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Journal of Mammalian Evolution

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 145–147 | Cite as

A Megadiverse Fauna Revealed

A Guide to the Mammals of China. Edited by Andrew T. Smith and Yan Xie. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 2008. 544 pp., $60.00 (cloth). ISBN 978-0-691-09984-2.
  • Kristofer M. Helgen
Book Review
  • 94 Downloads

Despite phenomenal biological richness, China’s mammal fauna is staggeringly little known, especially to Western scientists. This has always been the case. Incredibly, all of the 101 endemic mammals of China (by my count, from this book’s species accounts—the introduction says 109) were described within the last 150 years, beginning with the description of the Taiwan Serow (Capricornis swinhoei), a medium-sized goat-antelope, in 1862. These endemics comprise part of a regional fauna that was closed off and unknown to the earlier great describers of mammals—to Linnaeus in Sweden; Geoffroy, the Cuviers, and Desmarest in France; Pallas, Schreber, Wagner, and Peters in Germany; Temminck in Holland; and Waterhouse in Britain. Starting in the 1860s, regular description of tremendous zoological novelties from China, including very large mammals, was a stunning theme for a half century in mammalogy. Examples included Pere David’s deer (Elaphurus davidianus) in 1866, the Snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus...

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Copyright information

© US Government 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Mammals, National Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian InstitutionWashingtonUSA

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