Humans have "gone underground" for survival for thousands of years, from underground cities in Turkey to Cold War-era bunkers. But our burrowing roots go back to the very beginnings of animal life on earth. Without burrowing, the planet would be very different today. Many animal lineages alive now – including our own – only survived a cataclysmic meteorite strike 65 million years ago because they went underground.
On a grander scale, the chemistry of the planet itself had already been transformed many millions of years earlier by the first animal burrows, which altered whole ecosystems. Every day we walk on an earth filled with an under-ground wilderness teeming with life. Most of this life stays hidden, yet these animals and their subterranean homes are ubiquitous, ranging from the deep sea to mountains, from the equator to the poles.
Burrows are a refuge from predators, a safe home for raising young, or a tool to ambush prey. Burrows also protect animals against all types of natural disasters: fires, droughts, storms, meteorites, global warmings – and coolings. In a book filled with spectacularly diverse fauna, acclaimed paleontologist and ichnologist Anthony Martin reveals this fascinating, hidden world that will continue to influence and transform life on this planet.
Anthony J. Martin is a Professor at Emory University, a palaeontologist, geologist, and one of the world’s most accomplished ichnologists. He is the co-discoverer of the first known burrowing dinosaur, found the oldest dinosaur burrows in the geologic record, and documented the best assemblage of polar-dinosaur tracks in the Southern Hemisphere. He is the author of two textbooks on dinosaurs as well as Dinosaurs Without Bones and lives in Atlanta, GA.
"Digs into the subterranean strategies of prehistoric and contemporary animals, from insects to giant sloths and, to a lesser extent, humans. Offers subtle clues that help shift the dramatic narrative of prehistoric life forward. Underground warrens enable lungfish to survive drought, iguanas to weather hurricanes, and alligators sit out wildfires."
– The Economist
"An unbelievably engaging book."
"Martin is an amiably erudite guide to burrowing fauna. Down the rabbit hole with Martin, Earth becomes one vast, 'constantly evolving burrow system.'"
"Martin, known for having discovered an ancient burrowing dinosaur, examines the world underground and the evolutionary advantages attendant in knowing how to get around down there. A spry exercise in popular science. Can you dig it?"
– Kirkus Reviews
"A great introduction and history that will fascinate ecominded conservationists and fossil hunters."
– Library Journal
"Martin writes with obvious glee and a humor that at times digs for the dad-jokes, but as a scholar he knows his stuff – many of the natural discoveries he describes are his own. Martin delivers something the casual reader will not expect: a real education in paleontology. The Evolution Underground is a fun book of surprising depth."
– Shelf Awareness