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After Man: A Zoology of the Future
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After Man: A Zoology of the Future

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  618 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
Dougal Dixon's work of speculative anthropology blends science and fantasy in a stunning zoology of the future. Looking 50 million years into the future, this text explores the possible development or extinction of the animal world through the eyes of the time-traveller.
Paperback, 124 pages
Published September 15th 1998 by Griffin (first published 1981)
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Anthony Acquilano Right. I guess that lions, hyenas, etc. at that point would have died off leaving the niche wide open for the taking.

But, the wiki says that horranes…more
Right. I guess that lions, hyenas, etc. at that point would have died off leaving the niche wide open for the taking.

But, the wiki says that horranes are descended from chimpanzees. They already eat meat sometimes.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Speculative...Non-Fiction? 50 million years in the future, mankind is long extinct and the planet's fauna has evolved into some spectacular new shapes, often with way, way too many teeth.

The animals range from adorable (extra-long weasel) to nightmarish (ostrichbat) and the full color art shows each one from a variety of angles or in its habitat like a sci-fi Audubon plate. The accompanying text explains what branch the new species descended from and the features and behaviors that make it suit
Venus Maneater
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of biology, bestiaries and beautiful illustrations
I am unreasonably giddy that I found this book on a local Craigslist-esque site! In perfect condition, this 1981 Dutch translation looks barely read.

Usually I try to pass on Dutch translations, because the prose tends to be a little clunky, and even worse when fictional terminology gets translated; in that case it often gets downright silly. This translation, however, hardly suffers from any of that clunky sillyness, it reads as the biology textbook it is meant to be.

After a few pages on the te
Nov 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Biologists, teachers, students, collectors, illustrators, science-fiction enthusiasts
I love this book. This is a journey to an Earth fifty million years in the future, when humanity is long gone and other creatures have been left free to evolve to adapt to natural conditions in the same way their remote ancestors did before we came on the scene.

Dougal Dixon presents a magnificent panorama of a world which, formerly shaped by humanity, has, with our exit on the universal stage, worked its remaining life into a vast, complex biota. Fifty million years from now the continents have
Kenghis Khan
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrific book. It is also, sadly, one of the most underappreciated contributions to the explosion in popular literature on evolution. The illustrations in this book are spectacular, as are the phylogenetic speculations Dixon undertakes. Yet it is the ingenuity of Dixon in viewing the world of the future that is so mindblowing. Examing ecosystems of the world 65 million years from now and the animals that could inhabit them, this work tells a nice story at the same time pushing the boun ...more
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Interesting but for me this was a waste of time. From what I understand, this was pure speculation on the future of evolution from the viewpoint of an 'artist' and not a scientist. There seem to be some very large animals here, but evolution proves that animals are getting smaller. I also fail to comprehend why bats would take to the seas, why certain birds would spend half their day with their mouths open to resemble flowers to better attract insects.
Too much speculation and not enough science.
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
After my grandma moved out (I think?) of her own house into a nursing home, we got to look through her stuff and I ended up with this book. And let me tell you: it was fucking fantastic.
I still think of it as one of the greatest illustrated zoology books even if this is highly speculative, fantasy zoology - but it's so much FUN. LOOK at this damn book. Look at those pictures. Look at how nightmarish and imaginative it all is.
I loved it as a kid and I find it very interesting even in the present
Benjamin Chandler
Sep 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
There were a handful of books I checked out of the local library at least twice a year when I was a boy. These were books I didn't have, but wished I did. Among them were a book of dragons, Don Glut's All New Dinosaur Dictionary, and Dougal Dixon's After Man.

Eventually, I found Glut's dictionary at a 2nd-hand bookstore during high school. I remember being delighted, standing in front of a self with three paperback remainders staring back at me. (It was winter, and I remember cold rain soaking in
Dec 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a truly fascinating book. I once saw it in a used book store, and I’m sorry I didn’t buy it when I had the chance. (Online copies are quite expensive.) I love the scientific illustrations of creatures yet-to-be.

Some of the author’s guesses about the evolutionary trajectory of modern animals seemed spot on—such as the development of the ubiquitous rat into a hardy predator. What kicks this book down a star is the author’s occasional delving into silliness—such as the cheetah-lemur hybrid.
May 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sci fi fans, Zoology/biology fans
Recommended to Nick by: Richard Dawkins
Shelves: science, 1980s
Richard Dawkins' "Ancestor's tale" recommended this book in a footnote, so I bought it on a whim. That was an extremely good decision. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous. I never thought that evolutionary convergence could be so pretty. If you have an elementary knowledge of zoology or evolutionary biology you will appreciate this book supremely.

My only criticism: It is really hard to find and really expensive. If you find a cheap copy get it quick.
Aug 29, 2014 rated it liked it
I was a little disappointed that it was so heavy on the speculation, and comparatively light on the science. It focused on birds and mammals, and mostly ignored any other groups, like insects and sea creatures. I had been hoping for something a little more researched. Nevertheless, an engaging glimpse into the author's creativity.
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books of all time. Some kook named Dougal Dixon created all these beings that will take over the world once Mankind dies. They are wondrous, creepily detailed natural-history type reports and illustrations. Incredible names, too, like the Raboon, the Prfit, the Horanne, and the Rabbuck.
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Easily one of the most imaginative books I have read in a long time. The illustrations are pretty great too.

From this book, I learned that anything with a vertebrae evolved from the hagfish, and that the platypus doesn't have nipples.
Neat pictures and interesting ideas for possible future evolutionary adaptations in various animals, though several of his concepts struck me as simply 'weird for the sake of weird'. Great source of inspiration for sci-fi writers and RPG storytellers/gamemasters, as well.
C.I. DeMann
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Every biology nerd should read this. What animals would survive man's extinction? How would they evolve in 50 million years? Penguins the size of whales? Antelopes the size of elephants? Predatory running bats the size of dogs? PREDATORY RUNNING BATS THE SIZE OF DOGS? Sign me up!
Feb 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
I found it very hard to treat this book seriously. Despite knowing that the author is a scientist I could not help but see his “predictions” as baseless and purposefully strange. Dixon seems to confuse that while there is an almost inexhaustible potential for weirdness in evolution the pragmatic nature of day-to-day life prevents the more outrageous adaptations, i.e., a plethora of horns to dig up tubers from the ground. Likewise, he seemed to delight in stretching modern animals to fantastical ...more
Amanda Ure
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stunningly good and absolutely inspiring. The art is reminiscent of Audobon and the text is meticulously worked out. This is Dougal Dixon's best work of speculative zoology, although the others are also interesting, and it works well as an educational piece of entertainment. The world of 50 million CE is very convincing with only the occasional bit of silliness such as the parashrew. My only disappointment with it is that it's almost exclusively about vertebrates. I would've liked to have known ...more
Katrine Prace
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Ritchie
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fascinating concept, beautiful illustrations.
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: natural-history
This is a stunning book with a firecracker of a "what-if" premise: human beings have disappeared from the earth, either left it or died out, and over hundreds of thousands of years evolution continues on its normal path without human interference. Continents move, climate patterns shift, some genera of creatures die while others take their place, all demonstrating the laws of natural selection which are at the front of the book. It's this work that founded the field of speculative biology, or sp ...more
Curtis Runstedler
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dougal Dixon's book After Man is an excellent 'future hypothetical bestiary' (as David Herman calls it) that considers the zoological realm after the extinction of humankind millions of years into the future. I was attracted to the detailed evolutionary biological background for the animals and setting. It's incredibly well-researched and creative, and the introduction is worth reading alone. It fondly reminds me of the Encyclopedia of Animals, one of my most treasured books. In the past, one of ...more
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a whimsical book about evolution, set 50 million years in the future. The premise of the book is that the human race disappeared for some unclear reason, most likely a complete collapse after a man-made ecological disaster, or maybe the human race left for the Andromeda galaxy to trash a planet there. Man caused a mass extinction before he disappeared, and now, 50 million years later, we see how all the evolutionary niches have been filled by the surviving species.

The best part of the bo
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Интересная книга, в которой автор делится с читателями своими мыслями по поводу животных, которые будут населять Землю спустя 50 миллионов лет после того, как вымрет человек. За основу своих фантазий, автор взял данные о движениях тектонических плит планеты, а также приложил свои знания по зоологии. Выглядит все очень логично, а местами интересно. Всем кролам, гигантилоп и слюнивцев!
David Wells
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I got this book as a kid in the mid-80s. I was already sort of a zoology geek, and this book got me hooked for a while. It's mostly science fiction, but has a pretty good layman's grounding in biology, evolution, etc. It lays out the assumptions about the near future (spoiler alert): whales hunted to extinction, humans going extinct due to resource depletion, most domesticated animals following them to extinction, followed by most existing carnivores. Then, penguins fill the niche left by whales ...more
this book apparently caused a big stir when it was published 25 years ago, and it's quite justified. it's every bit as delightful & imaginative as those discovery channel CGI specials about dinosaurs roaming the earth. special added bonus is the very well written introductory section that simply (and accurately!) lays out the basics of biology and evolution; this alone makes the book worth it. so why the less than flawless score? while the author does have a few innovative and totally believ ...more

50 million years after the extinction of man….

Penguins evolved to become whales
Rats now resemble wolves and walruses
Rabbits became deer
Antelopes are the new elephants and rhinos
Baboons became bipedal lions that chase after their prey like miniature T-Rexes
Cats now resemble monkeys
There are aquatic bats and 3 meter tall tropical kangaroos

“The only danger in reading this delightful volume is that some of you may reach the point where you suddenly feel saddened by the thought that the animal
Still in a bad mood from reviewing 'Jane Eyre' earlier today, I chose to review this as a palate cleanser. 'After Man' has been one of my all-time favorite books since I first read it at 13. It would be interesting indeed to see how today's animals would change after tens of millions of years have passed (assuming we don't render them all extinct). Dixon manages to sneak in a lot of evolutionary biology into his beautifully painted creations. I've enjoyed his other books as well, but this one I ...more
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved it!

This review by a major dinosaur freak.

Bio is my college degree, so the 'basics' I skimmed through, though Dixon provide a great review of the oncepts in biology, paleontology, etc. Then I ever-so-slowly went through the pages, the descriptions, the diagrams!

Felt like a kid again, staring at the pictures, reading the captions, over and over, and trying to make these fantastic and (mostly) plausible creatures fit into their environments.

What a treat this book was. What an extraordinary fe
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating look at evolution, after humans have been wiped from the planet. Dougal Dixon has theorized what would happen to a variety of species, which would survive, evolving to take the place of the larger predators and herbivores that would die off with us. Beautifully illustrated this book is reminiscent of natural history books we all grew up with.
Stephanie A.
Very interesting concept and illustrations, but heavily scientific writing that made it a bit dull as far as a read. I skipped most of the general pages about genetics, history of evolution and biomes entirely, focusing only on the descriptions of animals.
Brendan  McAuliffe
Jun 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
I remember thinking this was stupid
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