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Twilight of the Mammoths Ice Age Extinctions and the Rewilding of America

ISBN-10: 0520252438
ISBN-13: 9780520252431
Edition: 2007
List price: $29.95
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Description: As recently as 11,000 years ago--"near time" to geologists--mammoths, mastodons, gomphotheres, ground sloths, giant armadillos, native camels and horses, the dire wolf, and many other large mammals roamed North America. In what has become one of  More...

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Book details

List price: $29.95
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 5/8/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 270
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.858
Language: English

As recently as 11,000 years ago--"near time" to geologists--mammoths, mastodons, gomphotheres, ground sloths, giant armadillos, native camels and horses, the dire wolf, and many other large mammals roamed North America. In what has become one of science's greatest riddles, these large animals vanished in North and South America around the time humans arrived at the end of the last great ice age. Part paleontological adventure and part memoir, Twilight of the Mammoths presents in detail internationally renowned paleoecologist Paul Martin's widely discussed and debated "overkill" hypothesis to explain these mysterious megafauna extinctions. Taking us from Rampart Cave in the Grand Canyon, where he finds himself "chest deep in sloth dung," to other important fossil sites in Arizona and Chile, Martin's engaging book, written for a wide audience, uncovers our rich evolutionary legacy and shows why he has come to believe that the earliest Americans literally hunted these animals to death. As he discusses the discoveries that brought him to this hypothesis, Martin relates many colorful stories and gives a rich overview of the field of paleontology as well as his own fascinating career. He explores the ramifications of the overkill hypothesis for similar extinctions worldwide and examines other explanations for the extinctions, including climate change. Martin's visionary thinking about our missing megafauna offers inspiration and a challenge for today's conservation efforts as he speculates on what we might do to remedy this situation--both in our thinking about what is "natural" and in the natural world itself.

Paul S. Martin is Emeritus Professor of Geosciences, Desert Laboratory, University of Arizona.

List of Illustrations
Foreword
Acknowledgments
Prologue
Discovering the Last Lost World
Radiocarbon Dating and Quaternary Extinctions
Overview of Overkill
Ground Sloth Dung and Packrat Middens
Giant Meat-Eating Bats?
Ground Sloths at Home
Cryptozoology, Ground Sloths, and Mapinguari National Park
Grand Canyon Suite: Mountain Goats, Condors, Equids, and Mammoths
Deadly Syncopation
Digging for the First People in America: High Stakes at Lule Springs
Tricks, Hoaxes, and Bad Science
Kill Sites, Sacred Sites
Models in Collision: Climatic Change versus Overkill
Restoration
Unexpected Ramifications of Ecological Change
Resurrection: The Past Is Future
Epilogue
References
Index

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