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Ghosts of Gondwana: The History of Life in New Zealand

4.36  ·  Rating Details ·  36 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Have you ever wondered why New Zealand's plants and animals are so different from those in other countries? Why the kakapo is the only parrot in the world that cannot fly, or why the kiwi lives here and nowhere else? New Zealand is an extraordinary place, unique on Earth, and the remarkable story of how and why life evolved here is the subject of Ghosts of Gondwana. The sc ...more
Hardcover, 232 pages
Published June 28th 1905 by Craig Potton Publishing
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Alan Wightman
May 13, 2011 Alan Wightman rated it liked it
Gibbs describes the elements that made New Zealand's flora and fauna unique in many respects. The most important elements being the (near) absence of mammals, isolation, the Oligocene drowning, and the seismic uplift creating the alpine zones.

He examines the evidence for vicariance (that the biota's ancestor's were on New Zealand when it separated from Australis and Gondwana 60-80 million years ago) and dispersal (that the ancestor's arrived on these islands some time later). It seems that more
...more
Owain
Jul 14, 2013 Owain rated it it was amazing
Thie is one of the best natural history books I have ever read. For me, as an Arboriculturalist I am particularly interested in the arborescent flora of New Zealand but the author manages to make me interested in the whole biological package of the islands past and present. To anyone who has or is currently living, or considering visiting New Zealand I would recommend this as essential reading. The terrain, and strange inhabitants of New Zealand are interesting enough on their own (and I'm not t ...more
Janel C.
Jan 21, 2016 Janel C. rated it really liked it
Excellent book about how and why New Zealand's plant and animal life is different from others in the region. Approachable, written for lay-person to understand, passionately researched. Really delightful to read cover to cover or even just dip in and out, looking at photos and charts.
Julia
Oct 30, 2008 Julia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, science
I lived in New Zealand for a year and this book, in addition to being very accessible, explained very simply why life from Gondwana developed so differently from everywhere else in the world. The actual design of the book is beautiful too. A facinating read if you are interested in natural sciences or if you are planning on traveling to New Zealand.
Shannan
Jul 09, 2013 Shannan rated it really liked it
It was in this book I learned crocodiles used to live in New Zealand, and what I used as a reference when creating some of the material in these projects http://www.doc.govt.nz/getting-involv...

Stephen Harvey
Jan 23, 2015 Stephen Harvey rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful account of the biota of New Zealand. One of the best natural history books I have read.
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George Gibbs (1815–1873) was an American ethnologist, naturalist and geologist who contributed to the study of the languages of indigenous peoples in Washington Territory. Known for his expertise on Native American customs and languages, Gibbs participated in numerous treaty negotiations between the U.S. government and the native tribes.
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