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The Cenozoic: The Age of Mammals
Miocene Mammals by Charles R. Knight
"Miocene Plains Mammals," painting by Charles R. Knight, reproduced here courtesy of The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago

When it comes to fossils, dinosaurs and the great reptiles of the Mesozoic get most of the popular press. Our own relatives, the mammals of days long ago, aren't nearly as well known. Which is a pity, because in some ways the story of mammals over the ages is nearly as interesting as that of the dinosaurs. I have a variety of books about fossil mammals. A few focus on individual groups, like the horses, but most are just about mammals in general.

Fossil Horses

The Equidae, or horses, are among the most interesting and the best-documented groups of fossil mammals. These books focus on fossil horses:

  • FOSSIL HORSES: Systematics, Paleobiology, and Evolution of the Family Equidae
    Author: MacFadden, Bruce
    Copyright:1992
    Publisher: Cambridge Univ. Press
    ISBN: 0-521-47708-5
    A very detailed look at fossil horses, including evolution, distribution, paleobiology, etc. This has more or less replaced Simpson's classic HORSES as the definitive work on the subject.
  • HORSES
    Author: Simpson, G.G.
    Copyright:1951
    Publisher: Doubleday & Co.
    ISBN:
    This is the classic work on horse evolution. Simpson was an expert on fossil equines, and this was his masterwork on the subject. Unfortunately, the last I knew it was long out of print and now quite rare.

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Other Specific Mammal Groups

There are plenty of other mammal groups, some known only from fossils, others that have both living and fossil members. These books are about some of those other groups of fossil mammals:

  • MAMMOTHS, MASTODONS, AND ELEPHANTS: BIOLOGY, BEHAVIOR AND THE FOSSIL RECORD
    Author: Haynes, Gary
    Copyright:1991
    Publisher: Cambridge Univ. Press
    ISBN: 0-521-45691-6
    A study of the Proboscidea (elephants and their relatives) over geologic time.

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General Books about Mammal Evolution

Many groups of fossil mammals are well-known enough to provide good fodder for discussing the evolutionary processes they've gone through. These books deal with mammal fossils and evolution in general:

  • HISTORY OF THE PRIMATES
    Author: W. E. Le Gros Clark
    Copyright:1949
    Publisher: British Museum of Natural
    ISBN:

  • IN THE SHADOW OF THE DINOSAURS: EARLY MESOZOIC TETRAPODS
    Author: Fraser & Sues
    Copyright:1994
    Publisher: Cambridge Univ. Press
    ISBN: 0-521-45899-4
    A collection of articles on mammals of the Mesozoic Era, when the furballs lived side by side (or side by foot) with the mighty dinosaurs. Most people don't know the story of the Mesozoic mammals, but it's worth studying because so much of what mammals are today grows out of what they were then.
  • MESOZOIC MAMMALS
    Author: Various
    Copyright:1979
    Publisher: University of California
    ISBN: 0-520-03582-8
    A collection of articles on mammals of the Mesozoic Era, when the furballs lived side by side (or side by foot) with the mighty dinosaurs. Most people don't know the story of the Mesozoic mammals, but it's worth studying because so much of what mammals are today grows out of what they were then.
  • RISE OF THE MAMMALS, THE
    Author: Benton, Michael
    Copyright:1991
    Publisher: Crescent Books
    ISBN: 0-517-02561-2
    A nontechnical survey of mammalian origins and evolution. The text is rather limited and short on detail, but the illustrations are magnificent.
  • WHITE RIVER BADLANDS, THE
    Author: O'Harra, Cleophas C.
    Copyright:1920
    Publisher: SD School of Mines
    ISBN:

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