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The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs

The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs



  • David E. Fastovsky (Author)
  • David B. Weishampel (Author)
  • John Sibbick (Illustrator)


  • Hardcover: 500 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (February 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521811724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521811729
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 8.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.85 pounds


Book Description

Written for non-specialists, this detailed survey of dinosaur origins, diversity, and extinction is designed as a series of successive essays covering important and timely topics in dinosaur paleobiology, such as "warm-bloodedness," birds as living dinosaurs, the new, non-flying feathered dinosaurs, dinosaur functional morphology, and cladistic methods in systematics. Its explicitly phylogenetic approach to the group is that taken by dinosaur specialists. The book is not an edited compilation of the works of many individuals, but a unique, cohesive perspective on Dinosauria. Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of new, specially commissioned illustrations by John Sibbick, world-famous illustrator of dinosaurs, the volume includes multi-page drawings as well as sketches and diagrams. First edition Hb (1996): 0-521-44496-9 David E. Fastovsky is Professor of Geosciences at the University of Rhode Island. Fastovsky, the author of numerous scientific publications dealing with Mesozoic vertebrate faunas and their ancient environments, is also scientific co-Editor of Geology. He has undertaken extensive fieldwork studying dinosaurs and their environments in Montana, North Dakota, Arizona, Mexico, and Mongolia. David B. Weishampel is a professor at the Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution at Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine. Weishampel is best known for discovering, researching, and naming several rare European dinosaur species. During the 1980s Weishampel gained fame for his work with American paleontologist Jack Horner and later named the famous plant-eating, egg-laying Orodromeus, Horner. Now, a decade after his pioneering studies with Horner, Weishampel is most widely known for his current work on the Romanian dinosaur fauna. He is the author and co-author of many titles, including The Dinosaur Papers, 1676-1906 (Norton, 2003); The Dinosauria, (University of California, 1990); and Dinosaurs of the East Coast, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996).  



The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs, February 2, 2004

The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs written by David E. Fastovsky and David B. Weishampel is primarily designed as a textbook. Although very readable this text can be used as a resource, the chapters build sequentially reflecting the nature our the science.

The idea within this text is simple: to use dinosaurs as an attractive vehicle to understand aspects of natural history. The dinosaurs are presented here in a phylogenetic context. The prose of phylogenetic systematics, however, can be rather vexing. For this reason, chapters in which the great groups of dinosaurs are discussed individually -in particular, Chapters 6 through 12- are organized in consistant fashion, making it easier for skimming the descriptions and systematic paleontology by going to the "Paleobiology and Paleoecology sections in the above chapters.

This text presents dinosaurs as professionals understand them… the study of dinosaurs has much to do with the history of life and of the earth, with the nature of nature, and with who we are. There are several photographs provided by museums and institutions giving the book greatly needed illustration.

Because dinosaurs have been known since 1818, a good deal is understood; by the same token, a 20-year-old revolution in methods of studying them has only in the last 10 really begun to overturn long-held ideas about them and their 160-million-year history on earth.

This textbook is divided into four parts where each part has subsequent chapters and is very well organized. The parts are:

Part 1: Setting the Stage… here we have five chapters, The introduction; The Mesozoic Era: Back to the Past; Discovering Order in the Natural World; Interrelationships of the Vertebrates; and The Origin of Dinosauria.

Part 2: Ornithischia… here we have five chapters, Stegosauria: Hot Plates; Ankylosauria: Mass and Gas;
Pachycephalosauria: Head-To-Head, with malice aforethought; Ceratopsia: Horns, Frills, and Slice-And-Dice; Ornithopoda: The Tuskers, Antelopes, and the Mightly Ducks of the Mesozoic

Part 3: Saurischia… here we have three chapters, Sauropodomorpha: The Big, The Bizarre, and The Majestic; Theropoda I: Nature Red in Tooth and Claw; and Theropoda II: The Origins of Birds.

Part 4: Endothermy, Environments, and Extinction where there are four chapters, Dinosaur Endothermy: Some Like it Hot; Dinosaurs in Space and Time; Reconstructing Extinctions: The Art of Science; and The Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction: The Frill is Gone.

There is an extensive glossary, taxonomic index of genera, and subject index helping to reader along and for further information. If you treat this book as a textbook you can use the information found in this book to further your knowledge in the realm of dinosauria.

This is a solid 4 star book filled with information. It may read dryly at times but the information contained within its pages is invaluable.