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9 Works 179 Members 6 Reviews

About the Author

Image credit: via American History of Natural History

Works by Ross D. E. MacPhee

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Common Knowledge

Birthdate
20th Century
Gender
male
Nationality
Canada

Members

Reviews

Fascinating book! I had no idea megafaunal extinctions present so many unanswered questions, I had assumed it was all down to humans overhunting.
 
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Autolycus21 | 5 other reviews | Oct 10, 2023 |
I enjoyed this.

Like, I suppose, so many people, I have been much more familiar with dinosaurs and their relatives than the larger extinct creatures of the more immediate past. I got a really child-like pleasure at Peter Schouten’s illustrations for this book. There is real wonder in looking at images of creatures I’d never dreamed of, like the ‘marsupial tapir’, Palorchestes azael, or herds of ‘macrauchenia’ (there are some great—and varied—online images of both).

We know what happened to these species (spoiler—they died out); but we don’t really know why. MacPhee doesn’t give us easy answers; but he does give us a good overview of the competing theories and their strengths and weaknesses. It turns out that things are nothing like as simple as I’d thought before reading this. Overhunting by humans? Climate change? Other factors? It’s really not at all clear.

This is a really good first introduction to the subject and had me looking covetously at his ‘Guide to Additional Reading’ and his bibliography.
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1 vote
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alaudacorax | 5 other reviews | Jun 9, 2021 |
Mostly dealing with the demise of the "megafauna" of the title in the Late Pleistocene, MacPhee's goal is to walk you through the arguments as to whether the disappearance of these creatures can mostly be attributed to raw climate change, or whether Paul S. Martin's hypothesis that Neolithic humans were sufficiently numerous and motivated to be the main agent of extinction of large mammals; particularly in North America. The conclusion that MacPhee comes to is neither of these two explanations are supported by enough evidence to really be embraced, at least as a general all-purpose explanation. While some readers will be annoyed at the lack of a definitive answer, MacPhee is to be praised for a look at how science actually works, and the value of restraint before jumping to conclusions.… (more)
 
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Shrike58 | 5 other reviews | Nov 5, 2020 |
This provides a good introduction and overview to the extinctions that occurred in the Cenozoic Era, focusing mainly on the megafaunal extinction at the end of the Pleistocene era. The author discusses the evidence (or lack thereof), the various hypotheses, and the opposing or contradictory evidence and opinions. Also discussed is the effect that early humans had on the megafauna and if human actions may be responsible for some of the extinctions. This is an interesting, well thought-out book that is lavishly illustrated and a joy to read.… (more)
 
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ElentarriLT | 5 other reviews | Mar 24, 2020 |

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Statistics

Works
9
Members
179
Popularity
#120,383
Rating
½ 3.6
Reviews
6
ISBNs
10
Languages
1

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