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The Fate of the Mammoth: Fossils, Myth, and History

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The Fate of the Mammoth: Fossils, Myth, and History Cover

 

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Publisher Comments:

From cave paintings to the latest Siberian finds, woolly mammoths have fascinated people across Europe, Asia, and North America for centuries. Remains of these enormous prehistoric animals were among the first fossils to be recognized as such, and they have played a crucial role in the birth and development of paleontology. In this lively, wide-ranging look at the fate of the mammoth, Claudine Cohen reanimates this large mammal with heavy curved tusks and shaggy brown hair through its history in science, myth, and popular culture.

Cohen uses the mammoth and the theories that naturalists constructed around it to illuminate wider issues in the history of science, showing how changing views about a single object reveal the development of scientific methods, practices, and ideas. How are fossils discovered, reconstructed, displayed, and interpreted? What stories are told about them, by whom, and how do these stories reflect the cultures and societies in which they are told?

To find out, Cohen takes us on a grand tour of the study of mammoth remains, from England, Germany, and France to Russia and America, and from the depths of Africa to the frozen frontiers of Alaska and Siberia, where intact mammoth corpses have been discovered in the permafrost. Along the way, she shows how paleontologists draw on myth and history, as well as on scientific evidence, to explore the deep history of the earth and of life. Cohen takes her history from the sixteenth century right up to the present, when researchers are using molecular biology to retrieve mammoth DNA, calling up dreams of cloning the mammoth and one day seeing herds of woolly mammoths roaming the frozen steppes.

Synopsis:

From cave paintings to the latest Siberian finds, woolly mammoths have fascinated people across Europe, Asia, and North America for centuries. Remains of these enormous prehistoric animals were among the first fossils to be recognized as such, and they have played a crucial role in the birth and development of paleontology. In this lively, wide-ranging look at the fate of the mammoth, Claudine Cohen reanimates this large mammal with heavy curved tusks and shaggy brown hair through its history in science, myth, and popular culture.

Cohen uses the mammoth and the theories that naturalists constructed around it to illuminate wider issues in the history of science, showing how changing views about a single object reveal the development of scientific methods, practices, and ideas. How are fossils discovered, reconstructed, displayed, and interpreted? What stories are told about them, by whom, and how do these stories reflect the cultures and societies in which they are told?

To find out, Cohen takes us on a grand tour of the study of mammoth remains, from England, Germany, and France to Russia and America, and from the depths of Africa to the frozen frontiers of Alaska and Siberia, where intact mammoth corpses have been discovered in the permafrost. Along the way, she shows how paleontologists draw on myth and history, as well as on scientific evidence, to explore the deep history of the earth and of life. Cohen takes her history from the sixteenth century right up to the present, when researchers are using molecular biology to retrieve mammoth DNA, calling up dreams of cloning the mammoth and one day seeing herds of woolly mammoths roaming the frozen steppes.

Synopsis:

In this lively look at the fate of the woolly mammoth, Cohen reanimates this creature with curved tusks and shaggy brown hair through its history in science, myth, and popular culture. 23 halftones. 46 drawings.

About the Author

Claudine Cohen teaches the history of science at the andEacute;coles des Hautes andEacute;tudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. She is the author or coauthor of La Genandegrave;se de Telliamed: Thandeacute;orie de la terre et histoire naturelle andagrave; l'aube des Lumiandegrave;res; Boucher de Perthes: Les Origines romantiques de la prandeacute;histoire; and L'Homme des origines: Savoirs et fictions en prandeacute;histoire. She is currently writing a new book about women in prehistory and preparing (with Andrandeacute; Wakefield) the first English edition of Leibniz's Protogaea.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Foreword

Preface to the American Edition

Preface

Introduction

PART I: IMAGES

1 The Mammoth Appears

PART II: MYTHS

2 Saint Augustine and the Giants

3 Leibniz's Unicorn

4 Identifying an Elephant: The

Russian Mamont, the Elephant,

and the Flood

PART III: STORIES

5 The "Vast Mahmout" and the Birth

of the American Nation

6 The Mammoth and the "Revolutions

of the Surface of the Globe"

7 The Mammoth in Victorian Times

8 Of Mammoths and Men

9 The Mammoth in the Trees

10 From Africa to Alaska: The Travels

of the Mammoth

11 Cloning the Mammoth? Elephants,

Computers, and Molecules

12 Life and Death of Mammoths:

Scenarios for an Extinction

Conclusion: The Future of

Paleontology

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226112923
Subtitle:
Fossils, Myth, and History
Translator:
Rodarmor, William
Translator:
Rodarmor, William
Author:
Rodarmor, William
Author:
Cohen, Claudine
Publisher:
University Of Chicago Press
Location:
Chicago
Subject:
Paleontology
Subject:
Fossils
Subject:
Mammoths
Subject:
Geology-Paleontology
Edition Description:
1
Series Volume:
643
Publication Date:
20020402
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
23 halftones, 46 line drawings
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » Geology » Fossils
Science and Mathematics » Geology » Paleontology

The Fate of the Mammoth: Fossils, Myth, and History New Hardcover
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Product details 336 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226112923 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
From cave paintings to the latest Siberian finds, woolly mammoths have fascinated people across Europe, Asia, and North America for centuries. Remains of these enormous prehistoric animals were among the first fossils to be recognized as such, and they have played a crucial role in the birth and development of paleontology. In this lively, wide-ranging look at the fate of the mammoth, Claudine Cohen reanimates this large mammal with heavy curved tusks and shaggy brown hair through its history in science, myth, and popular culture.

Cohen uses the mammoth and the theories that naturalists constructed around it to illuminate wider issues in the history of science, showing how changing views about a single object reveal the development of scientific methods, practices, and ideas. How are fossils discovered, reconstructed, displayed, and interpreted? What stories are told about them, by whom, and how do these stories reflect the cultures and societies in which they are told?

To find out, Cohen takes us on a grand tour of the study of mammoth remains, from England, Germany, and France to Russia and America, and from the depths of Africa to the frozen frontiers of Alaska and Siberia, where intact mammoth corpses have been discovered in the permafrost. Along the way, she shows how paleontologists draw on myth and history, as well as on scientific evidence, to explore the deep history of the earth and of life. Cohen takes her history from the sixteenth century right up to the present, when researchers are using molecular biology to retrieve mammoth DNA, calling up dreams of cloning the mammoth and one day seeing herds of woolly mammoths roaming the frozen steppes.

"Synopsis" by , In this lively look at the fate of the woolly mammoth, Cohen reanimates this creature with curved tusks and shaggy brown hair through its history in science, myth, and popular culture. 23 halftones. 46 drawings.
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