Download e-book for iPad: Africa: A Biography of the Continent by John Reader

By John Reader

ISBN-10: 0141926937

ISBN-13: 9780141926933

Drawing on decades of African adventure, John Reader has written a ebook of startling grandeur and scope that recreates the nice landscape of African background, from the primeval cataclysms that shaped the continent to the political upheavals dealing with a lot of the continent at the present time. Reader tells the extreme tale of humankind's version to the ferocious stumbling blocks of woodland, river and wilderness, and to the specter of debilitating parasites, micro organism and viruses unequalled in other places on this planet. He additionally exhibits how the world's richest collection of animals and vegetation has helped - or hindered - human growth in Africa.

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Extra info for Africa: A Biography of the Continent

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Occupants of “stretched niches” on islands may be quite seriously affected if the continental occupant of the same niche ever shows up. If a re a l woodpecker were ever introduced to the Galápagos Islands, for example, it would likely be more efficient than the false woodpecker finch and might outcompete it or even drive it to extinction. MAKING PARALLEL EVOLUTION POSSIBLE. When a single lineage (such as the rails of the Pacific oceanic islands) colonizes a range of isolated locations and evolves into many separate but related species, the resulting forms look alike 40 Part One.

The twenty-seven Galápagos Islands off the Pacific coast of Peru support fourteen finch species, all derived from a single ancestral species that colonized the archipelago. In contrast, Cocos Island, a single island off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, supports only one finch species. Chapter 2. Private Worlds 37 Other physical features may also divide habitats into multiple sectors, each of which is equivalent ecologically but isolated physically (at least to some species). Such features also allow separate evolution in each local area.

In general, though, evolution appears to have gone to more elaborate lengths in the tropics than anywhere else. OLD HABITATS ARE RICH HABITATS. No matter what the geographical context, evolution takes time. Whether diversity increases slowly or rapidly depends on many factors, but large-scale catastrophic disturbance—for example, the advance and retreat of continental glaciers—will always set the clock back. Consequently, some of the most diverse ecosystems on earth are those that have remained relatively undisturbed the longest.

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Africa: A Biography of the Continent by John Reader

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