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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most excellent, needed work
Owing to the undeniable "glamour" of dinosaurs, mammalian evolution is a sort of neglected stepchild in literature about the unfolding pageant of life. This book is a most worthy step in removing that status.

As with his other works, Dr. Prothero's present text is well organized and easily read, although some prior familiarity with evolution and anatomy is...
Published on August 28, 2007 by Jerald R Lovell

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT a guide to prehistoric mammals
I really wish I had read the reviews more closely before ordering this book. The description makes it sound like it's ABOUT prehistoric mammals, where really it's about climate change and geology and flora. There are just 5 color plates and the rest of the drawings are sketches from 1920's. I was really disappointed as this book tells you NOTHING about the animals...
Published 20 months ago by Susan Bell


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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most excellent, needed work, August 28, 2007
By 
Jerald R Lovell (Clinton Township, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Life of the Past) (Hardcover)
Owing to the undeniable "glamour" of dinosaurs, mammalian evolution is a sort of neglected stepchild in literature about the unfolding pageant of life. This book is a most worthy step in removing that status.

As with his other works, Dr. Prothero's present text is well organized and easily read, although some prior familiarity with evolution and anatomy is desireable. The very fine graphics and drawn pictures accompany the text rather precisely, and reference to them is made much easier than is the case where one must search elsewhere to to find meaningful illustrations.

Dr. Prothero's research and compilation is outstanding, particularly with respect to lesser known epochs of the Cenozoic Era. As a result of reading this book, I have gained a much greater, clearer understanding of mammalian development as a whole, over the Earth, and not just in one geographical province. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in the development of life, and is an utter necessity to anyone truly into the development of mammals.

I have unhesitatingly given this work a five-star appellation, and would have gone higher had I been able. It will provide the reader with endless hours of enjoyable reading and reams of pertinent information. Just don't loan it out to anyone with a similar interest.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview, a little heavy for casual interest, August 8, 2006
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This review is from: After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Life of the Past) (Hardcover)
"After the Dinosaurs" is basically an overview of the common fauna of each continent and the environments they lived in. Although there is a lot of good information, if you're looking for specifics on a particular species or group, you might be disappointed. However, if you want a good scientifically sound book summarizing the 'age of mammals', this is an excellent resource.

The first chapter summarizes how fossil evidence is used, and the second deals mainly with theories about the extinction of the dinosaurs. Each subsequent chapter is a description of the progressive periods, including environment and typical fauna of the period being discussed. Those with a casual interest may find it too technical at times, particularly the descriptions of geologic evidence for interpreting the environment.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For college-level audiences and collections strong in science history., November 6, 2006
This review is from: After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Life of the Past) (Hardcover)
AFTER THE DINOSAURS: THE AGE OF MAMMALS finally takes the focus off the dinosaur and into the next era: an age where Earth was inhabited by an array of strange creatures, from huge hornless rhinos to an elephant-like hoofed mammal. Family trees of evolutionary species and discussions of evidence blends with an analysis of climate change and other environmental influences on the age of mammals for college-level audiences and collections strong in science history.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book..., January 30, 2008
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This review is from: After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Life of the Past) (Hardcover)
The book traces history of life after the dinosaurs, with focus on the changing climate and environments, showing life changed in the sea, in the air and on the land. Sea life seem to explain a lot about what was happening both in the waters and on dry land. The only reason I took a star was that the author, in order to keep the pages down to 316 had to smooth out a lot of the history, taking away the details that many people may wish to know, like how the animals lived, loved and died. But if you are looking for a general time line of life just after the death of the dinosaurs and ending in the 21st Century that traces the development of mammals, this is the book for you, new or used.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT a guide to prehistoric mammals, May 31, 2013
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This review is from: After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Life of the Past) (Hardcover)
I really wish I had read the reviews more closely before ordering this book. The description makes it sound like it's ABOUT prehistoric mammals, where really it's about climate change and geology and flora. There are just 5 color plates and the rest of the drawings are sketches from 1920's. I was really disappointed as this book tells you NOTHING about the animals themselves, rather just lists where and when they lived. It's an interesting book, but not what was expected by the description.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unleashing a great diversity, September 23, 2008
This review is from: After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Life of the Past) (Hardcover)
For life on the land, it was simply a resetting of the clock. A great rock arrived on Earth to precipitate - or complete - a massive extinction. Successfully dominating the planet for over 120 million years, the hordes of saurians were expunged. The sea-side plains and woodlands they had inhabited were now empty. Not entirely devoid of life, however, for sharp-eyed creatures who had been around as long as those dinosaurs peered out from hiding places, observing the emptiness. They quickly began to occupy it for themselves. In so doing, they founded an immense diversity of lineages, one of which ultimately led to ourselves.

Donald Prothero, who has contributed much to our knowledge of fossils, the scientific process and mammalian evolution, offers here a work of great scope. Tracking the changes in life over 65 million years is no small task, and he copes with the challenge well. In this work, he lists the forms of mammal life, some of the sea life along the shore and in the deep, and the environment shifts in general. Those environment shifts were great prompts to changes in life and he explains as much as is known about what caused the Earth to warm from the end of the Cretaceous through the Eocene when temperatures went into decline.

Although North America receives what seems an inordinate amount of attention, that is due to geophysical conditions here through the Cenozoic and to the rich fossil trove it has produced. That doesn't prevent the author from addressing the rest of the planet, which he does in extensive detail. The interaction of life between Europe, Asia and North America is nearly continuous during the period. Africa remained close, but detached, as was the case with South America for many millennia. Australia was increasingly isolated over time, while India was making a mad dash to link with Asia. All these geologic shifts had major repercussions on climate, as well as plant and animal life. It is those great interactions which form the underlying theme of this book. Climate change institutes other change, much of it severe and long-lasting. Prothero's message is clear, if subtly presented: human induced climate change is already underway, and we'd best prepare to learn to cope with the changes that will follow.

As with all Prothero's books, this one is richly illustrated. It presents informative photographs of working digs and museum specimens, artwork of skeletal reconstructions filled in with flesh and fur. There are explanatory diagrams showing the relationships of various fossil species and the significant changes occurring over time. There are some jarring images, such as the sabre-toothed cats, who at first glance seem unlikely to survive with the extended dentition they carried about. Yet, they persisted successfully for nearly two million years. Huge, flightless predatory birds inhabited South America instead of the sabre-toothed cats. Prothero's diagram [p. 225] of these creatures' size compared with a human, should give anybody watching a passing robin a bit of pause. Today those creatures are docile seed or insect eaters, but not long ago they would have been pleased to feast on you.

Finally, of course, Prothero must bring in the most ecologically successful species of them all. The hominids and their many precursor species in Africa. Throughout this segment, he explains how climate was a prompt for many of our accomplishments as a new species. He puts the rise of proto-humans in context with events and conditions over the rest of the planet. The Ice Ages is given detailed attention with what is known of the Neanderthal subspecies living through the early stages. In all this is an excellent book for anybody who cares to learn the background of our lineage and that of our mammalian cousins. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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22 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Big Disappointment, March 10, 2009
By 
M. Greene (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Life of the Past) (Hardcover)
This book claims to cover the evolution of mammals during the Cenozoic era. What it actually covers is changes in global climate over the past 65 million years. While that topic may be of interest to some, most purchasers of this book are probably looking for information about the larger mammals of the Cenozoic. There is precious little of that here.

Each chapter covers one period of the Cenozoic Era, beginning with an excruciatingly detailed description of the climate of the period and how it changed over time. If you enjoy reading long, loving descriptions of mollusks and sea urchins and how the climate affected them, you are in luck. If you're looking for descriptions of the larger mammals that populated the earth during the period, you will be disappointed. What you get is generally a list of ten or twelve of the more common mammals with virtually no description or discussion of their behavior. This could perhaps be forgiven if the illustrations were of high quality, but the artwork is a joke. None is original. Much of it consists of pencil sketches that could have been drawn by high school students. The rest is from various sources, some of which are more than fifty years old. The color plates were lifted from a 1950's issue of "Life" magazine.

If you're looking for a well-done book on Cenozoic mammals, get Agusti and Anton's "Mammoths, Sabertooths and Hominids. Anton's artwork is incomparable and the text is actually about Cenozoic mammals. Unfortunately, it only covers the mammals of Europe.

Having read the glowing reviews of this book by others, I can only conclude that they have not actually read the book or else they are friends and colleagues of the author who are trying to help him out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great detailed look at evolution after the dinosaurs, November 17, 2008
This review is from: After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Life of the Past) (Hardcover)
Not the easiest read but definately worth the effort if you have an interest in this subject matter. Theres no doubt that books that collate the broad spectrum of the information of this nature are hard to come by. So for me its a welcome publication although i'd like to see an improvements in the graphic design if any later editions are to be published..... Well done to the author
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5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the present the Holocene interglacial period!, January 1, 2014
This review is from: After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Life of the Past) (Hardcover)
The author seems to stress warm and cold ocean currents and the land massses sliding on the tectonic plates as the major long term influences on evolution,besides the rotation of the earth and its traveling through the galaxy. As I Iread the book iIbecame more confirmed and aware that we are actually living on a living being with possibly a personality as well,Mother Earth. Prothero also talks about global cooling and warming trends over the last couple hundred million years using his expertise on fossils and earth Geology.He seems to talk a lot about mussels and their evolution to bolster his theories.
Prothero's handling of the unique species of mammals that inhabited the earth is done in a readable and interesting way. I always wondered how the prehistoric plains animals of the North American Miocene Era became extinct and I believe I understand it tolerably. I had always heard that the rise of the Rocky mountains effected the rainfall patterns and climate of the midwest savannah causing a general cooling pattern. According to Prothero there was also a general cooling during the period, only a few degrees, from the sliding of the continent north in conjunction with some cold water ocean currents. These animals were sensitive to the climate changes as the Great Plains savannah dried up and the animals moved to other more opportune areas or simply became extinct over a period of a couple of million years. There are a lot of graphs and pictures to illustrate the author's points. He goes somewhat into the Great Meteor theory which deals with the extinction of the dinosaurs but downplays it somewhat using geologic core samples. He doesn't say the K/T extinction event never happened but according to my read he implies the event may be somewhat overemphasized and he explores other factors as well. His premise for the climactic changes involve hot and cold water currents and moving land masses.He sums up the book by taking a look at overpopulation and it's effects on global warming which could bring on another devastating Ice Age. According to Prothero we are presently in the Holocene Interglacial period which means thing could begin to cool off any day now! Things could happen real slow or real fast according to Prothero!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good but slow going for a layman, January 6, 2013
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This review is from: After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Life of the Past) (Hardcover)
First, I thought the book was very good with a couple of caveats that I mention below. While not a criticism, the book seems targeted to a very small audience - paleontologists and other biologists who aren't experts in the evolution of mammals. From the title you might expect a book kinder to the non-professional. You can get a lot from this book but it took real work for me to finish it. I had my laptop on most of the time while reading so that I could find the information I needed to understand fully the information. Knowing the living orders of mammals (extinct too is even better) is a huge help. I knew about half before starting the book. It is possible to figure out many of the orders just from the text, but you miss a lot I think. The book is very thorough and covers all the continents (except, I think, Antarctica) and the entire span of the Cenozoic (65 my). I especially liked the way that Prothero integrates plate tectonics, ocean currents, climate and paleoecology to explain the determinant factors in mammal evolution in the Cenozoic.
The only flaw in my opinion is the near absence of supplemental information that would have made it much easier to take full advantage of all the information in the book. In a book that strongly emphasizes the role of plate tectonics and land bridges in the evolution of mammals, there are only a very few maps. A short glossary and a list of the extinct and living orders of mammals would have been a big help to the lay reader. One aspect of the book I found a little odd was the scorn heaped on his fellow paleontologists who maintain that the K-T boundary event caused a catastrophic extinction of life on earth. Prothero believes the extent of the extinction event is greatly exaggerated. It is apparently still a very emotional debate for many paleontologists.
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After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Life of the Past)
After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Life of the Past) by Donald R. Prothero (Hardcover - June 22, 2006)
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