2013: Notable Natural History - Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan by J. Alan Holman

book cover, Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan2013 Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan by J. Alan Holman (Wayne State University Press)

With its temperate climate and variety of habitats, Michigan supports a diverse array of animals and plants, including fifty-four species of amphibians and reptiles. The dispersal and biology of the Michigan herpetofauna—amphibians and reptiles—is even more unique because Michigan consists of two peninsulas that project into large freshwater seas and also because it was completely covered by a massive ice sheet a relatively short time ago. In The Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan: A Quaternary and Recent Faunal Adventure, Dr. Holman explored the state’s amphibians and reptiles in detail and with many helpful illustrations, making this the only volume of its kind available.  Dr. Holman was curator emeritus of vertebrate paleontology at the Michigan State University Museum, emeritus professor of geology and zoology at Michigan State University, and a museum associate at the University of Nebraska State Museum. He was considered the leading authority of New World fossil snakes and published more than 260 works in paleoherpetology, herpetology, and vertebrate paleontology. Dr. Holman died before finishing this new book.  His colleague and friend, Jim Harding, helped complete some details so the book could be published. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan, which includes 54 creatures, was included on the 2013 list of Michigan Notable Books.  It was also listed for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award in the Science/Nature/Environment category.  “This collection should be heartily welcomed by herpetologists, vertebrate paleontologists, zoologists, ecologists, and general biologists. Finally, I'm certain the book will be embraced by anyone who loves salamanders, frogs, turtles, and snakes. I have tried to write with as little scientific jargon as possible. But, when jargon has slithered into my writing, please forgive me for it. I have included some whimsical accounts of my experiences in the field and laboratory with both fossil and modern amphibians and reptiles, as well as a wee bit of levity now and then."

– J. Alan Holman

Holman, J. Alan, Amphibians and Reptiles of Michigan: a Quaternary and Recent Faunal Adventure. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2012.

Holman, J. Alan, Ancient Life of the Great Lakes Basin: Precambrian to Pleistocene. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1995. 

Holman, J. Alan, In Quest of Great Lakes Ice Age Vertebrates. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2011.

Holman, J. Alan, Fossil Frogs and Toads of North America. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2003.

Holman, J. Alan, Fossil Salamanders of North America. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2006.

Holman, J. Alan, Fossil Snakes of North America: Origin, Evolution, Distribution, Paleoecology. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2000.

Holman, J. Alan and Dr. Margaret B. Holman, Michigan Roadside Naturalist. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2003.

Holman, J. Alan and James H. Harding, Michigan Snakes: a Field Guide and Pocket Reference. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University extension, 2006.