Presents a history of the development of modern mammals from the unique evolutionary environment of Australia and New Guinea. The authors describe both what is known about prehistoric Australian mammals and what can be reconstructed from the fossil evidence about their appearance and behaviours. It offers facts about how each mammal got its name and provides a description of how the fossil mammal resembles its modern descendants. Over 200 illustrations enhance the text, which describes the age, diet, and habitat of these extinct mammals. The authors also detail how each mammal evolved and is now classified.
Contents:AcknowledgementsForeword by Ernest L. Lundelius, Jr.The background story A brief history of fossil mammal discoveries Why Australian mammals are different Monotremes: wide leg and lay eggs Thingodontans: old relics from Gondwana Dasyures, numbats and thylacines: diverse eaters of flesh Marsupial moles: the ancient diggers Bandicoots and bilbies: long noses and broad appetites Koalas and kin: gummed tight to trees Wombats and kin: pouched in reverse and diverse Possums: hangers and gliders trained in the trees Kangaroos: hoppers, snippers and rippers Bats: winged and wordly wanderers Rats and mice: nimble gnawers from the north Marine mammals: sleek swimmers of the seas Weird things not so easily pigeonholed Glossary of scientific terms Selected Bibliography by Alexander Baynes Index
John A. Long is the curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Western Australian Museum and the author of The Rise of Fishes, also available from Johns Hopkins. Michael Archer is the director of the Australian Museum in Sydney and a professor of biological science at the University of New South Wales. Timothy Flannery is the director of the South Australian Museum in Adelaide and an acclaimed author. Suzanne Hand is the senior project scientist in the School of Biological Science at the University of New South Wales.