The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals

The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals

4.26 (39 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

After the mass extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, mammals became the dominant terrestrial life form on our planet. Roaming the earth were spectacular beasts such as saber-toothed cats, giant mastodonts, immense ground sloths, and gigantic giraffe-like rhinoceroses. Here is the ultimate illustrated field guide to the lost world of these weird and wonderful prehistoric creatures. A woolly mammoth probably won't come thundering through your vegetable garden any time soon. But if one did, this would be the book to keep on your windowsill next to the binoculars. It covers all the main groups of fossil mammals, discussing taxonomy and evolutionary history, and providing concise accounts of the better-known genera and species as well as an up-to-date family tree for each group. No other book presents such a wealth of new information about these animals--what they looked like, how they behaved, and how they were interrelated. In addition, this unique guide is stunningly illustrated throughout with full-color reconstructions of these beasts--many never before depicted--along with photographs of amazing fossils from around the world.
* Provides an up-to-date guidebook to hundreds of extinct species, from saber-toothed cats to giant mammoths * Features a wealth of color illustrations, including new reconstructions of many animals never before depicted* Demonstrates evolution in action--such as how whales evolved from hoofed mammals and how giraffes evolved from creatures with short necks* Explains how mass extinctions and climate change affected mammals, including why some mammals grew so huge
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 216 x 279 x 22.86mm | 1,247g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 303 color & b&w illus.
  • 0691156824
  • 9780691156828
  • 237,069

Back cover copy

"Up-to-date, comprehensive, and very readable. Prothero is a renowned expert in this field, with decades of experience working on diverse groups of prehistoric mammals. He clearly knows his subject well and skillfully conveys this knowledge to readers."--Spencer G. Lucas, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

"Prothero knows his fossil mammals."--Christine M. Janis, coauthor of Vertebrate Life
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Table of contents

Preface 6 1 The Age of Mammals 7 Dating Rocks 8 Clocks in Rocks 10 What's in a Name? 11 How Do We Classify Animals? 12 Bones vs Molecules 15 Bones and Teeth 15 2 The Origin and Early Evolution of Mammals 20 Synapsids (Protomammals or Stem Mammals) 20 Mammals in the Age of Dinosaurs 23 Morganucodonts 23 Docodonts 25 Monotremes (Platypus and Echidna) and Their Relatives 27 Multituberculates 30 Triconodonts 31 Theria 34 3 Marsupials: Pouched Mammals 37 Marsupial vs Placental 37 Marsupial Evolution 38 Ameridelphia 39 Australiadelphia 41 4 Placental Mammals (Eutheria) 47 The Interrelationships of Placentals 50 5 Xenarthra: Sloths, Anteaters, and Armadillos 51 Edentate vs Xenarthran 51 Order Cingulata (Armadillos) 53 Order Pilosa (Anteaters and Sloths) 55 6 Afrotheria: Elephants, Hyraxes, Sea Cows, Aardvarks, and Their Relatives 58 Tethytheres and Afrotheres 58 Order Proboscidea (Elephants, Mammoths, Mastodonts, and Their Relatives) 60 Order Sirenia (Manatees and Dugongs, or Sea Cows) 67 Order Embrithopoda (Arsinoitheres) 72 Order Desmostylia (Desmostylians) 73 Order Hyracoidea (Hyraxes) 75 Order Tubulidentata (Aardvarks) 77 Order Macroscelidia (Elephant Shrews) 78 Order Afrosoricida 79 7 Euarchontoglires: Euarchonta Primates, Tree Shrews, and Colugos 80 Archontans 80 Order Scandentia (Tree Shrews) 82 Order Dermoptera (Colugos, or Flying Lemurs) 82 Order Plesiadapiformes (Plesiadapids) 84 Order Primates (Euprimates) 86 8 Euarchontoglires: Glires Rodents and Lagomorphs 94 Chisel Teeth 94 Order Rodentia (Rodents) 95 Order Lagomorpha (Rabbits, Hares, and Pikas) 101 9 Laurasiatheria: Insectivores Order Eulipotyphla and Other Insectivorous Mammals 103 Order Eulipotyphla 103 Extinct Insectivorous Groups 107 10 Laurasiatheria: Chiroptera Bats 112 Bat Origins 114 11 Laurasiatheria: Pholidota Pangolins, or Scaly Anteaters 117 Order Pholidota (Pangolins) 118 Palaeanodonts 120 12 Laurasiatheria: Carnivora and Creodonta Predatory Mammals 122 Carnivores, Carnivorans, and Creodonts 122 Order Creodonta 124 Order Carnivora 127 13 Laurasiatheria: Ungulata Hoofed Mammals and Their Relatives 146 Condylarths 147 14 Laurasiatheria: Artiodactyla Even-Toed Hoofed Mammals: Pigs, Hippos, Whales, Camels, Ruminants, and Their Extinct Relatives 151 Artiodactyl Origins 153 Suoid Artiodactyls 154 Whippomorpha 160 Tylopods 169 Ruminantia 175 15 Laurasiatheria: Perissodactyla Odd-Toed Hoofed Mammals: Horses, Rhinos, Tapirs, and Their Extinct Relatives 186 Equoids 187 Tapiroids 191 Rhinocerotoids 196 Brontotheres, or Titanotheres 199 16 Laurasiatheria: Meridiungulata South American Hoofed Mammals 203 Order Notoungulata (Southern Ungulates) 205 Order Pyrotheria (Fire Beasts) 206 Order Astrapotheria (Lightning Beasts) 207 Order Litopterna (Litopterns, or Smooth Heels) 207 17 Uintatheres, Pantodonts, Taeniodonts, and Tillodonts 209 Order Dinocerata (Uintatheres) 209 Order Pantodonta (Pantodonts) 212 Order Taeniodonta (Taeniodonts) 214 Order Tillodontia (Tillodonts) 216 18 Mammalian Evolution and Extinction 218 Why Were Prehistoric Mammals So Big? 218 Where Have All the Megamammals Gone? 219 How Did Mammals Diversify after the Dinosaurs Vanished? 222 What about Mass Extinctions? 228 The Future of Mammals 229 Illustration Credits 231 Further Reading 232 Index (with Pronunciation Guide for Taxonomic Names) 234
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Review Text

"Up-to-date, comprehensive, and very readable. Prothero is a renowned expert in this field, with decades of experience working on diverse groups of prehistoric mammals. He clearly knows his subject well and skillfully conveys this knowledge to readers."--Spencer G. Lucas, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
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Review quote

"With a focus on the 66 million years since the end-Cretaceous extinction stripped away all dinosaurs but birds, Mr. Prothero's book ably demonstrates that mammalian evolution has been just as circuitous and strange as that of the terrible lizards... [This book shows] the unexpected variety that life is capable of and raise[s] the question of what the next 235 million years will bring."--Brian Switek, Wall Street Journal "In The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals, author Donald Prothero ... introduces readers to an array of real-life, but seemingly fantastic beasts--extinct mammals."--Mindy Weisberger, LiveScience "Written by American paleontologist Donald Prothero and beautifully illustrated by renowned scientific illustrator Mary Persis Williams, this publication is a 'must have' for academics and fans of fossils as well as anyone with an interest in general science... Highly recommended."--Everything Dinosaur blog "One of the most important things about this book is that it is fully up to date, and thus, the only current mammalian evolutionary overview that is available, to my knowledge. In some areas of fossil mammal research there has been a lot of work over recent years, so this is important. I highly recommend this excellent book."--Greg Laden's Blog
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About Donald R. Prothero

Donald R. Prothero is research associate in vertebrate paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and professor emeritus of geology at Occidental College. His many books include Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs: Evolution, Extinction, and the Future of Our Planet, Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters, and After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals.
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Rating details

39 ratings
4.26 out of 5 stars
5 44% (17)
4 41% (16)
3 13% (5)
2 3% (1)
1 0% (0)
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