Extinct Animals
An Encyclopedia of Species that Have Disappeared during Human History
by Ross Piper
March 2009, 204pp, 7x10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-34987-4
$94, £70, 79€, A135
eBook Available: 978-0-313-34988-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

An accessible resource to the animals that have become extinct during human history.

Everyone is familiar with the dodo and the wooly mammoth, but how many people have heard of the scimitar cat and the Falkland Island fox? Extinct Animals portrays over 60 remarkable animals that have been lost forever during the relatively recent geological past. Each entry provides a concise discussion of the history of the animal—how and where it lived, and how it became extinct—as well as the scientific discovery and analysis of the creature. In addition, this work examines what led to extinction—from the role of cyclical swings in the Earth’s climate to the spread of humans and their activities. Many scientists believe that we are in the middle of a mass extinction right now, caused by the human undermining of the earth’s complex systems that support life. Understanding what caused the extinction of animals in the past may help us understand and prevent the extinction of species in the future.

Extinct Animals examines the biology and history of some of the most interesting creatures that have ever lived, including: The American Terror Bird, which probably became extinct over 1 million years ago, who were massive predators, some of which were almost 10 feet tall; the Rocky Mountain Locust, last seen in 1902, formed the most immense animal aggregations ever known, with swarms estimated to include over 10 trillion insects; the Giant Ground Sloth, which was as large as an elephant; and the Neandertals, the first Europeans, which co-existed with prehistoric Homo sapiens. Extinct Animals includes illustrations—many created for the work—that help the reader visualize the extinct creature, and each entry concludes with a list of resources for those who wish to do further research.


"The prose is exceptionally well crafted, always including interesting facts or stories about the departed species."—ARBAonline, May 1, 2009

"Extinct Animals is a remarkable and highly recommended work of scholarship that is fully accessible to the non-specialist general reader, as well as academia."—Midwest Book Review - MBR Bookwatch, May 1, 2009

". . . the prose is clear and even lively at times ('Fortunately for the pronghorn antelope, the American cheetah died out around 10,000 years ago'). The level of detail makes this a more rewarding resource for serious students of extinction’s causes–which are many and often hard to pin down–than Don Lessem’s Dinosaurs to Dodos: An Encyclopedia of Extinct Animals (Scholastic, 1999)."—School Library Journal, August 1, 2009

"These 65 species are fascinating, evocative, and important to know about as representative of the history of the earth. The information is interesting and well documented, and the author writes clearly and intelligently."—Booklist, September 15, 2009

"This book is recommended for public and college libraries and high schools where there is a strong interest in extinct species."—Catholic Library World, December 1, 2009

"Anyone with an interest in zoology or general users interested in animals of the past will enjoy this book; a good addition for public libraries."—Reference Reviews, July 1, 2010
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