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DONALD PROTHERO

June 29, 2021

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AFTER THE DINOSAURS:
The Age of Mammals
by Donald R. Prothero
Indiana University Press, 2006
(i-xii, 362 pages)

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scans wed pvii = 7:15 pm 6-23-21 = scan quote at beginning by H. G. Wells, from the book, A SHORT HISTORY OF THE WORLD, 1922
NOTE = 2 pages 11, 12 preface note = scans 1,2 = chap 1- Intro = p1, 2
    Quote = "After the incredible and fascinating group of animals called dinosaurs became extinct some 65 million years ago (except for their feathered descendants), an enormous variety of land creatures evolved, especially the mammals, which in their own way were every bit as remarkable as their Mesozoic Era dinosaur cousins." (Paraphrased by webmaster from publisher's summary)

    Quote = "The Cenozoic Era, which is the Age of Mammals, was an amazing time in earth's history,. It was populated by a wonderful assortment of bizarre animals. The rapid evolution of thousands of species of mammals during the Cenozoic Era brought forth gigantic hornless rhinos, sabertooth cats, mastodonds 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 Era, warming up dramatically about 55 million years ago, and then cooling rapidly so that 33 million years ago the glacial ice returned. As 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. The dramatic changes in animal and plant life reflected the global climate change, which included the emergence of such creatures as giant sharks, seals, sea lions, dolphins, and whales." (Paraphrased by webmaster from publisher's blog)
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BOOK OUTLINE
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note = Numbers in parentheses refer to pages

PREFACE (xi-xii)

1) INTRODUCTION (1-21)

note = p20 and p21 = what's in a name? - scan = scans 1 &2 2323 - 2324 7:25 p.m. 2) THE END OF THE DINOSAURS? (23-)

3) BRAVE NEW WORLD The Paleocene (45-80)

Color Plates (between page 80 and 82)

4) DAWN OF THE RECENT The Eocene (83-140)

5) THE ICEHOUSE COMETH The Oligocene (141-178)

6) THE SAVANNA STORY The Miocene (181-232)

7) THE WORLD IN TRANSITION The Pliocene (233-256)

8) ICE TIME The Pleistocene (259-297)

9) OUR INTER-GLACIAL The Holocene (299-313)

BIBLIOGRAPHY (315-348)

INDEX (349-362)

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH of Donald R. Prothero (unpaged at end of book)

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AUTHOR NOTES, SUMMARY,
AND BOOK DESCRIPTION

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AUTHOR NOTES = Recipient of the 2013 James Shea Award of the National Association of Geology Teachers for outstanding writing and editing in the geosciences, Donald R. Prothero is Emeritus Professor of Geology at Occidental College and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology. He has published 32 books, including Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (IU Press, 2013); Rhinoceros Giants: The Paleobiology of Indricotheres ; Earth: Portrait of a Planet ; The Evolution of Earth ; Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters ; Catastrophes! ; and After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (IU Press, 2006).

SUMMARY = The book is for everyone who has an abiding fascination with the remarkable life of the past. Perhaps nudged over the evolutionary cliff by a giant boloid [noun: a large meteor which explodes in the atmosphere] 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.

BOOK DESCRIPTION = 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, mastodonds 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.

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EDITORIAL BOOK REVIEW
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CHOICE REVIEW = Prothero (Occidental) seeks to summarize the history of life over the past 65 million years, since the last dinosaurs gave way to mammals. The work begins with the expected background history of paleontology, basic methods, evolution, chronology, and stratigraphy. A chapter on the end of the dinosaurs (other than their bird relatives) includes more background on extinction and phylogeny. Each of the remaining seven chapters covers one of the "epochs" of geological time during the Cenozoic Era. These are broader than might be expected, discussing not only mammalian fossils and their adaptations, but also marine life, both vertebrate and invertebrate, and the climatic changes on which Prothero's research has concentrated.

Much of the evidence is drawn from North America, but Prothero summarizes the record of other continents. Illustrations range from a few excellent color paintings done especially for this book, to reprints of many images from museum galleries and older books, to a variety of field geology photos by the author; all too few illustrate the actual fossils, and none provide anatomical details of the fossils (nor does the text). This is a general work rather than a summary for students or specialists; as such it succeeds quite well. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; interested upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers. E. Delson CUNY Herbert H. Lehman College.

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