4 out of 5 stars
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.
There is nowhere else on this planet that is like Madagascar. Separated from the continent of Africa and the sub-continent of India millions of years ago, the flora and fauna that evolved there, is unique. They have had enormous tortoises, and giant flightless birds in the past and the current animals that live there are equally strange. We are frequent visitors to Jersey and I always love seeing the lemurs that they have at the zoo there, especially the aye-aye.
But how did it get to the point? This is the subject of this book and Alison Richard will take us back aeons in time to describe the geology behind the creation of this place and then onto how the creatures and plants that ended up there evolved in their own unique way to solve the problems of being on that part of the planet at that particular time.
Humans were relatively late arrivals on this island, the first footprints dating back to a mere 10,00 years ago. There are very few sites of these ancient humans, but it is through more will be discovered now the experts know what they are looking for. People arrived from Africa and from across the Indian ocean. They had a small impact, to begin with, but that has changed as the island has reached the modern age.
I thought that this was an interesting book. To call this well-researched would be an understatement, Richard has been going there since the early 1970s and knows it inside out. The place is an anomaly in so many ways and Richard does a great job of conveying just how unusual almost everything is there. It is not written in dry academic tones, rather the prose is very readable and accessible to the general reader. If you want to know about the long history of the fascinating place, this is a good place to start.