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Viser: Here Be Dragons - How the Study of Animal and Plant Distributions Revolutionized Our Views of Life and Earth

Here Be Dragons - How the Study of Animal and Plant Distributions Revolutionized Our Views of Life and Earth

Here Be Dragons

How the Study of Animal and Plant Distributions Revolutionized Our Views of Life and Earth
Dennis McCarthy
(2011)
Sprog: Engelsk
Oxford University Press
99,00 kr.
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Detaljer Om Varen

  • Paperback: 240 sider
  • Udgiver: Oxford University Press (Juni 2011)
  • ISBN: 9780199595662
Why do we find polar bears only in the Arctic and penguins only in the Antarctic? Why do oceanic islands often have many types of birds but no large native mammals? As Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace travelled across distant lands studying the wildlife they both noticed that the distribution of plants and animals formed striking patterns - patterns that held strong clues to the past of the planet. The study of the spatial distribution of living things is known as biogeography. It is a field that could be said to have begun with Darwin and Wallace. In this lively book, Denis McCarthy tells the story of biogeography, from the 19th century to its growth into a major field of interdisciplinaryresearch in the present day. It is a story that encompasses two great, insightful theories that were to provide the explanations to the strange patterns of life across the world - evolution, and plate tectonics. We find animals and plants where we do because, over time, the continents have moved, separating and coalescing in a long, slow dance; because sea levels have risen, cutting off one bit of land from another, and fallen, creating land bridges; because new and barren volcanic islands have risen upfrom the sea; and because animals and plants vary greatly in their ability to travel, and separation has caused the formation of new species. The story of biogeography is the story of how life has responded and has in turn altered the ever changing Earth. It is a narrative that includes manyfascinating tales - of pygmy mammoths and elephant birds; of changing landscapes; of radical ideas by bold young scientists first dismissed and later, with vastly growing evidence, widely accepted. The story is not yet done: there are still questions to be answered and biogeography is a lively areaof research and debate. But our view of the planet has been changed profoundly by biogeography and its related fields: the emerging understanding is of a deeply interconnected system in which life and physical forces interact dynamically in space and time.
Preface
That Grand Subject1. Galapagan Epiphany2. The Mesosarus Problem3. Pygmy Mammoths and Mysterious Islands4. The Volcanic Ring That Changed the World5. The Bloody Fall of South America and the Last of the Jurassic Beak-Headed Reptiles6. Enchanted Waters7. The Battle Over Eden8. The Mysteries That Remain9. The Grand Coalescence of Life and EarthEndnotesBibliography
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