David Garrioch reviews 'Europe: A Natural History' by Tim Flannery

David Garrioch reviews 'Europe: A Natural History' by Tim Flannery

Europe: A Natural History

by Tim Flannery

Text Publishing, $34.99 pb, 357 pp, 9781925603941

David Garrioch

David Garrioch

David Garrioch is Professor of History at Monash University, where he has taught environmental history, the history of slavery, of the

...

If the past is a foreign country, the distant past is a very foreign one indeed. Tim Flannery’s new book takes us deep into the prehistory of Europe. Climbing aboard the time machine that he repeatedly invites us to use, we glimpse pygmy dinosaurs and terrifying terminator pigs the size of cows. We meet, on the island of Gargano in what is now southern Italy, a giant carnivorous hedgehog. Later, we learn of hippos in the Thames and woolly rhinos in Scotland, encounter a cobra in ancient Hungary and a small ape in what is now Tuscany. For much of the past hundred million years, the climate of the zone we call Europe was tropical or semi-tropical. Huge straight-tusked elephants wandered the continent, their dwarf descendants (only one metre tall) surviving in Cyprus until about 11,000 years ago. Europe’s natural history turns out to be dramatic, yet on timescales that are hard for most of us to absorb.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are already a subscriber, click here, or on the ‘Log In’ tab in the top right hand corner of the screen, and enter your username and password to log in. If you have logged in but are still seeing this message your subscription to ABR Online may have expired. Please contact us or click here to renew your subscription to ABR Online. More information about ABR Online can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Published in November 2018, no. 406

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.