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At the Foot of the Himalayas

Paleontology and Ecosystem Dynamics of the Siwalik Record

edited by Catherine Badgley, Michèle E. Morgan, and David Pilbeam

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This authoritative volume brings together decades of insights from one of the longest terrestrial fossil records on the planet.

The fabled Himalayas have isolated and sheltered the Indian subcontinent for millions of years. The Siwalik sequence of sediments at their feet has been a treasure trove of visions into the past for generations of paleontologists, preserving an immense 20 million years of terrestrial ecosystems' fossil record. The Siwalik sequence reveals a unique forest wonderland of diverse animal species: from huge elephant relatives, great rhinos, and sabertooth cats, to mongooses...

This authoritative volume brings together decades of insights from one of the longest terrestrial fossil records on the planet.

The fabled Himalayas have isolated and sheltered the Indian subcontinent for millions of years. The Siwalik sequence of sediments at their feet has been a treasure trove of visions into the past for generations of paleontologists, preserving an immense 20 million years of terrestrial ecosystems' fossil record. The Siwalik sequence reveals a unique forest wonderland of diverse animal species: from huge elephant relatives, great rhinos, and sabertooth cats, to mongooses, swamp rats, crocodiles, and catfish. Regional climate change eventually caused this forest ecosystem to unravel, as grasslands replaced the forests and established the habitats and animals of the modern ecosystems of the Indus and Ganges rivers.

In At the Foot of the Himalayas, celebrated paleontologists Catherine Badgley, Michèle Morgan, and David Pilbeam bring together a collection of world-renowned scholars to present an interdisciplinary approach to documenting and interpreting this fossil record. By investigating changes in landscape, climate, and vertebrate species diversity, their analysis reveals insights into a central question about biodiversity: which evolutionary developments were influenced by changes in climate, and which were caused by interactions among the species themselves? This groundbreaking book illuminates for the first time a mysterious and vibrant paleontological past, bringing together more than 40 years of exciting international collaborative studies that forge invaluable knowledge pathways for the ecologists, evolutionary scientists, and paleontologists of the future, and pose important questions about our fragile ecosystems in the present day.

Reviews

Reviews

An astonishing achievement. A beautifully integrated, multidisciplinary synthesis for a wide audience, an excellent introduction to terrestrial paleontology of the Cenozoic, a treasure trove for the specialist, a mesmerizing slow read for the connoisseur. Also a unique story, lovingly told by its participants, many of whom have been there since it all began fifty years ago. For me, a candidate for the book of the decade.

As with a crucial fossil encased in rocky matrix, preparation of this monograph has been eagerly anticipated. Initial observations presaged its central importance to paleobiology, but this final cleaning and assembly reveals the sweeping implications of the Siwaliks project: questions it answers and cannot answer, and new questions we never thought to ask.

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Book Details

Release Date
Publication Date
Status
Preorder
Trim Size
8.5
x
11
Pages
516
ISBN
9781421450278
Illustration Description
100 color illus., 70 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

Preface
Part I: Preamble to Framing Chapters
1. A Long Story
2. Rocks, Rivers, and Time
3. Documenting the Siwalik Fossil Record
4. Siwalik Taphonomy: Fossil Assemblage Preservation
5. Stable Isotopes as a

Preface
Part I: Preamble to Framing Chapters
1. A Long Story
2. Rocks, Rivers, and Time
3. Documenting the Siwalik Fossil Record
4. Siwalik Taphonomy: Fossil Assemblage Preservation
5. Stable Isotopes as a Record of Ecological Change in the Siwalik Group of Pakistan
Part II: Preamble to Biota Chapters
6. Freshwater Molluscan Fossils of the Siwalik Record of the Potwar Plateau
7. Fishes in the Siwalik Record
8. Siwalik Reptilia, Exclusive of Aves
9. Siwalik Birds
10. Siwalik Small Mammals: Hedgehogs, Shrews, Bats, and Treeshrews
11. Siwalik Glires
12. Primates
13. Siwalik Creodonta and Carnivora
14. Tubulidentata and Pholidota
15. Siwalik Proboscidea
16. Equidae from the Potwar Plateau, Pakistan
17. Siwalik Chalicotheriidae
18. Rhinocerotids from the Siwalik faunal sequence
19. Siwalik Suidae and Palaeochoeridae
20. Siwalik Hippopotamoidea
21. Siwalik Tragulidae
22. The Siwalik Giraffoidea
23. Siwalik Bovidae
Part III: Preamble to Synthetic Chapters
24. Reconstructing Miocene Paleoecology from Rocks and Faunas
25. Mammalian Community Structure and Patterns of Faunal Change
26. Taxonomic and Ecological Dynamics of Siwalik Mammalian Faunas
27. Highlights of the Siwalik Record and Future Research Opportunities
Notes
Subject Index
Taxonomic Index

Author Bios
Featured Contributor

Catherine Badgley

Catherine Badgley is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Residential College at the University of Michigan.
Featured Contributor

Michèle E. Morgan

Michèle Morgan is the Curator of Osteology and Paleoanthropology at the Peabody Museum at Harvard University.
Featured Contributor

David Pilbeam

David Pilbeam is a professor emeritus in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, and longtime curator of paleoanthropology at the Peabody Museum.