by Scott A. Elias

Book Summary:

During the last ice age, glacier formed high in the Rocky Mountains and carved out the peaks and valleys visible today. Recreating the landscape and life forms of this era of the last great glaciations (from 10,000 to 125,000 years ago), this guidebook describes a little-known yet pivotal period in the ecological history of four western national parks: Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Rocky Mountain.// Scott A. Elias describes how great sheets of ice spread over and changed the shape of the land, forming the steep-walled valleys and braided rivers of Glacier National Park, the chain of so-called "pater noster" lakes in the lower Rockies, and the end moraines that dammed Jenny, Bradley, Taggart, and Phelps lakes in the Grand Teton park. Drawing on fossil evidence, he also introduces the large animals that thrived 21,000 years ago: dire wolves, short-faced bears, American cheetahs, and mammoths; these animals and others abruptly died off at the end of the last glaciation. He recounts the coming of humans to the region, and ascendance of the ecosystems we see today, and the lasting features (plant, animal, and topographical) of the last ice age

This guidebook along with its companion on the ice-age history of Alaskan national parks, relates as well the kinds of evidence and methods scientists use to reconstruct past environments. Covering geology, climate, ancient plant and animal life, and human presence, Elias introduces paleoecology - the interactions among plants, animals, and the prehistoric ecosystems - to hikers, tourists, and armchair travelers.

Scott A. Elias is a fellow of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, and a research associate of the University of Alaska Museum. He is the author of Ice-Age History of Alaskan National Parks (1995) and Quaternary Insects and their Environments (1994), published by Smithsonian Institution Press.

Travel/Natural History: 25 b&w; photographs, 61 maps and line drawings; 6 X 9 (152 X 229 mm) Paper: ISBN 1-56098-524-0 $16.95 Available: December, 1995

Orders in North and South America: Smithsonian Institution Press, P. O. Box 960, Herndon, VA 22070-0960; tel. 800-782-4612

To see a summary of my other books, click on one of the following titles:

Ice Age Environments of Alaskan National Parks

My book on Quaternary Insects and Their Environments

Quaternary Entomology Dispatch (a newsletter)

Other natural history titles offered by Smithsonian Institution Press

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This page, and all contents, are Copyright (C) 1994 by Scott A. Elias, Boulder, Colorado, USA.