glimpse back in time constitutes an impressive tribute to Madagascar s biodiversity as well as a reminder of the reality and threat of extinction. With a devastating extinction event occurring right before our eyes, the island s future relies on whether or not we choose to act, and the actions taken will likely be more effective if they begin with an understanding of the environmental change that has already occurred. --Karen E. Samonds, Northern Illinois University "Journal of Mammalogy ""

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