Thursday, October 8, 2009
After Man: A Zoology of the Future
I've been on a history of life kick lately, rereading a ton of books like "The Long Road to Man" by Robert L. Lehrman, one of the best books ever written about human evolution.
And it means going back to what has to be my all time favorite, "After Man: A Zoology of the Future," a book that takes what is currently known about the laws of evolution and makes educated guesses about the flora and fauna of the future.
The book is painted and fully illustrated and describes the strange way life has evolved after human beings, with fully-accurate scientific speculations about the direction life might take, like penguins the size of whales with bahleen-strained beaks, or a swimming monkey with froglike legs and webbed feet and hands that grabs fish.
By far the weirdest speculation was the idea that, eventually a predator would emerge to claim the last mostly predator-free ecosystem, the treetops, where monkeys live happily and nature can slack off with useless mammals like the sloth.
The striger was a nightmare, a jungle cat with the body of a monkey. I love the idea of a treetop predator shocking the monkeys out of their aloof complacency. Take that, suckers!
If you find this in your library, don't hesitate to check it out...or buy it. It's the sort of book that you want close by to periodically reread.