Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Mini-Review: The Rise and Reign of the Mammals by Steve Brusatte


The Rise and Reign of the Mammals by Steve Brusatte
Mariner Books
Publication Date: June 7th, 2022
Hardcover. 528 pages.

About The Rise and Reign of the Mammals:

"A sweeping and revelatory new history of mammals, illuminating the lost story of the extraordinary family tree that led to us

Though humans claim to rule the Earth, we are the inheritors of a dynasty that has reigned over the planet for nearly 66 million years, through fiery cataclysm and ice ages: the mammals. Our lineage includes saber-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths, armadillos the size of a car, cave bears three times the weight of a grizzly, clever scurriers that outlasted Tyrannosaurus rex, and even other types of humans, like Neanderthals. Indeed humankind and many of the beloved fellow mammals we share the planet with today--lions, whales, dogs--represent only the few survivors of a sprawling and astonishing family tree that has been pruned by time and mass extinctions. How did we get here?

In his acclaimed bestseller The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, American paleontologist Steve Brusatte enchanted readers with his definitive his - tory of the dinosaurs. Now, picking up the narrative in the ashes of the extinction event that doomed T-rex and its kind, Brusatte explores the remarkable story of the family of animals that inherited the Earth--mammals-- and brilliantly reveals that their story is every bit as fascinating and complex as that of the dinosaurs.

Beginning with the earliest days of our lineage some 325 million years ago, Brusatte charts how mammals survived the asteroid that claimed the dinosaurs and made the world their own, becoming the astonishingly diverse range of animals that dominate today's Earth. Brusatte also brings alive the lost worlds mammals inhabited through time, from ice ages to volcanic catastrophes. Entwined in this story is the detective work he and other scientists have done to piece together our understanding using fossil clues and cutting-edge technology."

I had a blast with Steven Brusatte's The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs, so when The Rise and Reign of the Mammals was announced I knew it was going to be a well-researched and fascinating read. How often to do any of really stop and think about mammals as a whole and their development and role in the world's development? I know I don't, so I was that this book proved to be a bounty of information on the subject.

What I liked: Brusatte does an excellent job of incorporating immense amounts of fascinating and useful information into a very readable and accessible-size book. 500 pages is a considerable size, but this has the information of probably a whole series of books and manages to condense it in a way that was still wholly informative and also helped me follow along easily with the timeline, since there is so much to keep track of. I think Brusatte categorizes information well and conveys it in a way that is approachable and makes sense for the average reader. I loved learning about the evolution of mammals from the beginning until now, and I think Brusatte led readers along perfectly in their timeline. He tackles everything from mammalian origins we've never thought about to saber toothed tigers and woolly mammoths (spoiler: these two species weren't even enemies and probably didn't even interact much! We can still enjoy Ice Age, though) to the gradual development of man as it is today.

What I didn't like: It feels a bit silly to complain about info-dumping in a book like this, but there were a few times throughout where I feel like Brusatte just gets a little carried away with listing off a lot of scientific names/etc. in sequence that makes it hard to maintain attention and understanding. I listened to this on audiobook and I didn't particular care for the narrator, either, but that's a purely personal opinion because he did a great job otherwise! Other than that, I have no real dislikes about this book. 

Overall, it's four stars from me! If you're at all interested in the origins of mammals, their evolutions, how things changed from dinosaurs dominating to mammals, and so on, then this is something you have to check out. 

*I received a copy of The Rise and Reign of Mammals courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy the book: Amazon | Bookshop.org

1 comment:

  1. This sounds fascinating! Not sure I have time to add non fiction to my reading, but if I did I'd probably pick up something like this.