End of the Megafauna: The Fate of the World's Hugest, Fiercest, and Strangest Animals

End of the Megafauna: The Fate of the World's Hugest, Fiercest, and Strangest Animals Review

Until a few thousand years ago, creatures that could have been from a sci-fi thriller—including gorilla-sized lemurs, 500-pound birds, and crocodiles that weighed a ton or more—roamed the earth. These great beasts, or “megafauna,” lived on every habitable continent and on many islands. With a handful of exceptions, all are now gone.


What caused the disappearance of these prehistoric behemoths? No one event can be pinpointed as a specific cause, but several factors may have played a role. Paleomammalogist Ross D. E. MacPhee explores them all, examining the leading extinction theories, weighing the evidence, and presenting his own conclusions. He shows how theories of human overhunting and catastrophic climate change fail to account for critical features of these extinctions, and how new thinking is needed to elucidate these mysterious losses.


Along the way, we learn how time is determined in earth history; how DNA is used to explain the genomics and phylogenetic history of megafauna—and how synthetic biology and genetic engineering may be able to reintroduce these giants of the past. Until then, gorgeous four-color illustrations by Peter Schouten re-create these megabeasts here in vivid detail.

Title:End of the Megafauna: The Fate of the World's Hugest, Fiercest, and Strangest Animals

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Beth

    ARC provided by Edelweiss.There are a lot of books about dinosaurs and their extinction, but not as many on the Ice Age extinction of animals like the smilodon or mastodon. With a background in anthro...

  • Tim Milligan

    This book changed my mind on the likely causes of Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions, and did so in a surprisingly readable way. I practically tore through this book, which is really something for a n...

  • Sandra

    So much attention is given to dinosaurs and their extinction, but the megafauna have always been more interesting to me, probably because they relate more to current animals so they are easier to pict...

  • Debbie Mcclelland

    Meh.I take exception to the "theory" that humans over hunted the megafauna of America ! The population density had to be on the order of, maybe, 50 people in a square mile, 20,000years ago! Please, pl...

  • Bill

    A well thought out and closely considered study of the animal extinctions at the end of the last ice age. The book comes to no hard conclusions, instead it repeats all the past and current theories on...