The intriguing theory of a land bridge periodically linking Siberia and Alaska during the coldest pulsations of the Ice Ages had been much debated since Jose de Acosta, a Spanish missionary working in Mexico and Peru, first proposed the idea of a connection between the continents in 1589. But proof of the land bridge – now named Beringia after eighteenth-century Danish explorer Vitus Bering – eluded scientists until an inquiring geologist named Dave Hopkins emerged from rural New England and set himself to the task of solving the mystery. Through the life story of Hopkins, The Last Giant of Beringia reveals the fascinating science detective story that at last confirmed the existence of the land bridge that served as the intercontinental migration route for such massive Ice Age beasts as woolly mammoths, steppe bison, giant stag-moose, dire wolves, short-faced bears, and saber-toothed cats – and for the first humans to enter the New World from Asia. After proving unambiguously that the land bridge existed, Hopkins went on to show that the Beringian landscape cannot have been the “polar desert” that many had claimed, but provided forage enough to sustain a diverse menagerie of Ice Age behemoths.
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