We live in the Age of Kangaroos, a time when roos dominate the plains, deserts, and forests, if you recognize an Australian perspective. (If you do, you probably also like the world maps with the South Pole at the top.) We missed the Age of the Koalas and the Age of Wombats, when large creates browsed and grazed across the island continent. The evidence is in the fossils discovered by Tim Flannery, author of Chasing Kangaroos: A Continent, A Scientist, and a Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Creature.
In this part-memoir/part-kangaroo history, Flannery tells us how a natural scientist seeks evidence of species both living and long dead to complete an evolutionary understanding of a continental ecosystem. Though much of the work is out in the field, some of the methods will surprise you. Early in his career, Flannery was taught by British paleontologists that the easiest way to find fossils in Australia is head to the local pub for a pint of strong brew. Look behind the bar and you'll usually find a row of interesting rocks and bones. The bartender will tell you who found them and where to head. Take some bottles to go, for it will be hot where he sends you.
Flannery also has some unique fossil cleaning skills. When fearful that his tools might break a small specimen, he pops it in his mouth and lets his tongue work at removing ancient grit.
Flannery has been successful in his work, having identified and named four Australian species of tree kangaroos. His book is also entertaining and insightful. Look for it in your library.
Flannery, Tim. Chasing Kangaroos: A Continent, A Scientist, and a Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Creature. Grove Press, 2007. ISBN 9780802118523.