After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals

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Indiana University Press, Jul 13, 2006 - Science - 384 pages
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Perhaps nudged over the evolutionary cliff by a giant boloid striking the earth, the incredible and fascinating group of animals called dinosaurs became extinct some 65 million years ago (except for their feathered descendants). In their place evolved an enormous variety of land creatures, especially the mammals, which in their way were every bit as remarkable as their Mesozoic cousins.

The Age of Mammals, the Cenozoic Era, has never had its Jurassic Park, but it was an amazing time in earth's history, populated by a wonderful assortment of bizarre animals. The rapid evolution of thousands of species of mammals brought forth gigantic hornless rhinos, sabertooth cats, mastodonts and mammoths, and many other creatures -- including our own ancestors.

Their story is part of a larger story of a world emerging from the greenhouse conditions of the Mesozoic, warming up dramatically about 55 million years ago, and then cooling rapidly so that 33 million years ago the glacial ice returned. The earth's vegetation went through equally dramatic changes, from tropical jungles in Montana and forests at the poles, to grasslands and savannas across the entire world. Life in the sea also underwent striking evolution reflecting global climate change, including the emergence of such creatures as giant sharks, seals, sea lions, dolphins, and whales.

After the Dinosaurs is a book for everyone who has an abiding fascination with the remarkable life of the past.


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User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

If I could give a book a rating of 3.75, that would be about right. As others have noted this is so much of a survey that it becomes less a history of the evolution of mammals and more of an ... Read full review


1 Introduction
2 The End of the Dinosaurs?
The Paleocene
The Eocene
The Oligocene
The Miocene
The Pliocene
The Pleistocene
The Holocene

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Page 347 - ZACHOS, JC, BREZA, JR and WISE, SW, 1992. Early Oligocene ice-sheet expansion on Antarctica. Stable isotope and sedimentological evidence from Kerguelen Plateau, southern Indian Ocean. Geology, 20: 569-573.
Page 328 - Hutchison, JH, 1982. Turtle, crocodilian, and champsosaur diversity changes in the Cenozoic of the north-central region of western United States. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v.
Page xiii - We are grateful to the National Science Foundation and the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society for support of this research.
Page 321 - ... 23-47. Columbia Univ. Press, New York. Chandler, MEJ & Axelrod, DI, 1961: An early Cretaceous (Hauterivian) angiosperm fruit from California. Am. J. Sci., 259: 441-446. Colin, J.-P., 1973: Microfossiles vegetaux dans le Cenomanien et le Turonien de Dordogne (SO France). Palaeontogr. B, 143: 106-119. Collinson, ME, 1983: Palaeofloristic assemblages and palaeoecology of the Lower Oligocene Bembridge Marls, Hamstead Ledge, Isle of Wight. Bot. Journ. Linn. Soc., 86: 177-225. Cope, MJ & Chaloner,...
Page 1 - Fossil hunting is far the most fascinating of all sports. I speak for myself, although I do not see how any true sportsman could fail to agree with me if he had tried bone digging. It has some danger, enough to give it zest and probably about as much as in the average modern engineered big-game hunt, and the danger is wholly to the hunter. It has uncertainty and excitement and all the thrills of gambling with none of its vicious features. The hunter never knows what his bag may be, perhaps nothing,...

About the author (2006)

Donald R. Prothero is Professor of Geology at Occidental College and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology. He has published 21 books, including Earth: Portrait of a Planet; The Evolution of Earth; and Horns, Tusks, and Flippers: The Evolution of Hoofed Mammals and Their Relatives. He lives in La Crescenta, California.

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