Here Be Dragons How the Study of Animal and Plant Distributions Revolutionized Our Views of Life and Earth

ISBN-10: 0199595666

ISBN-13: 9780199595662

Edition: 2011

Authors: Dennis McCarthy
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Description: Why do we find polar bears only in the Arctic and penguins only in the Antarctic? Why do oceanic islands often have many types of birds but no large native mammals?As Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace travelled across distant lands studying the wildlife they both noticed that the distribution of plants and animals formed striking patterns - patterns that held strong clues to the past of the planet.The study of the spatial distribution of living things is known as biogeography. It is a field that could be said to have begun with Darwin and Wallace. In this lively book, Denis McCarthy tells the story of biogeography, from the 19th century to its growth into a major field of interdisciplinary research in the present day. It is a story that encompasses two great, insightful theories that were to provide the explanations to the strange patterns of life across the world - evolution, and platetectonics.We find animals and plants where we do because, over time, the continents have moved, separating and coalescing in a long, slow dance; because sea levels have risen, cutting off one bit of land from another, and fallen, creating land bridges; because new and barren volcanic islands have risen up from the sea; and because animals and plants vary greatly in their ability to travel, and separation has caused the formation of new species. The story of biogeography is the story of how life hasresponded and has in turn altered the ever changing Earth. It is a narrative that includes many fascinating tales - of pygmy mammoths and elephant birds; of changing landscapes; of radical ideas by bold young scientists first dismissed and later, with vastly growing evidence, widely accepted. The story isnot yet done: there are still questions to be answered and biogeography is a lively area of research and debate. But our view of the planet has been changed profoundly by biogeography and its related fields: the emerging understanding is of a deeply interconnected system in which life and physical forces interact dynamically in space and time.

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Book details

Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 6/9/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 240
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

As a TPM expert, Dennis has pioneered the integration of TPM with Lean and Six Sigma improvement processes as a lever for cross functional collaboration and high performance teamwork. Described by one senior international manager as a true 'Sensei of Change', he has supported many well-respected and award winning companies including 3M, Ford, General Motors, GE, IKEA, Heineken and Johnson Matthey across Europe, India, USA, China and Japan.

Acknowledgments
List of Illustrations
Preface: "That Grand Subject"
Biogeography as the fountainhead of scientific discovery and the unifying theory of life and Earth
Gal�pagan Epiphany: How the distributions of plants and animals led Darwin to the theory of evolution
The Mesosaurus Problem: How fossil locations helped revolutionize our view of Earth history
Pygmy Mammoths and Mysterious Islands: Why the geography of certain island groups, like Hawaii, Gal�pagos, and the Channel Islands, has turned them into a cauldron of evolutionary catalysts
The Volcanic Ring That Changed the World: How evolution and plate tectonics have operated in concert to govern the major biotic patterns and produce the Earth's most fascinating creatures in the most exotic locales
The Bloody Fall of South America and the Last of the Triassic Beak-Headed Reptiles: South America, Australia, and New Zealand as sanctuaries for "living fossils"
Enchanted Waters: Biogeography among the life aquatic
The Battle Over Eden: The controversy over the biogeographical history of the human race
The Grand Coalescence of Life and Earth: The past, present, and future of biogeography
Endnotes
Bibliography
Index
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