Neptune’s Ark: From Ichthyosaurs to Orcas

Neptune s Ark From Ichthyosaurs to Orcas Neptune s Ark illuminates the dramatic saga of evolution spanning million years of marine life along the magnificent Pacific coast of western North America In an engaging narrative that artfully b

  • Title: Neptune’s Ark: From Ichthyosaurs to Orcas
  • Author: David Rains Wallace
  • ISBN: 9780520243224
  • Page: 289
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Neptune s Ark illuminates the dramatic saga of evolution spanning 500 million years of marine life along the magnificent Pacific coast of western North America In an engaging narrative that artfully blends elements of science, history, folklore, and personal observation, renowned naturalist David Rains Wallace reveals a marvelous diversity of creatures, not only modern onNeptune s Ark illuminates the dramatic saga of evolution spanning 500 million years of marine life along the magnificent Pacific coast of western North America In an engaging narrative that artfully blends elements of science, history, folklore, and personal observation, renowned naturalist David Rains Wallace reveals a marvelous diversity of creatures, not only modern ones, but those from the far prehistoric past Mysterious forms have abounded from giant sea cows, oyster bears, and flightless toothed birds to the orcas, elephant seals, and sea otters of modern times Wallace tells a story about evolution as well as a tale of the storms, scurvy, and shipwrecks that plagued the coast s explorers, naturalists, and scientists, many of whom led turbulent or tragic lives, with themes reflected in the wonder and danger of the coast itself Neptune s Ark is full of vivid characters from explorers like Sir Francis Drake and Captain James Cook, to pioneer naturalists including Georg Steller and Charles Scammon, to early paleontologists Othniel Marsh and Edward Cope, and to recent scientists and ecological visionaries.

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    1 thought on “Neptune’s Ark: From Ichthyosaurs to Orcas”

    1. A wonderful overview of all non-piscine vertebrate dwellers, with particularly good coverage of the mammalian members of that tribe. And the art- the art is spectacular. Highest recommendation if the subject is of interest to you.

    2. Neptune's Ark from the author David Rains Wallace is an amazing book. It is a factual book, telling the story of many mythical creatures and people from the past. Some are weird, like Aqua Ape, and some are cool, like the Sea Bear. We had faulty results, stolen bones and stuff like that. I liked how informational it was and how it told a story, not just the statistics. It had a lot of positive quotes, such as "Fantastical Engages the reader in a voyage of discovery" said Booklist, and "David Wal [...]

    3. Do you like fossils? Do you like sea creatures? Then perhaps you will like Neptune's Ark.The book is basically a paleontological history of the Pacific Coast of North America. It focuses on Washington, Oregon and California with little forays into other geological areas.Although the information is interesting, I found it to be a slower read. It is filled with jargon and I don't have a good grasp on geologic time periods. I would have loved to read the book with a chart in front of me.Another cat [...]

    4. This book begins and ends with visions and beautiful, heartfelt language but as the author traces some of what we know about the evolution of marine life, there are passages clogged with jargon. For example: "eodonts were a separate, primitive group that vanished in the Miocene epoch. In some ways, they resembled mesonychids, the early, flesh-eating ungulates and putative whale ancestors. Indeed, early paleontologists thought mesonychids WERE creodonts, so Cope's observations about the seal-like [...]

    5. A great book, though it seemed a tad biased towards mammals. The narrow geographical focus (the West Coast of the US) is more than balanced by the extensive chronological range (hundreds of millions of years). I lost my original copy in a move across the country & felt compelled to replace it almost immediately.

    6. I really wanted to like this book. In the end, however, I just couldn't finish it. Evocative descriptions of the California coat give way to extremely dry discussions of prehistoric marine mammals. I'm fascinated by fossil whales and seals and otters, but, while Wallace's prose is informative, it lacks passion for its subject.

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