Megafauna : Giant Beasts of Pleistocene South America by Fariña, Richard A.; Vizcaíno, Sergio F.; De Iuliis, Gerry;

By Fariña, Richard A.; Vizcaíno, Sergio F.; De Iuliis, Gerry; Tambusso, Sebastián

Greater than 10,000 years in the past spectacularly huge mammals roamed the pampas and jungles of South the United States. This publication tells the tale of those nice beasts in the course of and simply after the Pleistocene, the geological epoch marked through the good ice a while. Megafauna describes the historical past and lifestyle of those animals, their comings and goings, and what came about them firstly of the trendy period and the arriving of people. It areas those giants in the context of the opposite mammals then alive, describing their paleobiology—how they walked;
how a lot they weighed; their diets, habit, biomechanics; and the interactions between them and with their atmosphere. It additionally tells the tales of the scientists who contributed to our discovery and information of those transcendent creatures and the surroundings they inhabited. The episode referred to as the nice American Biotic Interchange, might be crucial of all usual historical past "experiments," can also be a big subject of the booklet, tracing the biotic occasions of either North and South the USA that resulted in the fauna and the ecosystems mentioned during this e-book.

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Extra info for Megafauna : Giant Beasts of Pleistocene South America

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In addition to this assignment, the ensuing voyage of 5 years included stops in the Galápagos, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, the Cape of Good Hope, and a plethora of other places. Nothing escaped Darwin’s razor-sharp eye, and he filled his travel diary with observations on animals and plants, the morals of Tahitians, the virtues of the gauchos, the colonization of Australia, as well as the slavery in Brazil, which he found most disgusting: Darwin: traveler and collector I may mention one very trifling anecdote, which at the time struck me more forcibly than any story of cruelty.

Instead, groups of organisms are defined on ancestry. A meaningful classification can only be based on ancestry, because characters evolve and some members of a group may lack one or more defining characters. For example, Tetrapoda (or Stegocephalia, according to several researchers; De Iuliis and Pulerà, 2010) includes all vertebrates with four limbs. If we were to adhere strictly to this definition of this group, then snakes could not be included. In practice, biologists have long realized that snakes share ancestry with other reptiles and have been classified with them and other vertebrates as tetrapods.

Indeed, as Darwin noted, Pleistocene South American fossil mammals show a greater morphological diversity than their living counterparts; they include representatives of great body size and with peculiar features. Their peculiarity and general lack of modern analogues have encouraged creative paleobiological approaches that will be extensively treated later in this book. We may claim, with pride, that our approach is in line with the questions and remarks on the paleobiology, paleoecology, and extinction of the South American Pleistocene fossil mammals that the young Darwin himself made when he first collected them.

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