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The last giant of Beringia : the mystery of the Bering Land Bridge (edition 2004)

by Dan O'Neill

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Member:Booknute
Title:The last giant of Beringia : the mystery of the Bering Land Bridge
Authors:Dan O'Neill
Info:Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, c2004.
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The Last Giant of Beringia: The Mystery of the Bering Land Bridge by Dan O'Neill

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Follows the life of David Hopkins, a geologist, whose curiosity and leadership resulted in a large, collaborative effort among scientists from many disciplines to propose, debate and discuss the Bering Land Bridge. The book presents the story of the land bridge as a mystery, revealing different lines of investigation, facts, and controversy regarding the natural history of the area between western Alaska and Siberia, which is thought to have played a major roll in human, animal and plant migration through geologic history. The story includes other key figures who contributed to the effort, and also shows some of the workings of the scientific institutions as the debate about the land bridge unfolds. Well written, includes maps and pictures of people and places where discoveries were made. ( )
  tgeorge2348 | Jun 9, 2009 |
Interesting story of an Interesting Life. ( )
  JNSelko | Jun 13, 2008 |
(#47 in the 2007 book challenge)

This worked out well for a bargain bin purchase. It's like a tribute to Dave Hopkins, the scientist who figured out how the land bridge thing worked. All the science parts are clear and interesting for non-science people like myself, and I learned all sorts of cool things about Alaska. For instance, I never knew that the land bridge was something that would come and go at various times, I guess I had the impression that it was a one-time thing. The whole lack of megafauna (in modern times, that is) is depressing to me, though. It's so unfair! I mean unfair to me, personally. I would be so excited about a mammoth, it's so dismal that I will never see one.

Grade: B+, this was very good, although I suspect people who already know a lot about geology and um, the history of weather, or whatever you would have to know about to know about the ice ages, would find it too basic.

Recommended: To armchair naturalists, it reads a lot like a very long article in Smithsonian Magazine, and to people who like mammoths. I also happened to read it while that Into the Wild movie was being talked about a lot, and so I noted that Last Giant would be a good choice if you wanted to read a book about someone who went into the wilds of Alaska and actually did something useful.
  delphica | Dec 20, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0813341973, Hardcover)

The intriguing theory of a land bridge periodically linking Siberia and Alaska during the coldest pulsations of the Ice Ages had been much debated since José de Acosta, a Spanish missionary working in Mexico and Peru, first proposed the idea of a connection between the continents in 1589. But proof of the land bridge - now named Beringia after eighteenth-century Danish explorer Vitus Bering - eluded scientists until an inquiring geologist named Dave Hopkins emerged from rural New England and set himself to the task of solving the mystery. Through the life story of Hopkins, The Last Giant of Beringia reveals the fascinating science detective story that at last confirmed the existence of the land bridge that served as the intercontinental migration route for such massive Ice Age beasts as woolly mammoths, steppe bison, giant stag-moose, dire wolves, short-faced bears, and saber-toothed cats - and for the first humans to enter the New World from Asia. After proving unambiguously that the land bridge existed, Hopkins went on to show that the Beringian landscape cannot have been the "polar desert" that many had claimed, but provided forage enough to sustain a diverse menagerie of Ice Age behemoths.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:58 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The intriguing theory of a land bridge periodically linking Siberia and Alaska during the coldest pulsations of the Ice Ages had been much debated since Jose de Acosta, a Spanish missionary working in Mexico and Peru, first proposed the idea of a connection between the continents in 1590. But proof of the land bridge -- now named Beringia, after eighteenth-century Danish explorer Vitus Bering -- eluded scientists until an inquiring geologist named Dave Hopkins emerged from rural New England and set himself to the task of solving the mystery. Through the life story of Hopkins, The Last Giant of Beringia reveals the fascinating science detective story that at last confirmed the existence of the land bridge that served as the intercontinental migration route for such massive Ice Age beasts as woolly mammoths, steppe bison, giant stag-moose, dire wolves, short-faced bears, and saber-toothed cats -- and for the first humans to enter the New World from Asia. After proving unambiguously that the land bridge existed, Hopkins then conclusively demonstrated that the Beringian landscape cannot have been the "polar desert" that many had claimed, but provided forage enough to sustain a diverse menagerie of Ice Age behemoths.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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