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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

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  293 ratings  ·  36 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 September 10th 2001 by Atlantic Monthly Press
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Sara
May 06, 2007 Sara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Bec
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
David
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
...more
Pauline
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.
Krystle
Beautiful coffee-table style 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.
Laurie
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.

Catherine
Gorgeously illustrated, well-balanced, document of natural life and human history. Made me a bit wobbly and salty-eyed.
Rachel
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
Anna
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
Last Ranger

"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
...more
Valerie
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
...more
zltg
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.
Paul Kinzer
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?
Joel
"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
...more
Evelyn
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
Juanita Molina
believe it or not but i used to read this when i was really small
Bill Bennett
Oct 31, 2014 Bill Bennett rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Bill by: mentioned in another book I read
The illustrations were magnificent, the commentary not so much.
Michael
Jun 06, 2014 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
Though a depressing topic, this coffee table style book offers beautiful illustrations and brief, enlightening descriptions of species that are no longer with us.
Peacegal
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.
Michael
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.
David Ward
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.
Kelly Anderson
A fascinating endeavor. The real star here is not Mr. Flannery, but rather the artist Peter Schouten. It is so amazing to see what these extinct animals probably looked like.
Sarah
Amazing paintings complement short histories of recently extinct animals (1700s to today). Some Pacific Island birds had no fear of humans--they had never seen humans before!
Sally
Such a beautiful idea and well executed. I learnt so much from this book about our environment, how little we have saved of knowledge and loved the wonderful illustrations.
Koe
Great artwork and a nice summary of species that have gone extinct in recent times. Defiantly worth flipping through if only to take a look at the stunning art.
Laura
Feb 16, 2013 Laura added it
Un libro delicioso con ilustraciones bellísimas. Ojalá algún día lo traduzcan al castellano para que lo puedan disfrutar los hispanohablantes que no saben inglés.
Dani
Beautiful illustrations and descriptions of the more recent and well-known extinct species.

Started: March 28, 2009
Finished: April 5, 2009
Claire
I read this after it was mentioned in Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. Really interesting read with some amazing illustrations.
Angela Oliver
Another heart breaking tribute to the amazing wildlife we have lost. A sobering read, with glorious illustrations.
Kym Biviano
A stunning book with beautiful illustrations, I would recommend this book to anyone, it is a great read.
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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
...more
More about Tim Flannery...
The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples Throwim Way Leg: Tree-Kangaroos, Possums, and Penis Gourds Here On Earth: An Argument For Hope

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