For most of the past 300 million years, the world's continents were interlinked as the supercontinents Pangaea and then Gondwana. Around 50 million years ago, Australia tore itself free from Antarctica to become the huge, splendidly isolated island it is today. Over time, its creatures began to evolve in ways not seen anywhere else on Earth, with tree-climbing crocodiles, gigantic venomous lizards, walking omnivorous bats and flesh-eating kangaroos roaming the continent.
Prehistoric Australasia: Visions of Evolution and Extinction presents some of the most extraordinary creatures the world has ever seen – all unique to Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand and their surrounding islands.
Over 100 meticulously painted panoramas by palaeoartist Peter Schouten are accompanied by descriptions of the unique environments and features of these animals, written by four of Australia's foremost palaeontologists. This book explores the nature and timing of extinction events in the Southern Hemisphere, considers whether some of these losses might be able to be reversed, and how we can use the fossil record to help save today's critically endangered species. Through stunning artwork and fascinating text, Prehistoric Australasia brings this globally unique transformation over time to glorious, colourful life.
104 prehistoric scenes, from the Archaean Eon to the Holocene
Michael Archer, Professor at UNSW Sydney, is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and other societies, a Member of the Order of Australia and a recipient of many awards including the Romer-Simpson Medal of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. He has authored over 400 scientific publications.
Suzanne J. Hand, Emeritus Professor at UNSW Sydney, has described more than 125 new fossil taxa. She is a Fellow of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales and the Royal Society of New South Wales.
John Long is a Strategic Professor in Palaeontology at Flinders University, and the author of many scientific publications as well as popular and scientific books. In 2020 he was awarded the Bettison and James Award for lifetime achievement for contributions to scientific research and science communication. He is also the co-author of Frozen in Time: Prehistoric Life in Antarctica.
Trevor H. Worthy, Associate Professor at Flinders University, is a global authority on fossil birds, an Elected Corresponding Fellow of the American Ornithologists’ Union, was awarded the D.L. Serventy Medal (BirdLife Australia) and has published over 260 scientific publications and described over 90 fossil species.
Peter Schouten is a wildlife illustrator and palaeoartist who has co-authored or illustrated many popular and scientific books over the past 50 years. He is a Member of the Order of Australia and a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales. He is also the illustrator of Gliding Mammals of the World.