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A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's…

A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals (original 2001; edition 2001)

by Tim Flannery, Peter Schouten (Illustrator)

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163473,133 (4.29)1
Title:A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals
Authors:Tim Flannery
Other authors:Peter Schouten (Illustrator)
Info:Atlantic Monthly Press (2001), Hardcover, 192 pages
Collections:Your library, Science, Zoology
Tags:animals, extinct animals, zoology, biology, extinction, wildlife, nature

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A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals by Tim Flannery (Author) (2001)



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Another heart breaking tribute to the amazing wildlife we have lost. A sobering read, with glorious illustrations. ( )
  LemurKat | Sep 12, 2013 |
One of the most beautiful yet incredibly sad books I've ever read. Beautiful because the paintings that adorn this book are simply breathtaking. Sad because these paintings are the only way that anyone will ever see these wonderul animals ever again. Particularly heartwrenching are the stories of the small, unnoticed creatures that lived their lives quietly and unobtrusively, and just as quietly and unobtrusively,almost apologetically, slipped out of existence with hardly anyone realising they were there in the first place. This book will smack you in the solar plexus with the absolute finality of extinction at the same time it will seduce your eyes with the beauty of these creatures now lost forever. The title of this book is absolutely apt - the loss of any creature really does leave a gap in nature than can never be filled, and this book brings that fact home with numbing power. ( )
  drmaf | Aug 27, 2013 |
A marvelous book about recent extinctions with terrific art- a must have for anyone interested in historical extinctions. ( )
  JNSelko | Jun 14, 2008 |
There is an apocryphal story about frogs and boiling water: Put a frog into a pan of boiling water, it will jump right out. But put a frog into a pan of cool water, and slowly heat it up, the frog will just sit there, until it slowly cooks itself. It is a cautionary fable about the way human beings condition themselves to unlivable circumstances.

The defining line between how good things were, and how bad things are is rarely distinct. It is a slow encroachment on the quality of life- a wooded lot makes way for housing. A neighborhood street gets an extra lane. A few less birds visit the backyard feeder. When they stop coming altogether, it is too late.

It might be a surprise to learn that many of the birds I can see out my kitchen window on a sunny afternoon are considered to be endangered or of special concern according to the North Carolina Natural Heritage Project. The relative rarity of eastern bluebirds and red-headed woodpeckers are signs that the water is heating up in this particular pot. The painted bunting, a small, bird so brilliantly colored it looks as if it should be stamped “made in Taiwan”, is considered endangered in this state, and of special concern on the national level because its population levels have been persistently declining. Even the brown pelican is losing ground- literally- as its habitat is overtaken by the inexorable development of coastal areas.

If there is a line here that shouldn’t be crossed, author Tim Flannery and artist Peter Schouten have found it in their new book; A Gap in Nature. This is a beautifully illustrated guide with pages of meticulous watercolors that would have made John Audubon proud. But this is no ordinary animal field guide: The full title is A Gap in Nature- Discovering the World’s Extinct Animal Species. In other words, the only chance to see any of these marvelous creatures is sitting dusty and stuffed on some obscure museum shelf.

Normally, the word “extinct” conjures up visions of toothy dinosaurs (which, let us admit, we are secretly relieved were long gone before we came on the scene). But A Gap in Nature doesn’t have pictures of dinosaurs- this is a guide to animals that have all disappeared from this planet within the last two hundred years, largely as a result of human interaction. Some vanished in the early 1800’s, others, like the Atitlan Grebe, were last reported in 1989. People living in parts of Guatemala must have seen it disappear.

The book represents a remarkable collaborative effort between author Tim Flannery and artist Peter Schouten, who traveled the world in search of documented extinct species. Pictures of each animal are scientifically accurate, based on carefully examined museum specimens, old journal accounts, photographs and drawings. Flannery says that Schouten’s original paintings were all done life-size, which must have been a little awesome when it came to portraying the eight-foot- long Stellar’s Sea Cow. By making the originals true-to-what-was-once-life, the authors ensured that the reproductions in the book were nothing short of exquisite. The result is a deceptively beautiful volume, a pleasure to look through if the record of each species weren’t so tragic.

Extinction is the ultimate fate of every species, a fact that many use to justify the way humans plunder their natural resources. It is only by frantically claiming their value to humanity that conservationists are able to make any real headway in preserving the existence of the rare and endangered plants and animals. The brown pelicans perched on what remains an old dock probably aren’t carrying the cure for cancer in their pouches. It is a little hard to quantify how much they may add to the property value of the houses along the creek. But wouldn’t you rather have them there than not? They, the bluebirds, and even the rattlesnakes are part of what makes this place uniquely this place- home. It is sobering to think that they could be in the next edition of A Gap in Nature. Extinction is forever.
  southernbooklady | Feb 5, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Flannery, TimAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schouten, PeterIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bijtel, Herman J. V. van denTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In an account of a 1598 Dutch voyage to the Mascarene Islands is a crude drawing titled 'the destruction of the dodos.'
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0871137976, Hardcover)

Since humans first wandered from their original habitat in Africa, over fifty millennia ago, they have radically altered the environment wherever they have gone, often at the cost of the animals who'd ruled the wild before mankind's arrival. Humanity's spread throughout the globe has begotten what paleontologist Richard Leakey has termed the "sixth age of extinction" -- the most deadly epoch the planet's fauna have seen since the demise of the dinosaurs. And in the last five hundred years, since the dawn of the age of exploration, this rate of extinction has accelerated ever more rapidly. In A Gap in Nature, scientist and historian Tim Flannery, in collaboration with internationally acclaimed wildlife artist Peter Schouten, catalogs 104 creatures that have vanished from the face of the earth since 1492. From the tiny Carolina parakeet to the majestic Steller's sea cow, which was over twenty-five feet long and weighed ten tons, all of these animals have become extinct as a direct result of the European expansion into every corner of the globe. Flannery evocatively tells the story of each animal: how it lived and how it succumbed to its terrible destiny. Accompanying each account is a beautiful color representation (life-size in the original painting) by Schouten, who has devoted years of his life to this extraordinary project. Animals from every continent are represented -- American passenger pigeons, Tasmanian wolves, and African blaauwboks -- in this homage to a lost Eden. This extraordinary book is at once a lament for the lost animals of the world and an ark to house them forever in human memory.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:58 -0400)

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"Since humanity first wandered from its African birthplace over fifty millennia ago, it has radically altered the environment everywhere it has settled, often at the cost of the creatures that ruled the wild before its arrival. As our prehistoric ancestors spread throughout the globe, they began the most deadly epoch the planet's fauna have experienced since the demise of the dinosaurs. And following the dawn of the age of exploration five hundred years ago, the rate of extinction has accelerated ever more rapidly." "In A Gap in Nature, scientist and historian Tim Flannery, in collaboration with internationally acclaimed wildlife artist Peter Schouten, catalogues 103 creatures that have vanished from the face of the earth since Columbus first set foot in the New World. From the colorful Carolina parakeet to the gigantic Steller's sea cow, Flannery evocatively tells the story of each animal and its habitat, how it lived and how it succumbed to its terrible destiny. Accompanying every entry is a beautifully rendered color representation by Schouten, who has devoted years of his life to this project. His portraits - life size in their original form - are exquisitely reproduced in this extraordinary book and include animals from every continent: American passenger pigeons, Tasmanian thylacines, Mauritian dodos, African bluebucks, and dozens more."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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