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Europe: A Natural History

av Tim Flannery

Andra författare: Luigi Boitani (Collaboration)

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2067132,260 (4.07)3
"100 million years ago, the continents of Asia, North America, and Africa interacted to create an island archipelago that would later become the Europe we know today. It was on these ancient tropical lands that the first distinctly European organisms evolved... Tim Flannery explores the monumental changes wrought by the devastating comet strike and shows how rapid atmospheric shifts transformed the European archipelago into a single landmass during the Eocene... As the story moves through millions of years of evolutionary history, Flannery eventually turns to our own species, describing the immense impact humans had on the continent's flora and fauna...The story continues right up to the present, as Flannery describes Europe's leading role in wildlife restoration, and then looks ahead to ponder the continent's future."--from publisher's description.… (mer)
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As a broad overview of the natural history of a continent, this book is excellent. I read a lot of books similar to this or books that touch on some aspect of the geology of Europe or palaeontological discoveries in Europe but I have learned only bits and pieces along the way.

My favorite parts are the early beginnings of Europe as an archipelago of islands that were off and on connected with each other or off and on connected with various bits of other land masses that later became continents. Did you know there were small-sized, island-living versions of many common dinosaurs? I did not know this and these discoveries were made many years ago.

I also liked Flannery's discussion of current efforts to re-wild parts of Europe and bring back some of the larger land mammals that are either threatened or are extinct on the continent. Again, much of this I was unaware of and I found it an interesting discussion of what is currently taking place.

My only quibble is that there are times that I feel some of Flannery's fluffing it up a little bit by being too one-sided in his opinions about various theories. I can't cite specific examples because I returned the book to the library and did not note the pages or the specific references...

Regardless of that, it is still a well-written book and I recommend to anyone who has an interest in natural history and the sciences. ( )
  DarrinLett | Aug 14, 2022 |
Easy and entertaining read and lots of interesting stuff. I hadn't heard the name for the european bison - wisent - before but I won't forget it now. I'm still struggling to grasp the different sweeps of time, with plate tectonics, ancient animal races, ice ages and recent history. I thought for a while that more and better timelines might help but I've seen lots of timelines before and it never seems to sink in so hopefully this narrative will leave a more lasting trace. And I love the suggestion we might rewild Europe not just with bears and wolves, but with wisent, lions and forest elephant. We have beavers coming to a wildlife trust enclosure in Derbyshire this year - perhaps only the start! ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
The first chapters seemed very long, and I eventually skimmed and skipped several, only reading properly once humans came on the scene. I rather wish I had also skipped the final chapter. The chapters describing how humans and other animals interacted in Europe were quite interesting. ( )
1 rösta MarthaJeanne | Sep 12, 2019 |
Simply brilliant! A masterful saga told by one of Australia's greatest authors of natural history. ( )
  Faradaydon | Feb 13, 2019 |
I was so excited to read this. A natural history of Europe! Also that cover, it's gorgeous!

And then I received a digital ARC. Please note: this means no maps (a couple were mentioned to come), no images, even the endnote links did not work in my galley. There were still some significant typos in the text. These things definitely affected my view of this book, but not as much as the text itself did. This book is all over the place, and this review was very difficult to write.

I was expecting a natural history of Europe. Sure, that's a tall order. I was expecting something like [book:A Natural History of California|452897] (an amazing book for those interested). Flannery's book is nothing like that. I would argue it's not natural history at all. It's...ecological history? Not exactly. It's more of paleontology up to the present time, heavy on the fauna (especially on mammals--especially homo and herbivores) and light on the flora. Only the a few chapters near the end cover the 20th/21st centuries. The 18th and 19th are nearly entirely skipped over. He even extrapolates into the future.

So what is this book? Many chapters are simply lists, in descriptive paragraph form, of animals (largely mammals) alive in Europe during different epochs. It's paleontology, which is no small surprise since Flannery is a paleontologist. A paleontologist who likes animals, especially mammals, and even more so herbivores.

And way too much of this book implies that Europe is somehow...exceptional? He includes Begun's recent theory that homo evolved our most human traits in Europe, not Africa (ch 17). That the Vikings and Columbus "discovered" (ch 38). He is interested in re-introducing long-extirpated (and even extinct) species back into Europe (ch 28, ch 44). And even though this is "a natural history of Europe" he still discusses North American woolly mammoths and Pacific rats, among many other non-European things and places that have little to do with his topic.

Much of this book made me uncomfortable, the rest was just dull. What this book really reads like is a survey class on the paleontology of Europe. That explains the inconsistencies in writing style and topics; the controversial statements and strange facts (why is the Pacific rat so important? why do we hear about the Signor-Lipps theory so often?); the imagined genetically engineered future (which is not natural history or paleontology!); the odd attempts at humor that aren't funny but do sound like a professor talking to a large class or a speaker presenting to an interested group of laypeople. 3 classes per week, 1 semester is 15 weeks = 45 lectures. This book has 44 chapters.
————
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
( )
  Dreesie | Feb 5, 2019 |
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» Lägg till fler författare

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Tim Flanneryprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Boitani, LuigiCollaborationmedförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Allain, RonanFörordmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Bénéteau, AlainIllustratörmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Lem, SophieÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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À Colin Groves et Ken Aplin,
collègues d’une vie et héros de la zoologie.
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PRÉFACE
(Ronan Allain)

La variété de tailles, de formes et d’adaptations observée chez les dinosaures n’a pas vraiment d’égal dans le monde vivant. Peut-être parce que, paléontologue, je les côtoie au quotidien, ils me paraissent pour autant beaucoup moins étranges qu’un animal qu’on croirait sorti tout droit de l’imagination d’un savant fou : l’ornithorynque. [...]
INTRODUCTION

L’histoire naturelle s’intéresse à la fois à la nature et aux hommes. [...]
I

L’ARCHIPEL TROPICAL
100-34 millions d’années avant notre ère

CHAPITRE 1
Destination Europe

Lorsque vous pilotez une machine à explorer le temps, la première chose à faire est de définir deux variables : le temps et l’espace. [...]
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"100 million years ago, the continents of Asia, North America, and Africa interacted to create an island archipelago that would later become the Europe we know today. It was on these ancient tropical lands that the first distinctly European organisms evolved... Tim Flannery explores the monumental changes wrought by the devastating comet strike and shows how rapid atmospheric shifts transformed the European archipelago into a single landmass during the Eocene... As the story moves through millions of years of evolutionary history, Flannery eventually turns to our own species, describing the immense impact humans had on the continent's flora and fauna...The story continues right up to the present, as Flannery describes Europe's leading role in wildlife restoration, and then looks ahead to ponder the continent's future."--from publisher's description.

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