Today, Michigan is home to many different animals and plants. Yet nearly 12,000 years ago it was home to very different kinds of animals and flora. Huge mastodons and mammoths roamed through southern Michigan. Whales, walruses, and giant rodents swam in the lakes, and shaggy musk oxen grazed in the woodlands. Now, 2000 years later, all but their fossils are gone.
Ancient Life of the Great Lakes Basin provides a one-of-a- kind look at ancient life in the Great Lakes. Written for the layperson and for the professional with biological or geological interest in the Great Lakes region, the book describes most of the common fossils found in this region. Detailed illustrations help identify many of the fossilized organisms that can be found today. Among the most interesting illustrations presented in the book are Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen's conceptions of what the fossilized creatures may have looked like when they were alive. In addition, color illustrations by van Frankenhuyzen depict spectacular scenes of ancient life in the Great Lakes area.
The book begins with a brief review of biological and geological principles and then offers a framework for the study of the fossil record. Methods of collection, preservation and maintenance of fossils are also presented. Throughout the book, common fossils found today embedded in rocks and other solid matter are emphasized.
J. Alan Holman is Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology in the Michigan State University Museum, and Professor of Geological Sciences, Michigan State University.
The Gulf of California is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it is also important to earth and marine scientists who work far beyond the area. In text and an accompanying CD-ROM with stunning satellite images, this atlas captures the dynamics of natural cycles in the fertility of the Gulf of California that have been in near-continuous operation for more than five million years. The book is designed to answer key questions that link the health of coastal ecosystems with the region’s evolutionary history: What was the richness of “fossil” ecosystems in the Gulf of California? How has it changed over time? Which ecosystems are most amenable to conservation?
With an emphasis on the intricate workings of the Gulf, a team of scientists led by Markes E. Johnson and Jorge Ledesma-Vázquez explores how marine invertebrates such as corals and bivalves, as well as certain algae, contribute to the operation of a vast “organic engine” that acts as a significant carbon trap. The Atlas reveals that the role of these organisms in the ecology of the Gulf was greatly underestimated in the past. The organisms that live in these environments (or provide the sediments for beaches and dunes) are mass producers of calcium carbonate. Until now, no book has considered the centrality of calcium carbonate production as it functions today across multiple ecosystems and how it has evolved over time.
An important work of scholarship that also evokes the region’s natural splendor, the Atlas will be of interest to a wide range of scientists, including geologists, paleontologists, marine biologists, ecologists, and conservation biologists.
Coming Home to the Pleistocene
Paul Shepard; Edited by Florence R. Shepard Island Press, 1998 Library of Congress GN388.S5 1998 | Dewey Decimal 306.364
"When we grasp fully that the best expressions of our humanity were not invented by civilization but by cultures that preceded it, that the natural world is not only a set of constraints but of contexts within which we can more fully realize our dreams, we will be on the way to a long overdue reconciliation between opposites which are of our own making." --from Coming Home to the Pleistocene
Paul Shepard was one of the most profound and original thinkers of our time. Seminal works like The Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game, Thinking Animals, and Nature and Madness introduced readers to new and provocative ideas about humanity and its relationship to the natural world. Throughout his long and distinguished career, Paul Shepard returned repeatedly to his guiding theme, the central tenet of his thought: that our essential human nature is a product of our genetic heritage, formed through thousands of years of evolution during the Pleistocene epoch, and that the current subversion of that Pleistocene heritage lies at the heart of today's ecological and social ills.
Coming Home to the Pleistocene provides the fullest explanation of that theme. Completed just before his death in the summer of 1996, it represents the culmination of Paul Shepard's life work and constitutes the clearest, most accessible expression of his ideas. Coming Home to the Pleistocene pulls together the threads of his vision, considers new research and thinking that expands his own ideas, and integrates material within a new matrix of scientific thought that both enriches his original insights and allows them to be considered in a broader context of current intellectual controversies. In addition, the book explicitly addresses the fundamental question raised by Paul Shepard's work: What can we do to recreate a life more in tune with our genetic roots? In this book, Paul Shepard presents concrete suggestions for fostering the kinds of ecological settings and cultural practices that are optimal for human health and well-being.
Coming Home to the Pleistocene is a valuable book for those familiar with the life and work of Paul Shepard, as well as for new readers seeking an accessible introduction to and overview of his thought.
Baja California: wild, desolate, and a treasure-house of geological wonders. Along its ancient shorelines, careful observers can learn much about how the Gulf of California came into existence and what the future of the Baja California peninsula might be.
For those who wish to unlock the mysteries of Baja California, geologist Markes Johnson offers the key. He has taken a body of technical research on the geology and paleontology of the region and made it accessible in plain language for anyone who visits the peninsula, whether for study or recreation. His book teaches general concepts in coastal geomorphology and tectonics, as well as the basic geological and natural history of the Gulf of California, in a conversive, intellectually stimulating fashion.
Johnson's guide takes the form of six day-long hikes in the area of Punta Chivato on the east coast of the southern Baja California peninsula. Punta Chivato is presented as a microcosm of the entire region; it can enable visitors to better understand major themes in the natural history of the Gulf of California and its geological past. All of the hikes begin at the southeast corner of the Punta Chivato promontory and loop out in different directions. Each circuit is designed to minimize overlap with adjacent hikes and to maximize the visitor's exposure to instructive variations in the landscape. Each chapter features additional reflections on a geologist of another time and place who has advanced the field in a way that elucidates the material covered in that chapter. Through these asides, readers will learn the basic lessons about how geologists read the secrets hidden in landscapes.
Discovering the Geology of Baja California invites visitors to these shores to explore not only rocks and fossils but also the continuum of past ecosystems with the ecology of the present. It offers both an unparalleled guide to a remote area and a new understanding of life caught in an endless cycle of change.
The first book of its kind, In Quest of Great Lakes Ice Age Vertebrates details the Ice Age fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals in the provinces and states surrounding the Great Lakes. Holman's work begins with definitions of concepts and terms for the general audience and a general discussion of how the last ice age, the Pleistocene Epoch, affected our physical and biological world. Methods employed and tools used in the collection of vertebrate fossils, as well as ethics and protocol in the maintenance of a useful collection follow, coupled with details of each animal's structure, habits, habitats, and ecological importance. The heart of the book is a species-by-species account of the Pleistocene vertebrates of the region, followed by an examination of the compelling problems of the Pleistocene relative to faunal interpretations, including overall ecological makeup of the region's fauna, vertebrate range adjustment that occurred in the region, Pleistocene extinction effects on the animals of the region, the aftermath of the Ice Age, and a look at what the future may hold for the region.
Owls, Caves, and Fossils is the first comprehensive, fully illustrated account of small mammal taphonomy. The study of small mammal remains has previously been neglected in favor of such large mammals as elephants, bovids, and carnivores, and Andrews remedies this deficiency by analyzing the taphonomic processes significant in the preservation of small mammal fauna in caves.
Featuring numerous illustrations, this book explores the many lessons to be learned from Pleistocene megafauna, including the role of humans in their extinction, their disappearance at the start of the Sixth Extinction, and what they might teach us about contemporary conservation crises.
Long after the extinction of dinosaurs, when humans were still in the Stone Age, woolly rhinos, mammoths, mastodons, sabertooth cats, giant ground sloths, and many other spectacular large animals that are no longer with us roamed the Earth. These animals are regarded as “Pleistocene megafauna,” named for the geological era in which they lived—also known as the Ice Age.
In Vanished Giants: The Lost World of the Ice Age, paleontologist Anthony J. Stuart explores the lives and environments of these animals, moving between six continents and several key islands. Stuart examines the animals themselves via what we’ve learned from fossil remains, and he describes the landscapes, climates, vegetation, ecological interactions, and other aspects of the animals’ existence. Illustrated throughout, Vanished Giants also offers a picture of the world as it was tens of thousands of years ago when these giants still existed. Unlike the case of the dinosaurs, there was no asteroid strike to blame for the end of their world. Instead, it appears that the giants of the Ice Age were driven to extinction by climate change, human activities—especially hunting—or both. Drawing on the latest evidence provided by radiocarbon dating, Stuart discusses these possibilities. The extinction of Ice Age megafauna can be seen as the beginning of the so-called Sixth Extinction, which is happening right now. This has important implications for understanding the likely fate of present-day animals in the face of contemporary climate change and vastly increasing human populations.