Cover image for Atlas of the prehistoric world
Atlas of the prehistoric world
Palmer, Douglas.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Bethesda, Md. : Discovery Communications, 1999.
Physical Description:
224 pages : illustrations (mostly color) ; 30 cm
General Note:
At head of title: Discovery Channel.

Includes index.
Subject Term:
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
G1046.C57 P3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize
G1046.C57 P3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
G1046.C57 P3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
G1046.C57 P3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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From it's beginnings as an accumulation of molten space debris over 4.6 billion years ago, the Earth has undergone astounding transformations, both geological and biological, to arrive at its familiar look today.  The Discovery Channel'sAtlas of the Prehistoric Worldis a dynamic portrait of the Earth and the interplay among the various forces that shaped both the planet and the life upon it. Atlas of the Prehistoric Worldis divided into three major sections, each of which offers a distinctive look at our planet's pre-history. In "The Changing Globe" computer -generated global maps track the Earth's shift in topography during eighteen different geological periods.... From the rise of mountain ranges to the creation of new oceans, the world takes on its different faces through the course of eons. "Life on Earth" chronicles the evolution of plant and animal life, from the first single-celled microbes to land-dwelling mammals. Each of the Earth's major geological eras is profiled in its own chapter, which depicts the life forms that developed as continents drifted, volcanoes erupted, and meteorites crashed to the surface. Specially commissioned panoramic illustrations take "snapshots" of life at a particular time and place....These...reflect the latest scientific thinking about how creatures from each period would have appeared, bringing to life animals and plantlife we can otherwise see only as fossils. "Earth Fact File," an indispensable gazetteer, explains important Earth science concepts and provides a useful tool for understanding prehistory. Accompanied by over 250 full-color photographs and illustrations and 68 maps, the Discovery Channel'sAtlas of the Prehistoric Worldis a unique must-have resource for any family member.

Author Notes

Douglas Palmer is a science writer, academic, and author of many books on paleontology. In addition to writing numerous articles for leading journals such as Science and New Scientist, he teaches Natural and Earth Sciences at Cambridge University, England.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This beautiful book is organized into three sections. "The Changing Globe" features Earth maps of periods from Vendian (approximately 620 million years ago) to Quaternary (from 1.8 million years ago to the present) times. For each era, representations of the globe show the shifting of land mass and climactic changes, such as when Antarctica froze over. These changes are noted by brief descriptions of numbered areas on each globe. The second section, "Ancient Worlds," narrates the geological and biological history of the last four and a half billion years, period by period. The illustrations in this section are stimulating--what student won't be further driven to search for fossils by viewing actual fragments of a carboniferous fern frond or the rugose horn coral? On each succeeding page depicting complex animal life, excitement builds--even before the dinosaurs appear. Adding interest are descriptions of how scientists have been unraveling Earth's mysteries over the last 200 years. "Earth Fact File," the third section, explores the history of Earth sciences and looks at rock formation, plate tectonics, and fossil classification. It also offers brief biographies of women and men who have made important discoveries. Two pages devote attention to places all over the world where one can visit to see fossils of prehistoric creatures or can virtually visit through Web pages. (However, three of these sites couldn't be accessed through the given URLs.) Teachers might want to include in the same classroom library The Historical Atlas of the Earth: A Visual Exploration of the Earth's Physical Past, edited by Roger Osborne and Donald Tarling (Holt, 1996). It is interesting to compare and contrast information that each source covers to demonstrate how our knowledge is constantly evolving. Earth's history is constantly being reexamined with each scientific discovery, and an attractive resource like Atlas of the Prehistoric World will help young people see that there is a place for them in this adventure. It is recommended for school and public libraries.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5 Up-This exemplary book is one of the few that provides detailed maps of the changes in the Earth's landmasses as well as chronicling the evolution of its life-forms. The opening section includes 36 pages of full-color, chronologically arranged maps. Outlines of current continents overlay those of the prehistoric landmasses, allowing readers to see how they have moved and changed over time. Commentary on individual maps and information on how to read them is included. The second section examines each geological era and time period, and includes many color photographs, reproductions, and drawings depicting their life-forms and habitats. Detailed captions and sidebars provide additional information. The final section, illustrated with black-and-white photos, reproductions, and maps, covers "Earth History," "Earth Processes" (including volcanoes), and "Fossils." Paragraph-length biographies of noted paleontologists and geologists, and a list of museums and Web sites to visit are appended. For its price, this is the best atlas of Laurentia and Gondwana around.- Cathryn A. Camper, formerly at Minneapolis Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 8
The Changing Globe
The Changing Face of the Earthp. 12
Vendian Timesp. 14
Early Cambrian Timesp. 16
Late Cambrian Timesp. 18
Ordovician Timesp. 20
Silurian Timesp. 22
Devonian Timesp. 24
Carboniferous Timesp. 26
Permian Timesp. 28
Triassic Timesp. 30
Jurassic Timesp. 32
Early Cretaceous Timesp. 34
Later Cretaceous Timesp. 36
K-T Timesp. 38
Early Tertiary Timesp. 40
Mid-Tertiary Timesp. 42
Late Tertiary Timesp. 44
Quaternary Timesp. 46
Ancient Worlds
The Origin of Lifep. 50
Aquatic Microbes: Life Beginsp. 52
The Vendian Periodp. 54
Complex Organisms Emergep. 56
Cambrian Explosionp. 58
Early Cambrian Marine Lifep. 60
Late Cambrian Periodp. 62
The Burgess Seaworldp. 64
Pikaia--Our Ancestor?p. 66
The Ordovician Periodp. 68
Life in the Ordovician Seasp. 70
The Silurian Periodp. 72
Life on Land and in the Seap. 74
The Devonian Periodp. 76
Equipping Life for Landp. 78
Carboniferous Agep. 80
The First Tetrapodsp. 82
Coal and Reptilesp. 84
The Permian Agep. 86
Ancient Mammal Relativesp. 88
Mass Extinctionsp. 90
The Triassic Periodp. 92
Dawn of the Dinosaursp. 94
Reptilian Dominationp. 96
The Jurassic Periodp. 98
Reptiles of the Jurassic Seasp. 100
Discovering Extinction and Deep Timep. 102
Life Takes to the Airp. 104
Early Mammalsp. 106
Early Cretaceous Periodp. 108
The World of the Iguanodon Dinosaurp. 110
Inventing and Picturing the Dinosaursp. 112
Later Cretaceous Periodp. 114
The Mammals and Dinosaurs of Mongoliap. 116
Hadrosaurs and Carnosaursp. 118
The Beast of Maastrichtp. 120
The K-T Boundaryp. 122
The Last of the Dinosaursp. 124
Impact from Outer Spacep. 126
Victims and Survivorsp. 128
Early Tertiary Agep. 130
Plants and Animals of Messelp. 132
Opening the North Atlanticp. 134
The Evolution of Plants and Flowersp. 136
Mid-Tertiary Periodp. 138
Riversleigh Marsupialsp. 140
The Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateaup. 142
Late Tertiary Periodp. 144
Hominids and Other Mammalsp. 146
Mammals of the Americasp. 148
Divergence of Apes and Hominidsp. 150
The Quaternary Agep. 152
The Russian Mammoth Steppep. 154
The Human Journeyp. 156
Beyond the Ice Agep. 158
Earth Fact File
Earth Historyp. 162
The Geological Timescalep. 164
Methods of Dating: Innovations and Discoveriesp. 166
Geological Controversiesp. 168
Rock 170
Metamorphic and Sedimentary Rockp. 172
Earth Processes: Plate Tectonicsp. 174
Earthquakes and Tsunamisp. 176
Volcanoesp. 178
Sedimentationp. 180
The Present as a Key to the Pastp. 182
What Next?p. 184
Fossils: Classificationp. 186
Fossil Formationp. 188
Fossil Discoveries: Reconstructing the Pastp. 190
Evolution and the Fossil Recordp. 192
Living Fossils and the Molecular Clockp. 194
"Progress" and Catastrophep. 196
Biographiesp. 198
Places and Websites to Visitp. 202
Glossaryp. 204
Further Reading and Bibliographyp. 216
Indexp. 218
Acknowledgmentsp. 224