By Tim Flannery, illustrated by Peter Schouten
Hardcover : 192 pages
September 10, 2001
A Gap in Nature : Discovering the World's Extinct Animals is an illustrating world representing nearly all of the animals that have gone extinct since the year 1500. (A list in back contains other animals and the reasons for why they weren't included.)
Each entry contains information about the creature- where it lived, how it died, what its behavior was like- and a fully colored illustration. The book contains some well known extinctions, like the Dodo, the Passenger Pigeon, and the Carolina Parakeet. It also has dozens of animals that you may have never knew existed, like the Bulldog Rat and Atitlan Grebe.
What amazed me is the number of birds, and island birds at that. So many of those species were only found on a few tiny islands, and died out so quickly after human contact that we know little about them.
I'd recommend this book to any animal lover. The illustrations are gorgeous and the information is fascinating, but sad. It's a great read for learning about the human impact on the animal kingdom over the last 500 years.