This is a well researched, well written work packed with all kinds of both interesting and fascinating information, besides which it is packed with helpful illustrations, diagrams and maps. There's also a 'further information' section and a comprehensive index. Although only mammoths are mentioned in the title, it actually contains a great deal of information about the evolution of elephants and their relations with all kinds of details about fossil finds and their relationships to modern elephants. However, although it mentions the relationship between dugongs, manatees and elephants, it fails to mention hyraxes, which are also known, through their anatomy, to have stemmed from the same evolutionary source as elephants, besides which the reader could have been told that, although the various species of hyrax are all small mammals, they all have long gestation periods of around six months suggesting relationship to larger mammals such as elephants, but this relative information is not included.
The book has five chapters: 1: Mammoths and Elephants. 2. Tusks and Trunks. 3. The World of the Ice Age. 4. Frozen and Living. 5 Endangered and Extinct. The reader is shown how there is an uncanny resemblance between the way in which mammoths eventually reached extinction and the way in which the current world elephant population is in decline. Worse still, although humans were much less responsible than climate change for the mammoth's extinction, they are the main cause for the decline in modern elephant numbers.
The reader is shown how tusks and trunks evolved and reasons are given for why they did so. There are also lots of interesting facts concerning elephant teeth. Elephants are among the top five most intelligent animals along with dolphins, the great apes and humans. Mammoth intelligence was probably on a par with modern elephant intelligence. There's detailed illustrated information about an almost perfectly preserved body of a month old female baby mammoth, known as Lyuba, who was quite recently discovered in the Siberian ice. The reader is also well informed about other now extinct mammals that shared the Ice Age world with the woolly mammoth. There's also a great deal about mastodons who are not as closely related to existing elephants as are mammoths.
This is a very useful and readable work aimed at the general reader and which older children will enjoy. It's also reasonably priced. The author, Adrian Lister, is to be congratulated for turning out such a helpful and enjoyable read.
on 3 June 2014
This book was published to coincide with an exhibition of the same name held at the Natural History Museum.
The book discusses various types of megafauna eg. mastadons,wooly and Columbian mammoths and others their behaviour,environment,evolution and how and why they died out.
Latest DNA evidence is discussed
Very well written and researched with excellent pictures,illustrations and diagrams.
There vis a small section on further reading.
A first class book well up to the museums standards.
on 27 June 2014
Well illustrated book that offers far more information than can be delivered in the Natural History Museum exhibition and although linked to the 2014 exhibition in South Kensington, this book is a stand-alone text and will provide popular coverage of the subject long after the exhibition has closed.
Although it does not detract from the book or it's content, please be aware that Amazon's description (June 2014) of this book as a hardback is incorrect - it has a soft cover.
on 5 June 2014
Written by a leading authority on the subject this is an ideal guide to the exhibition but is also a fascinating text in its own right. It contains many excellent illustrations, is easy to read, and tells the general reader everything he can reasonably want to know. In addition, it is very reasonably priced.