Return to the sea: the life and evolutionary times of marine mammals.

Return to the sea: the life and evolutionary times of marine mammals. Annalisa Berta.

Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012. Octavo, laminated boards, black and white photographs, illustrations, line drawings, maps, graphs, tables.

This title portrays the life and evolutionary times of marine mammals in a way the non-specialist can understand. It gives a fascinating account of giant whales and sea cows that originated 55 million years ago to the deep diving elephant seals and clam-eating walruses of modern times. This book explores the origin of various marine mammal lineages, some extinct, others extant but threatened. Set against a backdrop of geologic time, changing climates, and changing geography, evolution is the unifying principle that helps us to understand the present day diversity of marine mammals and their responses to environmental challenges. Berta explains current controversies and looks at patterns of change taking place today, such as shifting food webs and predator-prey relationships, habitat degradation, global warming, and the effects of humans on marine mammal communities.

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