Once & Future Giants

Once & Future Giants

What Ice Age Extinctions Tell Us About the Fate of Earth's Largest Animals

Book - 2011
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In Once and Future Giants, science writer Sharon Levy digs through the evidence surrounding Pleistocene large animal ("megafauna") extinction events worldwide, showing that understanding this history--and our part in it--is crucial for protecting the elephants, polar bears, and other great creatures at risk today. These surviving relatives of the Ice Age beasts now face an intensified replay of that great die-off, as our species usurps the planet's last wild places while driving a warming trend more extreme than any in mammalian history.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2011.
ISBN: 9780195370126
Call Number: 576.84 LEVY
Characteristics: xvi, 255 p. : ill., map ; 25 cm
Subjects: Extinction (Biology)
Paleontology -- Pleistocene.
Mammals -- Effect of human beings on.
Prehistoric peoples.
Hunting, Prehistoric.
Paleoecology -- Pleistocene.
Mammals -- Conservation.
Wildlife conservation.
Alternative Title: Once and future giants


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Nov 19, 2015

This book is very interesting.
Inside you will find Mastodon, Mammoth, Woolly Rhino, Giant Kangaroos, Marsupial Lions and many more. How human predation tipped the balance for their extinction, after they survived many ice ages and global warmings.
And how the loss of the mega-fauna has had huge ecological impacts, and how what we see as 'natural wild landscape' is usually not the case.
How taking out large herbivores, and ESPECIALLY large carnivores really stuffs things up. Humans love to vilify large carnivores, usually for taking livestock, and hunt them out. Then wonder at all the terrible new problems that arise.
The nomadic Maasai people worked out how to balance things, and some cattle ranchers in the USA are starting to follow some of their lessons.

Jul 02, 2015

Beginning with the stately mastodon of North America, in chapters that move from continent to continent Sharon Levy documents what we know about prehistoric and ancient megafauna: how they lived, how they influenced their environments with respect to other fauna and flora, and ultimately how they died. She describes the ways in which the loss of top predators in many biomes today is having an enormous and unanticipated tumble-down effect, resulting in devastating losses of biodiversity. She also discusses current endeavors and ideas intended to restore habitats altered by humans and their domesticated animals, such as (re-)introducing elephants or camels into the American West, ideas simultaneously fascinating and fantastic. That it took me over four months to finish this book should not be taken as evidence of it being bland, boring or unreadable; it was rather my mistake in selecting it as bedside reading and often being very, very sleepy.


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