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Comment: This book is in great condition, and appears never to have been read. It has slightly bent corners, but otherwise its cover is bright and clean, and its binding is tight. The pages are crisp, unmarked and clean. In short, this is a brand-new copy with slight traces of shelfwear.
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The Big Cats and Their Fossil Relatives Paperback – June 15, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (June 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231102291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231102292
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Here's a book for cat lovers, but those who prefer good hard science to the warm and fuzzy feline tomes. While very readable, not to mention beautifully and lavishly illustrated, The Big Cats and Their Fossil Relatives is a serious and intelligent look at how today's lions, tigers, and other cat species are linked to their ancient and extinct ancestors. The way cats have evolved over 25 million years, and the descriptions of feline behavior, both ancient and present, will intrigue animal lovers in general, and not just cat people. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Paleontologist Turner and scientific illustrator Anton provide a unique and eye-catching account of living and extinct big cats. Following the introduction discussing their evolution, Turner offers detailed descriptions and differentiation of individual species. A close look at anatomy and its expression in the behavior of living big cats is used to make inferences about functions and behaviors in extinct species. Finally, Turner sets the evolutionary history of the big cats in a global context, discussing factors influencing their evolution and extinction. Although the author does not footnote his information, he does provide a lengthy list of sources for further reading in each chapter. The excellent illustrations illuminate and expand on many of Turner's points. The book remains fairly technical, especially regarding taxonomy and anatomy. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.?Jeanne Davidson, Oregon State Univ. Lib., Corvallis
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 31 customer reviews
The text is very informative and easy reading.
Paul Vecsei
Its wonderfully illustrated with very detailed pencil drawings of skulls, skeletons, musculature, and 'life reconstructions' of exctinct big cats.
J. Robinson
Just remember it is a fairly technical book so if you are looking for a easy to read book on cats I would advise looking elsewhere.
whereswolf

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Zoological Engineer on December 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
My 12 year old son, who is fascinated by the large cats, saw this book in a bookstore and wanted it. I waited for a year or so before I bought it because it IS college level reading. We thoroughly enjoyed it. There are great drawings of fossil skeletons & extant animal skeletons. Once you have waded past the first 2 chapters and their latin terms are familiar, the rest was terrific. The authors do a fine job of telling the reader what a scholar is looking for in understanding an organism's capabilities and how to see in a living mammal the same capabilities expressed. The bio-mechanics are explained non-mathematically. The extinct species are discussed in terms of their relationship to the probable biosphere in which they lived. The book could use some more graphics to illustrate the "family-tree" of the large cats and where & when they lived in terms of geography, likely environment, & timeline. This material is in the text and in some graphics, but because we all have been sensitized by the great graphics in "National Geographic" & on TV we expect them to be in all books. I am an engineer and found this a fascinating journey into another arena of scholarship, without it being overwhelming.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Atheen M. Wilson on March 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Big Cats by Alan Turner is a very thorough discussion of the cat family, past and present. It also sports illustrator Mauricio Anton's splendid sketches and paintings of various members of the family. Those of extinct cats bring them to life in a way that the usual drawings of the skull and skeletal remains cannot. There is a thorough discussion of taxonomy in general and of classification of cats in particular. Unfortunately while the drawings are wonderful and the information dense, the book is not light reading. It might be useful to the professional paleontologist or zooarchaeologist looking for a good overview of cat remains or possibly appeal to the dedicated cat lover, but I can't imagine settling in by the fire on a quiet evening with the book. Its most appropriate place might be in a school library for reference use by students doing classroom projects on cats, paleontology, biology, ecology, etc.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By The Sanity Inspector on September 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In
the current dino-mania, fossil mammals are overshadowed. Too bad;
there are many curious and wonderful creatures in the mammalian
lineage. Yet, few well-illustrated popular books on the subject
exist. Bjorn Kurten's _Before the Indians_ had blurry charcoal
drawings. The late George Gaylord Simpson was an authority on
prehistoric South American mammals, but little more than a doodler
with a brush. And Colin Tudge's wonderful _The Time Before History_
had no pictures at all.
So this book is most welcome. Mauricio
Anton is a gifted artist. Cats and catlike creatures such as
nimravids, homotheriums, saber-tooths, dirk-tooths, all seem to live
again in these color and b/w pictures. The only beastie which is
unconvincingly rendered is the poorly-known _Thylacoleo_, the
marsupial lion.
Through the reproductions and discussions of these
and other animals, one gets a lesson in how different animals adopt
similar body plans, based on their ecological niche. Large top
predators are robust, while middle niche hunters are more
gracile. Thus, we are told, _Thylacoleo_, the largest nimravids, and
the largest saber-tooths resemble lions, while smaller predators
resemble cheetahs and leopards. All in all, a must for big cat- and
paleontology- lovers, the latter who may be getting tired of
dinosaurs!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By BS on June 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I never expected the book would be such an impressive accumulation of information and pictures. Everything about this book was done with such detail that nothing I've see so far compares to it. The pictures depict not just the details of each prehistoric cat (and the marsupial convergent evolution 'versions') but presents them in scale to the present and extinct cats to give us an clear idea of the size of these animals. Both author and artist have to do a sequel now that a new sabertooth species was just found in Florida.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul Vecsei on February 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
I strongly recommend this book for any student of mammology or paleontology.The text is very informative and easy reading. The illustrations are so good and elaborate that I suggest art students working in pencil buy this volume. Unlike some books showing only static lateral views, the illustrator has shown these creatures going about their daily lives. Hunting methods are dealt with in great detail.
For book collectors looking for something different, this is it! For biology students and profs, what are you waiting for!??
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Robinson on November 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a great book on the evolution of the big cats, in fact I think its probably the only book outside of research journals or more technical material. Its wonderfully illustrated with very detailed pencil drawings of skulls, skeletons, musculature, and 'life reconstructions' of exctinct big cats. Also includes color plates with scenes depicting the cats and their habitats. The text is well organized and accesible to the informed layperson and is detailed enough to satisfy those with a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

The illustrations really makes the book stand out: they are detailed and well drawn, and really bring the subject matter to life, as if you were able to examine the museum collection yourself, and then go on a prehistoric safari. An excellent choice for those interested in cat biology, natural history, or paleontology.
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