Chuckwalla Land : The Riddle of California's Desert

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 5/5/2011
  • Publisher: Univ of California Pr
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Described as "a writer in the tradition of Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and other self-educated seers" by theSan Francisco Chronicle, David Rains Wallace turns his attention in this new book to another distinctive corner of California--its desert, the driest and hottest environment in North America. Drawing from his frequent forays to Death Valley, Red Rock Canyon, Kelso Dunes, and other locales, Wallace illuminates the desert's intriguing flora and fauna as he explores a controversial, unresolved scientific debate about the origin and evolution of its unusual ecosystems. Eminent scientists and scholars appear throughout these pages, including maverick paleobiologist Daniel Axelrod, botanist Ledyard Stebbins, and naturalists Edmund Jaeger and Joseph Wood Krutch. Weaving together ecology, geology, natural history, and mythology in his characteristically eloquent voice, Wallace reveals that there is more to this starkly beautiful landscape than meets the eye.

Table of Contents

Prologue. Bushes and Lizardsp. xi
A Sphinx in Arcadyp. 1
The Country of Dried Skinp. 6
A Cactus Heresyp. 11
The Creator's Dumping Groundp. 16
An Evolutionary Backwaterp. 21
Anti-Darwinian Lacertiliansp. 26
Descriptive Confusionp. 34
A Murderous Broodp. 40
Hopeful Monstersp. 50
An Old Earth-Featurep. 55
A Climatic Accidentp. 61
An Evolutionary Frontierp. 69
A Neo-Darwinian Galapagosp. 75
Mexican Genesesp. 81
Desert Relictsp. 87
Madro-Tertiary Attitudesp. 95
A Friendly Landp. 100
Furry Paleontologistsp. 109
Dawn Horses and Dinosaursp. 117
Axelrod Antagonistesp. 122
The Midday Sunp. 129
Lacertilian Ambiguitiesp. 139
Xerothermic Invasionsp. 146
Sand Swimmersp. 151
Axelrod Ascendantp. 156
An Evolutionary Museump. 160
The Riddle of the Palmsp. 165
Bushes and Camelsp. 173
Axelrod Askewp. 180
Paradigms Postponedp. 187
The Falcon and the Shrikesp. 194
Epilogue. The Sphinx's Lairp. 203
Notesp. 211
Selected Bibliographyp. 229
Indexp. 241
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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