Book cover for 'Ancient Life of the Great Lakes Basin'
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Michigan and the Great Lakes

Ancient Life of the Great Lakes Basin

Precambrian to Pleistocene
J. Alan Holman
A review of the ancient life of the Great Lakes Basin from the Precambrian through the Ice Age


Today, Michigan is home to many different animals and plants. Yet nearly 12,000 years ago it was home to very different kinds of animals and flora. Huge mastodons and mammoths roamed through southern Michigan. Whales, walruses, and giant rodents swam in the lakes, and shaggy musk oxen grazed in the woodlands. Now, 2000 years later, all but their fossils are gone.

Ancient Life of the Great Lakes Basin provides a one-of-a- kind look at ancient life in the Great Lakes. Written for the layperson and for the professional with biological or geological interest in the Great Lakes region, the book describes most of the common fossils found in this region. Detailed illustrations help identify many of the fossilized organisms that can be found today. Among the most interesting illustrations presented in the book are Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen's conceptions of what the fossilized creatures may have looked like when they were alive. In addition, color illustrations by van Frankenhuyzen depict spectacular scenes of ancient life in the Great Lakes area.

The book begins with a brief review of biological and geological principles and then offers a framework for the study of the fossil record. Methods of collection, preservation and maintenance of fossils are also presented. Throughout the book, common fossils found today embedded in rocks and other solid matter are emphasized.

J. Alan Holman is Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology in the Michigan State University Museum, and Professor of Geological Sciences, Michigan State University.

Look Inside


1. Introduction     1
2. Geological History of the Great Lakes Basin     15
3. The Five Biological Kingdoms     41
4. Paleoecological Concepts     79
5. Fossil Study     85
6. Collecting Fossils     93
7. Fossils of Simple Organisms and Plants     103
8. Fossil Invertebrates     121
9. Fossil Vertebrates     141
10. History of Life in the Great Lakes Basin     223
11. Living Fossils     255

Where to Learn More     265
Bibliography     271
Index     277

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 295pp.
  • 11 color drawing insert & 87 figures.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1995
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06534-9

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  • $24.95 U.S.