Cover image for Pleistocene amphibians and reptiles in Britain and Europe
Pleistocene amphibians and reptiles in Britain and Europe
Holman, J. Alan, 1931-2006.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
vi, 254 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QE867 .H63 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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The Pleistocene epoch or Ice Age, an extended period of advancing and retreating ice sheets, is characterized by striking climatic oscillations and sea level fluctuations. This age saw the rise and spread of humans and a great extinction of large mammals by the end of the epoch; in fact, theworld today is essentially the product of dramatic changes that took place in the Pleistocene. This book, a companion to the author's Pleistocene Amphibians and Reptiles in North America, discusses the Pleistocene amphibians and reptiles in Britain and the European continent eastward throughpresent-day Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Yugoslavian republics, and Greece. The book begins with a general discussion of the Pleistocene in Britain and Europe with an emphasis on regional terms used to define Pleistocene chronological events. Next, a look at the pre-Pleistoceneherpetofauna of the study area sets the stage for a discussion of Pleistocene herpetofauna. A significant section of the book consists of a "bestiary," a series of annotated taxonomic accounts of Pleistocene herpetological taxa from the region. Following this is the interpretive section, beginningwith a discussion of herpetological species as paleoenvironmental indicators and continuing with an analysis of herpetological population adjustments to Pleistocene events in Britain and Europe, and then with a discussion of extinction patterns in the region. Finally, the author comparesPleistocene herpetological events in Europe with those in North America. This volume and its companion together provide an up-to-date and comprehensive review of Pleistocene herpetofaunas across a significant portion of the Northern Hemisphere.

Author Notes

J. Alan Holman is at University of Michigan.

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Choice Review

How did climate changed in the northern hemisphere at various stages of the Pleistocene (ice ages)? At what times and places were temperatures higher or lower than today and how much moisture was there? Abundant mammal fossil records provide some broad answers but other vertebrates, especially those whose physiologic constraints limit their distribution, offer a stronger signal of the climate at the time and place they lived. The fossil record of amphibians and reptiles, most of whose close relatives are alive today and known from specific habitats, are especially useful indicators. Holman has made a career of studying these vertebrates, collecting and carrying out the difficult task of identifying their skeletal remains. Chapters review the European herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles) through the Cenozoic; provide taxonomic accounts of Pleistocene herpetofauna from Europe and Britain, including a few black-and-white line drawings of vertebrae, jaws, etc.; present a brief description of localities and their herpetofauna; and close with material evaluating these animals as paleoenvironment indicators, their extinction patterns, and a comparison of Pleistocene herpetofaunal changes in Europe, Britain, and North America. More than 400 references, plus general, taxonomic, and site indexes. For students of climate change, paleohistory, and faunal studies. Graduates through professionals. D. Bardack; University of Illinois at Chicago

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 The Pleistocene in Britain and Europe
3 The European herpetofauna, Paleocene through Pleistocene
4 A bestiary: annotated taxonomic accounts
5 Pleistocene herpetological localities
6 Herpetological species as paleoenvironmental indicators
7 Herpetological population adjustments in the Pleistocene of Britain and Europe
8 Extinction patterns in the herpetofaunas of Britain and Europe and North America compared
9 Pleistocene events in the herpetofaunas of Britain and Europe and North American compared