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Beasts Before Us


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This is the story of our most ancient of ancestors: mammals. This book reframes the narrative of mammal evolution, and proves they weren't just precursors, they were pioneers.

About the Author

Dr Elsa Panciroli is a palaeontologist who studies the evolution and ecology of extinct animals. She is a researcher based at the University of Oxford and associate researcher at the National Museums of Scotland. Elsa is a keen science speaker and communicator. She has contributed to the Guardian and Biological Sciences Review, as well as to radio and podcast programmes such as Crowdscience, The John Beatty Show and Our Lives.


Smart, passionate and seditious * The New York Times Book Review *
A pioneering study ... If you thought it all began with the extinction of the non-bird dinosaurs ... think again. * Nature *
Under Ms. Panciroli's adroit tutelage, the Carboniferous and Permian (pre-dinosaur) periods are brought to life ... she regularly enlivens this surprisingly readable book with quick and often humorous observations. * The Wall Street Journal *

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