Mammoths & Mastodons of the Ice Age

Adrian Lister. Firefly Books (Firefly, North American dist.), $29.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-77085-315-7
Although the last of the mammoths died only 4,000 years ago, modern humans know them only through their physical remains and the haunting artwork depicting them left by ancient hunter-gathers. In five chapters, Lister, a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London, U.K., details what we know of these lost cousins of the elephant, from their lineage's origins 60 million years ago to what appears likely to be Proboscidea's end in the next few generations. Delving into details of evolutionary history, diet and a range that once spanned both Old and New Worlds, he uses these vanished animals to explore the context in which they lived and draws disturbing parallels between the final days of the mammoths, their once mighty expanse broken into scattered refugia insufficient to sustain them, and the current circumstances of the few surviving elephant species, likewise trapped in isolated preserves, surrounded by rapacious hominids. The author manages to provide a startling amount of information in this slim volume with a recommended reading list for readers seeking more, this is an exemplary work for those newly curious about these vanished giants. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 01/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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