Beasts of Eden: Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other


Beasts of Eden: Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution [PDF / EPUB] Beasts of Eden: Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution Mammals first evolved at about the same time as dinosaurs, and their story is perhaps the fascinating of the two in part because it is also our own story In this literate and entertaining book, eminen Mammals first evolved at about the Eden: Walking Kindle × same time as dinosaurs, and their story is perhaps the fascinating of the two in part because it is also our own story In this literate and Beasts of MOBI :ß entertaining book, eminent naturalist David Rains Wallace brings the saga of ancient mammals to a general audience for the first time Using artist Rudolph Zallinger s majestic The Age of Mammals mural at the of Eden: Walking PDF ☆ Peabody Museum as a frame for his narrative, Wallace deftly moves over varied terrain drawing from history, science, evolutionary theory, and art history to present a lively account of fossil discoveries and an overview of what those discoveries have revealed about early mammals and their evolution In these pages we encounter towering mammoths, tiny horses, giant clawed ground sloths, whales with legs, uintatheres, zhelestids, and other exotic extinct creatures as well as the scientists who discovered and wondered about their remains We meet such memorable figures as Georges Cuvier, Richard Owen, Edward D Cope, George Gaylord Simpson, and Stephen Jay Gould and learn of their heated disputes, from Cuvier s and Owen s fights with early evolutionists to present controversies over the Late Cretaceous mass extinction Wallace s own lifelong interest in evolution is reflected in the book s evocative and engaging style and in the personal experiences he expertly weaves into the tale, providing an altogether expansive perspective on what Darwin described as the grandeur of evolution.


10 thoughts on “Beasts of Eden: Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution

  1. says:

    While there have indeed been many parts of David Rains Wallace s Beasts of Eden Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution that have proven to be interesting and scientifically, intellectually stimulating, for the most part, reading this book has actually been a majorly frustrating exercise of trying to basically dig up to unearth, with a bit of a pun most definitely intended here the information I was looking for, and what the title Beasts of Eden Walking Whales, Daw While there have indeed been many parts of David Rains Wallace s Beasts of Eden Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution that have proven to be interesting and scientifically, intellectually stimulating, for the most part, reading this book has actually been a majorly frustrating exercise of trying to basically dig up to unearth, with a bit of a pun most definitely intended here the information I was looking for, and what the title Beasts of Eden Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution seemingly promises namely detailed and scientific accounts on the evolution and development of mammals, and for and to me, in particular horses , searching for proverbial needles in a huge haystack of anecdotal snippets mostly regarding the major human movers and shakers of the theory of evolution and minute descriptions not so much of ancient mammal species and their changes over geologic time, butabout the many personal vendettas and infightings of early evolutionists such as Cuvier, Darwin, Marsh, Cope et al And while the latter could, I guess, and maybe even should be seen as essential and important to the history of science and palaeontology, it was and remains NOT AT ALL what I was looking for when I downloaded the Kindle version of Beasts of Eden Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution on my iPad.Therefore and in my humble opinion, what the title of the book seemingly suggests and what David Rains Wallace s text actually contains and delivers, this is what I personally would label rather an epic failure theme and content wise, and if I were actually giving this tome an academic grade, I would have to say that Beasts of Eden Dawn Horses, Walking Whales and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution is a rather sad and obvious case of the author not really all that much keeping to the title the topic he has himself chosen, but instead going off on tangents which while they do have to do with the theories of evolution and the history of the latter, do not really all that much provide enough relevant information on the actual mammal species that should be front and centre, that should be meticulously depicted and described the so called beasts of Eden of the title And thus, only two stars for Beasts of Eden Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, And Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution, as I personally have really not all that much enjoyed perusing the book and would actually NOT have even bothered to download it, had I known that the majority of David Rains Wallace s presented narrative was going to be about the personal animosities and often exceedingly nasty public conflicts and debates between early palaeontologists and their specific takes on evolution as a theory and not so much about the actual fossils discovered and found, the actual and bona fide enigmas of mammal evolution and really, if one looks at the book cover of Beasts of Eden Walking Whales, Dawn Horses and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution, at least to my eyes, it certainly does seem as though the main focus will be on the walking whales, the dawn horses, the various, often strange ungulates, the mammoths and not all that much on the scientists, the palaeontologists who discovered them, on their personalities, their private and public hatreds and annoyingly frustrating anger issues


  2. says:

    I was sort of disappointed with this one It was good, it just wasn t as good as I d hoped it would be I m really fascinated by early mammals, so I went in expecting to learn a lot about the dawn horses and walking whales in the title Instead, the greater portion of the book was about the various scientists who discovered the fossils and their rivalries and competing theories The other disappointment was the dearth of illustrations The author takes his inspiration from the famous Age of Mam I was sort of disappointed with this one It was good, it just wasn t as good as I d hoped it would be I m really fascinated by early mammals, so I went in expecting to learn a lot about the dawn horses and walking whales in the title Instead, the greater portion of the book was about the various scientists who discovered the fossils and their rivalries and competing theories The other disappointment was the dearth of illustrations The author takes his inspiration from the famous Age of Mammals mural at the Peabody Museum, so you would think that the mural would be reproduced in the book Sadly, the full mural is never shown portions of it are reprinted, but in black and white, which makes it look blurry and also makes it difficult to ascertain exactly which ancient mammals the author is referring to I had hoped to get a better idea of what all of these mammals were, how they lived, etc It may be that we just don t have enough information about them to write the kind of book I was hoping for


  3. says:

    Advertised as a book about the enigmas of mammalian evolution, it is as much about the politics and feuds of early anthropology Also, while it uses Rudolph Zallinger s The Age of Mammals mural at the Peabody Museum as inspiration and guide, there are almost no illustrations from the mural used through the book, which leaves the reader without an easy referent This book is also highly technical in its use of zoological terms in ways which left me frequently baffled a useful book but probably n Advertised as a book about the enigmas of mammalian evolution, it is as much about the politics and feuds of early anthropology Also, while it uses Rudolph Zallinger s The Age of Mammals mural at the Peabody Museum as inspiration and guide, there are almost no illustrations from the mural used through the book, which leaves the reader without an easy referent This book is also highly technical in its use of zoological terms in ways which left me frequently baffled a useful book but probably not one intended for the casual reader


  4. says:

    Mammals appeared in the Triassic, having evolved from mammal like reptiles with a reptilian skull but differentiated teeth Most Mesozoic mammals were small and unspecialized, like the squirrels and rats of today s cities, though by the Cretaceous modern orders started appearing we have a skull showing typical lagomorph circulation and another with typical ungulate teeth After the dinosaurs died off, there was of course an explosion of mammalian ecological diversity, producing whales, horses, Mammals appeared in the Triassic, having evolved from mammal like reptiles with a reptilian skull but differentiated teeth Most Mesozoic mammals were small and unspecialized, like the squirrels and rats of today s cities, though by the Cretaceous modern orders started appearing we have a skull showing typical lagomorph circulation and another with typical ungulate teeth After the dinosaurs died off, there was of course an explosion of mammalian ecological diversity, producing whales, horses, and different now extinct Tertiary mammals, including carnivorous ungulates with meter long skulls and enormous browsers that looked like a cross between the rhino and the giraffe All of this was discovered from the fossils in the 19th and the 20th century, and confirmed by genetic analysis in the 21st century the discoveries were the raw material for the evolutionary theories of George Gaylord Simpson who wrote a novella, published posthumously, about a scientist thrown into the Cretaceous by a time machine accident and his student Stephen Jay Gould


  5. says:

    Somewhat disjointed but spirited coverage of mammalian palaeontology and evolution, tied together in a rather laboured manner via Zallinger s famous mural at the Peabody museum First third mostly covers the early days of palaeontology as a science, then it meanders into a discussion of punctuated equilibrium vs gradualist evolution, and ends up talking about the search for basal primate fossils Lacking something if a coherent narrative either on a scientific or historical level, but it s enorm Somewhat disjointed but spirited coverage of mammalian palaeontology and evolution, tied together in a rather laboured manner via Zallinger s famous mural at the Peabody museum First third mostly covers the early days of palaeontology as a science, then it meanders into a discussion of punctuated equilibrium vs gradualist evolution, and ends up talking about the search for basal primate fossils Lacking something if a coherent narrative either on a scientific or historical level, but it s enormously enthusiastic, knowledgable, and stuffed with fascinating vignettes Could have done with somefocus like Deborah cadbury s brilliant Terrible Lizard , or at the very least someillustrations The sheer number of scientific names that gets thrown at you is bewildering even for a relatively knowledgable reader, and it seems a bit ridiculous to write a book themed around a piece of artwork without actually reproducing that artwork in its entirety anywhere


  6. says:

    This book is not as advertised I was hoping for somethinglike a field guide of prehistoric mammals, or at least some kind of walkthrough of what mammal life was like millions of years ago However, despite everything on the cover and summary in the jacket flap, this book was really a book detailing the history of mammalian evolution theories Wallace does a nice job detailing that history, but it isn t nearly as interesting as the animals themselves It was a bit of a struggle to read thr This book is not as advertised I was hoping for somethinglike a field guide of prehistoric mammals, or at least some kind of walkthrough of what mammal life was like millions of years ago However, despite everything on the cover and summary in the jacket flap, this book was really a book detailing the history of mammalian evolution theories Wallace does a nice job detailing that history, but it isn t nearly as interesting as the animals themselves It was a bit of a struggle to read through because it was not at all what I expected


  7. says:

    When you use a famous but little seen mural as the structure on which you build your narrative it would help immensely to have that mural reproduced in your book Instead we are left to wonder at the overall look and feel of the artwork, with only black and white reproductions of small areas scattered throughout the text Still, there are many interesting things to learn here, mostly about the scientists who worked to uncover facts about these long dead creatures, their wars over theory, and the When you use a famous but little seen mural as the structure on which you build your narrative it would help immensely to have that mural reproduced in your book Instead we are left to wonder at the overall look and feel of the artwork, with only black and white reproductions of small areas scattered throughout the text Still, there are many interesting things to learn here, mostly about the scientists who worked to uncover facts about these long dead creatures, their wars over theory, and the animals themselves


  8. says:

    At the La Brea Tar Pits, I realized that I didn t quite have as firm a grasp on evolution as I thought, especially when I found out that there were only mammals at La Brea and I didn t know how we fit into the grand scheme of things I remedied this immediately, thinking that I was purchasing a grand overview of evolutionary history Instead, I had purchased the evolution of the theory of mammalian evolution On the pedantic side, I didn t really keep up with all the names or events This book a At the La Brea Tar Pits, I realized that I didn t quite have as firm a grasp on evolution as I thought, especially when I found out that there were only mammals at La Brea and I didn t know how we fit into the grand scheme of things I remedied this immediately, thinking that I was purchasing a grand overview of evolutionary history Instead, I had purchased the evolution of the theory of mammalian evolution On the pedantic side, I didn t really keep up with all the names or events This book appears to have been intendedfor academics than the general public


  9. says:

    Something of a disappointment to me While it started strongly and elegantly, and is tied together with a marvelous device, the book increasingly became a turgid narrative of the politics of mammalian paleontology Too much inside baseball for me.


  10. says:

    A history of mammal evolution and the scientific controversies its study has spawned I enjoyed the book very much, but I would have likedon the mammals and less on the controversies.


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