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, the world 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 inNorth America, discusses the Pleistocene amphibians and reptiles in Britain and the European continent eastward through present-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 anemphasis on regional terms used to define Pleistocene chronological events. Next, a look at the pre-Pleistocene herpetofauna 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, beginning with a discussion of herpetological species as paleoenvironmental indicators andcontinuing 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 compares Pleistocene herpetological events in Europe with those in North America. This volume and itscompanion together provide an up-to-date and comprehensive review of Pleistocene herpetofaunas across a significant portion of the Northern Hemisphere.
Pleistocene Amphibians and Reptiles in Britain and Europe
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