This book provides a comprehensive treatment of all the Pleistocene species in Europe, classified according to modern taxonomic principles. For each species there is a description of its descent and migration history, its range, and its mode of life.
The first version of this book was a semi popular paperback in the Swedish Aldus series. The present edition is completely rewritten and greatly expanded, but retains the non-technical approach to make the story accessible to readers with varying backgrounds. The first part of the book is an outline of the Pleistocene history of Europe, with its climatic changes and succession of mammalian faunas. In the second part are listed all the species of Mammalia known from the Pleistocene and Postglacial of Europe, with the evolution, range in time and space, and mode of life set down for each species, as far as known. The final part is an evaluation of the story in terms of evolution and palaeogeography.
The author begins with a description of the floral and faunal succession in Europe, from the Villafranchian period, when climatic changes were moderate, to the increasing temperature oscillations of the later Pleistocene, with its recurrent faunal revolutions. Against this background Kurten then deals with the whole range of the mammalian species, and his account is fully illustrated by reconstructions and text figures showing skeletal and odontological characters. The book concludes with an analysis of the material available for this study, which throws fresh light on several aspects of zoogeography, evolution, and ecology.
This is the most complete account of the mammalian species of Europe yet to appear, and will be of great value to all paleontologists.