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After Man: A Zoology of the Future 1st Edition

55 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0312194338
ISBN-10: 0312194331
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Editorial Reviews


"Uncannily believable. Dixon's invented animals, some of them beautiful enough to live, engender reflection about the mysterious forces at work beneath the skin of real animals." --The New York Times Book Review

"A fascinating, elegant fantasy." --Boston Globe

"After Man is grand fun and marvelously imaginative." --The Los Angeles Times Book Review

"[Dixon's] brief explanation of the principles of evolution is so lucid, and the detailed illustrations of futuristic beasts are so charming, that After Man is bound to captivate readers of all ages." --Chicago Sun-Times

"An extraordinary book! There are wonders on every page. After Man is an extrapolative tour de force." --Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine

"Stunning in execution and implication, this will be a decided treat for futurist biology student or enthusiast, science fiction fan and general reader." --Booklist

About the Author

Dougal Dixon studied geology and paleontology at the University of St. Andrews, where he continued as a research student to revise the standard work on the palaeogeography of the British Isles. In recent years he has worked in publishing and has contributed numerous articles about earth science and evolution to encyclopedias and popular science books.

Model making and the creation of animated films occupy much of his spare time.

The idea of writing about evolution looking forwards rather than backwards was not a sudden inspiration but has been evolving in the author's mind ever since his college days.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 124 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (September 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312194331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312194338
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.4 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #777,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Michael Valdivielso on March 14, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What would happen if mankind disappeared and the animals of Earth went back to following the rules of evolution? This book will show you. Each part of the book deals with another region of the Earth; deserts, glasslands, polar regions and so on. See meat-eating predators evolved from rats and bats, large grazers and browsers developed from fast breeding rabbits and the sea going creatures descended from penguins.
Like the book 'Man After Man', the book starts off with science chapters that in this case do their best to explain evolution, the food chain and the history of life on Earth.
Unlike 'Man After Man' it is not set up like a story, but a true non-fiction text book, like one you might have in a class room or while out camping. It also has maps and gives you information on the environments and what changes have happened to the Earth during the 50 million years. With just over 120 pages and full of color pictures, I wish there had been more! 'Man After Man' felt longer because it had more text and less pictures.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on November 20, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"After Man" is one of the most engaging, creative books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. While one might think from its outlandish illustrations that it is a book for children, this is simply not the case. That's not to say a ten or eleven year old wouldn't enjoy this book, but there's plenty an adult can take away from it as well.
Beginning with a basic review of the principles of biology and evolution, Dixon proceeds to apply them across a range of environments on an Earth 50 million years removed from mankind. The result is a menagerie of remarkable creatures. Remarkable in that they are frequently unique, even bizarre, but even more remarkable because they represent the result of a familiar creature's evolution. Dixon's world isn't a fantasyland, every creature in it holds true to the principles he so effectively explains in the first chapter. Moreover, they all fill an important ecological niche; he hasn't created 150 pages of carnivores. Rather, he presents a balanced, albeit limited, ecosystem that sheds light on the state of our own environment today.
Beautifully illustrated and highly engaging, "After Man" is a must read for anyone interested in evolution and anthropology. Furthermore, this book is educational without being heavy handed. One by no means needs to be an expert to learn from and enjoy this very unique work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Yesterdaisy on January 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
This Dougal Dixon guy knows his stuff. I really enjoyed this book because the creatures in it could easily evolve alongside the ones from "The Future is Wild." Sure, they may look like Pokemon, but there'd be no reason or method for most Pokemon to actually evolve. These creatures actually *could* very well exist one day, if the Earth changes the way science predicts it will. There really isn't much to say except: 1) Good pictures, lousy cursive captions. They're tiny and hard to read. 2) IT'S A GOOD BOOK! You should read it.

Now, to comment on some of the animals depicted within its pages.
---In the future, I might want to get reincarnated as a Rabbuck. These tall giraffe/deer/rabbit cross-looking things are cool, especially the Arctic one, which looks like some kind of llama mixed with a sheepdog and an Afghan hound.
---The Falanx is a brutal predator with the legs of a hound dog and the body of a very large weasel.
---The reedstilt, seen on the cover, is one fantastically imagined animal: using its thin legs to stand in the water and fish, it catches prey by pretending its legs are simply reeds. An interesting body with many extra neck vertebrae make this one of my favorites in the book.
---Hornheads are moose/mammoth looking creatures with large bony growths on their heads.
---The pamthret looks like a pine marten or some other creature from that family, mixed with a lion.
---The chiselhead is a bizarre squirrel with enormous teeth and jaws.
The Truteal is an extremely cute little teal thing. A blind, nocturnal animal might not sound too adorable, but it is.

---My favorite animal in "After Man" is the Shurrack, which strikes me as a cheetah crossed with a Scottish Deerhound.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jedidiah Carosaari VINE VOICE on June 9, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been sharing this book with my biology students as something to read when they're done with tests. It is an excellent tool for grasping the foundations of evolution. Dixon overviews the basics of evolutionary theory in clear and precise language at the beginning, and then provides amazingly beautiful (and in some cases, nightmarish) illustrations of what the future might hold for us. Or rather, not for us, since he posits that our species dies out, which is admittedly a little depressing. Similarly to Vonnegut's Galapagos, Dixon hypothesizes that a large brain might not actually be an evolutionary advantage, but rather a disadvantage. Through the disappearance of humanity he shows how our destruction of the environment is causing wholesale destruction of countless species, and causing damage to our own. It is only when our species disappears, and the earth has 50 million years to recover, that evolution can continue again.

I love the drawings, particular of naked Sandsharks that look like something from the spice worms of Dune, Striger cats that have prehensile tails and grasping paws, Predator Rats, Swimming Monkeys, the penguin become 12 meter whale-like plankton-eating Vortex, Slobbers who catch insects with their slobber, and look like a marsupial bundle of moss, and bipedal walking screaming 1.5m tall bats, the Night Stalkers. Some of these ideas may sound outlandish- a good number of them certainly are. But the best part is Dixon gives solid evolutionary theory for how each would evolve, dictated by a changing environment and the raw material of previous genetic code. So we get classic island giganticism and the freedom of evolution on islands.
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