Review by Kristen
Otherlands: A Journey Through Earth’s Extinct Worlds by Thomas Halliday is like time traveling back through the epochs of Earth’s biological and geological history. Each chapter is set in an ancient Earthly world. Each setting in the book is described by Halliday using the iconic fossils of flora and fauna from well-known fossil sites known to us from the prehistoric past. It is a fascinating, descriptive, and evocative picture of what the world was like millions of years ago across the many ages of the Earth.
Halliday touches upon many of paleobiology’s biggest aha moments – from Lake Lonyumun’s Australopithecus anamensis to the Xenarthran’s and raft monkeys that evolved in South America to the Lepidodendron tree die-offs en masse at Mazon Creek. Halliday touches upon it all with eloquent prose; almost like watching a prehistoric movie unfold. Perhaps most alluring (or most frightening, or most comforting) from this story of the Earth is its adaptability to change. The epilogue ends with riveting statements regarding humanity’s influence today and how it will be felt into the future. This is an excellent book for fans of paleontology and those who like fossils, geology, or learning about the ancient Earth.
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