Form and Life of the Rhinogrades

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Form and Life of the Rhinogrades

Post by schnautzr on Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:47 am

Alright, I like to let folks know when I have found a good book (and this time the book actually remotely has to do with prehistory!), so here's one for anyone who is up to a challenge.

Form and Life of the Rhinogrades (Bau und Leben der Rhinogradentia if you want the original in German) was written by Gerolf Steiner under the pen name Harold Stümpke, way back in 1962. It's a classic in the world of science, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has any interest in evolution.

Rhinogrades is written in the form of a professional piece of scientific literature (this reading isn't for the faint at heart!) -- it's intended to be a mock description of an entire order of mammals that evolved from a particularly greedy shrew on an archipelago that used its snout to break its pounce while grabbing its prey with all four limbs. Through loads of unpredicted variance and natural selections, Steiner demonstrates how a vast array of oddities (known as the snouters) evolve from this shrew.

This hilarious book is a must-read for anyone who studies evolution or taxonomy.

I also would recommend checking out the e-book version at http://www.sivatherium.narod.ru/library/Stumpke/book_en.htm which has photos of a taxidermist's models of the creatures.

Enjoy!
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schnautzr
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