Few aspects of American military history have been as vigorously debated as Harry Truman's decision to use atomic bombs against Japan. In this carefully crafted volume, Michael Kort describes the wartime circumstances and thinking that form the context for the decision to use these weapons, surveys the major debates related to that decision, and provides a comprehensive collection of key primary source documents that illuminate the behavior of the United States and Japan during the closing days of World War II. Kort opens with a summary of the debate over Hiroshima as it has evolved since 1945. He then provides a historical overview of thye events in question, beginning with the decision and program to build the atomic bomb. Detailing the sequence of events leading to Japan's surrender, he revisits the decisive battles of the Pacific War and the motivations of American and Japanese leaders. Finally, Kort examines ten key issues in the discussion of Hiroshima and guides readers to relevant primary source documents, scholarly books, and articles.
A fascinating study of the thousands of new animal species that walked in the footsteps of the dinosaurs—and the climate changes that brought them forth. The 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 mammals, which in their way were every bit as remarkable as their Mesozoic cousins. 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 many incredible creatures―including our own ancestors. Their story is part of a larger story of new life 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. Life in the sea underwent striking evolution reflecting global climate change, including the emergence of such creatures as giant sharks, seals, sea lions, dolphins, and whales. Engaging and insightful, After the Dinosaurs is a book for everyone who has an abiding fascination with the remarkable life of the past.
Unique reference volume covering major vertebrate fossil finds in former Soviet Union never before described in English.
In the tradition of G. G. Simpson's classic work, Kenneth D. Rose's The Beginning of the Age of Mammals analyzes the events that occurred directly before and after the mysterious K-T boundary which so quickly thrust mammals from obscurity to planetary dominance. Rose surveys the evolution of mammals, beginning with their origin from cynodont therapsids in the Mesozoic, contemporary with dinosaurs, through the early Cenozoic, with emphasis on the Paleocene and Eocene adaptive radiations of therian mammals. Focusing on the fossil record, he presents the anatomical evidence used to interpret behavior and phylogenetic relationships. The life's work of one of the most knowledgeable researchers in the field, this richly illustrated, magisterial book combines sound scientific principles and meticulous research and belongs on the shelf of every paleontologist and mammalogist. -- J.D. Archibald
This book places into modern context the information by which North American mammalian paleontologists recognize, divide, calibrate, and discuss intervals of mammalian evolution known as North American Land Mammal Ages. It incorporates new information on the systematic biology of the fossil record and utilizes the many recent advances in geochronologic methods and their results. The book describes the increasingly highly resolved stratigraphy into which all available temporally significant data and applications are integrated. Extensive temporal coverage includes the Lancian part of the Late Cretaceous, and geographical coverage includes information from Mexico, an integral part of the North American fauna, past and present.
One of the most brilliant scientists of our age gives us his definitive work: a synthesis of his comprehensive vision of life. THE ANCESTOR'S TALE is a pilgrimage back through time; a journey on which we meet up with fellow pilgrims as we and they converge on our common ancestors. Chimpanzees join us at about 6 million years in the past, orang utans at 14 million years, as we stride on together, a growing band. The journey provides the setting for a collection of some 40 tales. Each explores an aspect of evolutionary biology through the stories of characters met along the way. The tales are interspersed with prologues detailing the journey, route maps showing joining lineages, and life-like reconstructions of our common ancestors. THE ANCESTOR'S TALE represents a pilgrimage on an unimaginable scale: our goal is four billion years away, and the number of pilgrims joining us grows vast - ultimately encompassing all living creatures. At the end of the journey lies something remarkable in its simplicity and transformative power: the first, humble, replicating molecules.
In Pursuit of Early Mammals presents the history of the mammals that lived during the Mesozoic era, the time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, and describes their origins, anatomy, systematics, paleobiology, and distribution. It also tells the story of the author, a world-renowned specialist on these animals, and the other prominent paleontologists who have studied them. Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska was the first woman to lead large-scale paleontological expeditions, including eight to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, which brought back important collections of dinosaur, early mammal, and other fossils. She shares the difficulties and pleasures encountered in finding rare fossils and describes the changing views on early mammals made possible by these discoveries.
Over the past twenty years, paleontologists have made tremendous fossil discoveries, including fossils that mark the growth of whales, manatees, and seals from land mammals and the origins of elephants, horses, and rhinos. Today there exists an amazing diversity of fossil humans, suggesting we walked upright long before we acquired large brains, and new evidence from molecules that enable scientists to decipher the tree of life as never before. The fossil record is now one of the strongest lines of evidence for evolution. In this engaging and richly illustrated book, Donald R. Prothero weaves an entertaining though intellectually rigorous history out of the transitional forms and series that dot the fossil record. Beginning with a brief discussion of the nature of science and the "monkey business of creationism," Prothero tackles subjects ranging from flood geology and rock dating to neo-Darwinism and macroevolution. He covers the ingredients of the primordial soup, the effects of communal living, invertebrate transitions, the development of the backbone, the reign of the dinosaurs, the mammalian explosion, and the leap from chimpanzee to human. Prothero pays particular attention to the recent discovery of "missing links" that complete the fossil timeline and details the debate between biologists over the mechanisms driving the evolutionary process. Evolution is an absorbing combination of firsthand observation, scientific discovery, and trenchant analysis. With the teaching of evolution still an issue, there couldn't be a better moment for a book clarifying the nature and value of fossil evidence. Widely recognized as a leading expert in his field, Prothero demonstrates that the transformation of life on this planet is far more awe inspiring than the narrow view of extremists.
In his most thrilling and personal book, Tim Flannery writes a love letter to his homeland, drawing on three decades of extensive travel, research and field work to reveal its unique nature. Flannery shows how the kangaroo is inseparable from the environment that created it. And he reveals the vast continent to be a land of subtlety and complexity that becomes comprehensible to those who take the time to learn its hidden and ancient languages.
The internationally acclaimed author of The Weather Makers crafts a love letter to his native land and one of its most unique inhabitants: the kangaroo. Drawing on three decades of travel, research, and field work, Tim Flannery shows us how the destiny of the extraordinary kangaroo is inseparable from the environment that created it. Along the way he uses encounters with ancient aboriginal cultures and eccentric fossil hunters, farmers and scientists, kangaroo advocates and kangaroo hunters, to explore how Australia’s deserts and rain forests have shaped human responses to the continent—and how kangaroos have evolved to handle the resulting challenges. Ultimately, Chasing Kangaroos is a captivating blend of memoir, travel, natural history, and evolutionary science—and further proof of Flannery’s “offhand interdisciplinary brilliance” (Entertainment Weekly). “Absorbing, funny, and wonderfully learned.” —Bill Bryson, New York Times–bestselling author of A Walk in the Woods
One of the leading textbooks in its field, Bringing Fossils to Life applies paleobiological principles to the fossil record while detailing the evolutionary history of major plant and animal phyla. It incorporates current research from biology, ecology, and population genetics, bridging the gap between purely theoretical paleobiological textbooks and those that describe only invertebrate paleobiology and that emphasize cataloguing live organisms instead of dead objects. For this third edition Donald R. Prothero has revised the art and research throughout, expanding the coverage of invertebrates and adding a discussion of new methodologies and a chapter on the origin and early evolution of life.
This book is about the time when giant reptiles ruled the world, on land (dinosaurs), in the sea (sea monsters), and in the air (pterosaurs). It was a unique period, never to be repeated once mammals became the dominant tetrapods. Birds and mammals first appeared as well, but remained insignificant until these reptiles were already extinct. The book is designed for a wide audience of age groups, ranging in age from seven years (my grandson Jake) to those of us at 77 (my age). The approach is holistic. For example, it describes relevant concepts within the geosciences, including how fossils record the history of life and how radioactivity provides us with the numerical ages of this history. Also, it describes the significant influence of mass extinctions and of the plate tectonic rearrangement of the continents. The book is well-illustrated. There are more than 65 accurate drawings and additional cartoons.They are used to illuminate the written narrative. Enjoy.
Alberta is well known for its fossil treasures, and author John Acorn is as keen on the long-dead creatures of Alberta as he is on the living. Here, John features 80 of the most noteworthy fossils, fossil locations, and fossil hunters from this most palaeontological of provinces. There's more to the story of "deep Alberta" than dinosaurs, but dinosaur fans will find all their favourite beasts here as well -- from Edmontosaurus to Tyrannosaurus rex, and everything in-between. Then there are the surprises, such as the world's oldest pike, the discovery of a venomous mammal, and the fossils found in such unlikely places as Edmonton and Calgary. Prepared with the collaboration of palaeontologists around Alberta, and the world-renowned Royal Tyrrell Museum, this is a book that is long overdue, and that deserves a place on everyone's bookshelf.
Palæontology deals with the History of Life. Its time is measured in geologic epochs and periods, in millions of years instead of centuries. Man, by this measure, is but a creature of yesterday—his "forty centuries of civilization" but a passing episode. It is by no means easy for us to adjust our perspective to the immensely long spaces of time involved in geological evolution. We are apt to think of all these extinct animals merely as prehistoric—to imagine them all living at the same time and contending with our cave-dwelling ancestors for the mastery of the earth. In order to understand the place of the Dinosaurs in world-history, we must first get some idea of the length of geologic periods and the immense space of time separating one extinct fauna from another. The Age of Man. Prehistoric time, as it is commonly understood, is the time when barbaric and savage tribes of men inhabited the world but before civilization began, and earlier than the written records on which history is based. This corresponds roughly to the Pleistocene epoch of geology; it is included along with the much shorter time during which civilization has existed, in the latest and shortest of the geological periods, the Quaternary. It was the age of the mammoth and the mastodon, the megatherium and Irish deer and of other quadrupeds large and small which are now extinct; but most of its animals were the same species as now exist. It was marked by the great episode of the Ice Age, when considerable parts of the earth's surface were buried under immense accumulations of ice, remnants of which are still with us in the icy covering of Greenland and Antarctica.
The uncovering in the mid-1700s of fossilized mastodon bones and teeth at Big Bone Lick, Kentucky, signaled the beginning of a great American adventure. The West was opening up and unexplored lands beckoned. Unimagined paleontological treasures awaited discovery: strange horned mammals, birds with teeth, flying reptiles, gigantic fish, diminutive ancestors of horses and camels, and more than a hundred different kinds of dinosaurs. This exciting book tells the story of the grandest period of fossil discovery in American history, the years from 1750 to 1890. The volume begins with Thomas Jefferson, whose keen interest in the American mastodon led him to champion the study of fossil vertebrates. The book continues with vivid descriptions of the actual work of prospecting for fossils--a pick in one hand, a rifle in the other--and enthralling portraits of Joseph Leidy, Ferdinand Hayden, Edward Cope, and Othniel Marsh among other major figures in the development of the science of paleontology. Shedding new light on these scientists feuds and rivalries, on the connections between fossil studies in Europe and America, and on paleontologys contributions to Americas developing national identity, The Legacy of the Mastodon is itself a fabulous discovery for every reader to treasure.
Thirty-one specialists in the paleontology of the Age of Dinosaurs address a variety of issues: animals that preceded dinosaurs, the origin and early history of dinosaurs, and the relationship of the ascent of dinosaurs to new evolutionary innovations and to global, climatic, ecological, and even chance factors. This study is the first to examine how the period of dinosaur domination began.
To help us understand what happened during the Ice Age, Peter Ward takes us on a tour of other mass extinctions through earth's history. He presents a compelling account of the great comet crash that killed off the dinosaurs, and describes other extinctions that were even more extensive. In so doing, he introduces us to a profound paradigm shift now taking place in paleontology: rather than arising from the gradual workings of everyday forces, all mass extinctions are due to unique, catastrophic events. Written with an irresistible combination of passion and expertise, The Call of Distant Mammoths is an engaging exploration of the history of life and the importance of humanity as an evolutionary force. "Carefully argued...an intelligent and compelling book."-THE OLYMPIAN, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON "Ward deftly summarizes a large body of scientific literature, simplifying complex ideas for the general reader without condescension."-PUBLISHERS WEEKLY "Did the overkill really happen?...Peter Ward deftly summarizes the arguments...Ward tells (the story) well."-THE NEW SCIENTIST