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A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals
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A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  493 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
"Since humanity first wandered from its African birthplace over fifty millennia ago, it has radically altered the environment everywhere it has settled, often at the cost of the creatures that ruled the wild before its arrival. As our prehistoric ancestors spread throughout the globe, they began the most deadly epoch the planet's fauna have experienced since the demise of ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published October 7th 2001 by Atlantic Monthly Press
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Feb 09, 2016 Kerfe rated it it was amazing
A beautifully illustrated survey of 103 mammals, birds, and reptiles that have gone extinct since the year 1500. Flannery and Schouten provide geographical and historical background, giving a better understanding of the earth's continuing and irrevocable losses.

Of course humans bear a large responsibility, and isolated ecosystems encountering humans and the other invasive species they bring with them are most vulnerable. There are many many species here that resided on islands.

People change and
May 01, 2007 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Animal Enthusiasts
This book will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride, from the delights of the pygmy silky anteater who is "fond of resting by day in canopy of the silk-cotton tree, and the seedpods of the tree, which consist of a ball of soft, silvery fibers, are scarcely distinguishable from a tightly curled silky anteater" (awww) to the HORRORS of the heck of nasty Indus river dolphin (NO EYES, big teeth-- yes, that's right, NO EYES, none at all on the entire head) and the super heck of nasty
Asian gi
Dec 25, 2012 Krystle rated it really liked it
Beautiful coffee-table book.

The drawback is the brevity of information. Most species have between a half-page and a full-page of text. Although some species have even less than a half-page of writing about them.

Gorgeous paintings, but those looking for more detailed information about extinct species won't find it here.
Nov 11, 2008 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Not really a book to read straight through, but this is a beautifully illustrated book of 103 different animals that have gone extinct sine 1492. Interesting, but most worth it for the illustrations.

Aug 29, 2008 Catherine rated it it was amazing
Gorgeously illustrated, well-balanced, document of natural life and human history. Made me a bit wobbly and salty-eyed.
Steven Bennett
Jan 18, 2015 Steven Bennett rated it it was amazing
A very early favorite that represents the dawn of a period in my life when I could never find enough information of extinct animals. It wasn't the fact that they are all gone that had me enraptured, it was the stories, the lives, the worlds they lived in. To remember them is just one tiny step toward preserving species that are no more.

A Gap In Nature I've recommended to perhaps 100 people over the years. The illustrator is truly gifted, having made every painting of each species on par with the
Nov 30, 2009 Bec rated it really liked it
What I learned from this book is how little humans know about extinct animals. The book is decently well-written, and the author obviously worked to carefully research each animal, but often even the cause of extinction is unknown, much less anything about the animal's behavior or place in the ecosystem. Flannery often points out how naturists themselves often caused the final demise of a species, by killing so many animals for their collections, and how the exponential effects of the careless i ...more
Jun 28, 2008 Pauline rated it really liked it
The art work in "A Gap in Nature" is stunning. As you look at the pictures of the extinct animals and as you read the stories of how they became extinct it is hard not to get tears welling up in your eyes.

A wonderful informative book that gives you a look at what our earth is sorely missing mostly through the ignorance of mankind.
Nov 18, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it
I seem to have a habit of reading books that make me feel sad. I found this an incredibly moving book. Superficially it is a nice-looking coffee table book with exquisitely detailed illustrations, each page devoted to one mammal, bird or reptile that is widely accepted to have gone extinct within the last 500 years. But this is more than just a nice picture book with accompanying text; it is a document of wilful neglect, downright persecution, human egotism and even bungled conservation attempts ...more
Last Ranger
Feb 03, 2013 Last Ranger rated it it was amazing

"Like Tears In Rain"

Stunning, beautiful, sad: these words seem to sum up the very essence of this extraordinary book. Since the beginning of life some organisms have lost the race of survival and paid the ultimate price: extinction. Many of these losses have gone unrecorded, except for the fossil record, and some will remain forever unknown to us. But with the advent of Recorded History we can catch a glimpse of what the world has lost through human ignorance, greed or just indifference. Sometim
Dec 30, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing
This book had beautiful illustrations that accompanied each of the world's extinct animals being covered in the text. I found the information provided to not be overwhelming with information, as most animal books generally are.
Andy Zell
Apr 26, 2016 Andy Zell rated it really liked it
A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World’s Extinct Animals with text by Tim Flannery and illustrations by Peter Schouten is a sobering look at the effects of humanity on the animal kingdom. The book includes 103 species (mammal, bird, or reptile) that have gone extinct since the year1500, most of them in the past 150 years. Peter Schouten’s illustrations are beautiful and naturalistic. I was reminded of the Audubon calendars we had in our house growing up. It was rather haunting to see animal afte ...more
Oct 24, 2014 David rated it it was amazing
A book of beauty and loss.

A 'Gap in Nature' covers mammals, birds, and reptiles who ceased to exist between 1500 and 1999. Accomplished wildlife artist Peter Schouten painted each animal with exquisite realism, making good use of the book's over-sized printing. Only animals for which sufficient visual accounts exist were selected for inclusion and illustration.

The animals are organized in acceding order by the last recorded sighting. Quite often, the final account was made by the person who had
Dec 26, 2010 Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
This book showcases fantastic illustrations of extinct animals that really allow you to imagine these animals as they must have been alive, and mourn their disappearance. The writing focuses on the collection and demise of these extinct species, which was a bit dry at times – I would have enjoyed more detail of their natural history (where known). However, there were some interesting tidbits here and there. I particularly enjoyed extracts from old expedition journals (in which animals are unfort ...more
Jul 23, 2016 Samantha rated it really liked it
Beautifully illustrated book. Big gorgeous drawings of extinct species accompanied by bleak paragraphs describing the particular form of human carelessness that wiped them out.

Two minor complaints:

1. The author and illustrator restrict themselves to birds, mammals, and reptiles, noting that they are "ignoring all frogs, fish, invertebrates, and plants known to have vanished in recent times," but without providing a reason for doing so.

2. The book includes many species which are quite closely re
Sep 04, 2015 Allisha rated it it was amazing
This is a STUNNING book. It is extremely enjoyable. The book offers an introduction before it starts explaining about the creatures that have gone extinct. The information about these creatures are descriptive, but not too long. And the illustrations are wonderful. The paintings provide beautiful images of these species, and they look so lifelike. It was tear-jerking, to see all of these animals that were once alive, now extinct. Our planet is starting to lack diversity when these interesting an ...more
Nov 18, 2011 Valerie rated it really liked it
I read this around the same time I read Swift as a Shadow. Both books are about extinct animals including photos or drawings of the animals and short descriptions of the animals and why they went extinct.

The descriptions of the animals were a little more extensive, but I still wanted more information on each animal. I think I am going to have to find an individual book on each animal to be satisfied with the amount of information I want.

I liked the paintings in this book, but I preferred the ph
Feb 09, 2014 Bob rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mine
Beautifully illustrated documentation of 103 amniotes (mammals/reptiles/birds) thought to have gone extinct in the years 1500-2000. Another 100 listed in the appendix were not included because: they might not be extinct, might have been subspecies; or descriptions & specimens are inadequate to enable an accurate painting. Sad that so little was recorded about many of these species before their extinction that descriptions of all that is known about the animal and its extinction can be covere ...more
Sep 11, 2011 Joel rated it really liked it
"I will go further and say all cats are wicked, though often useful. Who has not seen Satan in their sly faces?" -'True Grit', Charles Portis

Interesting fact gleaned from this book: there is only a single (known) instance of a single member of a species (a house cat)rendering a WHOLE species extinct. This is a depressing, though absorbing read, with more of Peter Schouten's luminous paintings. The only 'fault' I find with the book is that the author focused solely on recent extinctions (all due
A very sad, but interesting coffee table style book which depicts many of the animals that have become extinct in the last 500 years or so. It briefly mentions the reasons why some became extinct and has some beautiful illustrations throughout. Many of these are simply imaginings of what some of the animals may have looked liked, pieced together through years of research due to so little being known about them when they were alive. A Gap In Nature doesn't go into a lot of detail, but merely prov ...more
Joanne Radford
Jan 08, 2015 Joanne Radford rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
The front cover of this beautiful book caught my eye and, on further inspection, the same beauty and attention to detail was used on every page. This is a book to buy much more for the art than the information; the information can be picked up from many places online but these artistic interpretations of extinct animals are peculiarly beautiful. The images are somewhat idealised, as many images hoping to attract custom have to be. It's a cliche but for nature lovers, this book is very much a fea ...more
David Ward
Feb 04, 2010 David Ward rated it really liked it
A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals by Tim Flannery (Atlantic Monthly Press 2001)(591.68). This catalogs over a hundred charismatic animals that have been forced into extinction since Columbus discovered the New World. Goodbye Carolina Parakeet, goodbye Passenger Pigeon, goodbye Steller's Sea Cow, etc. This features beautiful paintings of each extinct creature. My rating: 7.5/10, finished 2006.
Mar 04, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biology
If you care about nature at all this book is one of the most depressing reads. Most of the paintings are top-notch and the write-ups are pretty good overall. It's definitely more of a coffee table book than an in-depth look at the various extinct species, though it certainly excels at what it tries to do. My only complaint is that they only included mammals, birds, and a few reptiles. I would like to have seen fish and insects included as well.
Mar 05, 2010 Peacegal rated it really liked it
Astonishing paintings resurrect animals who no longer roam this Earth. (Where else can you learn about a creature called the "Terror Skink?") True, much of the content is depressing, especially when one considers how many species have died out thanks to utter human stupidity---the passenger pigeon comes to mind. It was a bit bothersome when the author projects fault for species extinction upon other animals, without clear evidence that this was indeed the case.
Paul Kinzer
Jul 30, 2014 Paul Kinzer rated it liked it
Fascinating, but a real downer. We've all read about extinctions, but the recurring theme in this book really brings home the impact of man's presence, and how much of the world we'll never be able to see. I sure wish we knew more about some of the species listed in this book. I wonder how many more species are extinct but not listed in the book?
Jun 03, 2014 spacenaiads rated it really liked it
Shelves: pictures
The illustrations were beautiful, the writing plebeian. My only wish is that there was less focus on near-identical looking rodents and birds. It could have done with more variety in the subject matter.
Sep 05, 2007 Noel marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
read about this book in Short History of Nearly Everything
Apr 15, 2014 zltg rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
The wonderful drawings cry out for more, but the words fail to deliver. Maybe this is because the loss is too great and beyond description.
Angela Oliver
Aug 03, 2013 Angela Oliver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another heart breaking tribute to the amazing wildlife we have lost. A sobering read, with glorious illustrations.
Oct 06, 2012 Catherine rated it liked it
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Tim Flannery is one of Australia's leading thinkers and writers.

An internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist, he has published more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific papers and many books. His books include the landmark works The Future Eaters and The Weather Makers, which has been translated into more than 20 languages and in 2006 won the NSW Premiers Literary Prizes for B
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