Beasts of Eden: Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other - download pdf or read online

By David Rains Wallace

ISBN-10: 0520246845

ISBN-13: 9780520246843

Mammals first developed at in regards to the related time as dinosaurs, and their tale might be the extra interesting of the two--in half since it is additionally our personal tale. during this literate and exciting ebook, eminent naturalist David Rains Wallace brings the saga of historical mammals to a basic viewers for the 1st time. utilizing artist Rudolph Zallinger's majestic The Age of Mammals mural on the Peabody Museum as a body for his narrative, Wallace deftly strikes over different terrain--drawing from heritage, technological know-how, evolutionary idea, and artwork history--to current a full of life account of fossil discoveries and an outline of what these discoveries have published approximately early mammals and their evolution. In those pages we come across towering mammoths, tiny horses, giant-clawed floor sloths, whales with legs, uintatheres, zhelestids, and different unique extinct creatures in addition to the scientists who found and questioned approximately their continues to be. We meet such memorable figures as Georges Cuvier, Richard Owen, Edward D. Cope, George Gaylord Simpson, and Stephen Jay Gould and research in their heated disputes, from Cuvier's and Owen's fights with early evolutionists to offer controversies over the past due Cretaceous mass extinction. Wallace's personal lifelong curiosity in evolution is mirrored within the book's evocative and fascinating kind and within the own reviews he expertly weaves into the story, delivering an altogether expansive viewpoint on what Darwin defined because the "grandeur" of evolution.

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Additional resources for Beasts of Eden: Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution

Example text

There is no record that the jaw came up when he visited England again in 1830. Still, it may have. The 26-year-old anatomist who showed the old baron around the Hunterian Museum on that occasion would eventually trample the jaw’s Lamarckian implications as vigorously as a younger Cuvier might have. Richard Owen, the Hunterian’s newly appointed conservator, was a tall, bug-eyed, strangely big-handed man who already had been practicing anatomy for ten years. His zoology and his French (learned from his mother) so charmed Cuvier that the baron invited him to return the visit, and Owen spent the next July in Paris, frequenting the museum and zoo, attending lectures, and taking part in Cuvier’s Saturday night salon.

He made no mention of oolitic opossums in the revised second edition of his Recherches sur les ossemens fossiles (1821– 24). When Buckland mentioned the jaw in his Megalosaurus paper in 1824, Cuvier seems to have passed the problem to a junior associate named Constant Prévost, who wrote a paper maintaining that the Stonesfield slate was really a Tertiary rock, like the Paris gypsum. Cuvier did concede in the third edition of his Recherches (1825) that the fossil would be “a remarkable exception” to his rule of mammal occurrence if it really was from Secondary strata, and he reconfirmed his identification, naming it Didelphis prevostii, the same genus as the living Virginia opossum.

At sixteen, he had apprenticed to a surgeon, and, when his master served at the Lancaster gaol, he had assisted at autopsies, which first horrified, then fascinated him. ” He had bribed the guard to let him return that night and stolen the man’s head to dissect at home, but had slipped and dropped it descending an icy hill. “As soon as I recovered my legs,” he recalled, “I raced desperately after it but it was too late to arrest its progress. I saw it bounce against the door of a cottage facing the descent, which flew open and received me at the same time, as I was unable to stop my downward career.

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Beasts of Eden: Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution by David Rains Wallace

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