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Sixty-six million years ago, an object the size of a city descended from space to crash into Earth, creating a devastating cataclysm that killed off the dinosaurs, along with three-quarters of the other species on the planet. What was its origin? In Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, Lisa Randall proposes it was a comet that was dislodged from its orbit as the Solar System passed through a disk of dark matter embedded in the Milky Way. In a sense, it might have been dark matter that killed the dinosaurs.
Working through the background and consequences of this proposal, Randall shares with us the latest findings—established and speculative—regarding the nature and role of dark matter and the origin of the Universe, our galaxy, our Solar System, and life, along with the process by which scientists explore new concepts. In Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, Randall tells a breathtaking story that weaves together the cosmos’ history and our own, illuminating the deep relationships that are critical to our world and the astonishing beauty inherent in the most familiar things.
With excitement and driving intelligence, Richard Fortey guides us from the barren globe spinning in space, through the very earliest signs of life in the sulphurous hot springs and volcanic vents of the young planet, the appearance of cells, the slow creation of an atmosphere and the evolution of myriad forms of plants and animals that could then be sustained, including the magnificent era of the dinosaurs, and on to the last moment before the debut of Homo sapiens.
Ranging across multiple scientific disciplines, explicating in wonderfully clear and refreshing prose their findings and arguments--about the origins of life, the causes of species extinctions and the first appearance of man--Fortey weaves this history out of the most delicate traceries left in rock, stone and earth. He also explains how, on each aspect of nature and life, scientists have reached the understanding we have today, who made the key discoveries, who their opponents were and why certain ideas won.
Brimful of wit, fascinating personal experience and high scholarship, this book may well be our best introduction yet to the complex history of life on Earth.
A Book-of-the-Month Club Main Selection With 32 pages of photographs
From the Hardcover edition.
Tim M. Berra, whose "Darwin: The Man" lectures are in high demand worldwide, tells the fascinating story of the person and the idea that changed everything. Berra discusses Darwin’s revolutionary scientific work, its impact on modern-day biological science, and the influence of Darwin’s evolutionary theory on Western thought. But Berra digs deeper to reveal Darwin the man by combining anecdotes with carefully selected illustrations and photographs.
This small gem of a book includes 20 color plates and 60 black-and-white illustrations, along with an annotated list of Darwin’s publications and a chronology of his life.
The very latest discoveries in paleontology--many of them made by the author and his students--are integrated with emerging insights from molecular biology and earth system science to forge a broad understanding of how the biological diversity that surrounds us came to be. Moving from Siberia to Namibia to the Bahamas, Knoll shows how life and environment have evolved together through Earth's history. Innovations in biology have helped shape our air and oceans, and, just as surely, environmental change has influenced the course of evolution, repeatedly closing off opportunities for some species while opening avenues for others.
Readers go into the field to confront fossils, enter the lab to discern the inner workings of cells, and alight on Mars to ask how our terrestrial experience can guide exploration for life beyond our planet. Along the way, Knoll brings us up-to-date on some of science's hottest questions, from the oldest fossils and claims of life beyond the Earth to the hypothesis of global glaciation and Knoll's own unifying concept of ''permissive ecology.''
In laying bare Earth's deepest biological roots, Life on a Young Planet helps us understand our own place in the universe--and our responsibility as stewards of a world four billion years in the making.
In a new preface, Knoll describes how the field has broadened and deepened in the decade since the book's original publication.
In his New York Times bestseller, Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind, renowned paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson told the incredible story of his discovery of a partial female skeleton that revolutionized the study of human origins. Lucy literally changed our understanding of our world and who we come from. Since that dramatic find in 1974, there has been heated debate and–most important–more groundbreaking discoveries that have further transformed our understanding of when and how humans evolved.
In Lucy’s Legacy, Johanson takes readers on a fascinating tour of the last three decades of study–the most exciting period of paleoanthropologic investigation thus far. In that time, Johanson and his colleagues have uncovered a total of 363 specimens of Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy’s species, a transitional creature between apes and humans), spanning 400,000 years. As a result, we now have a unique fossil record of one branch of our family tree–that family being humanity–a tree that is believed to date back a staggering 7 million years.
Focusing on dramatic new fossil finds and breakthrough advances in DNA research, Johanson provides the latest answers that post-Lucy paleoanthropologists are finding to questions such as: How did Homo sapiens evolve? When and where did our species originate? What separates hominids from the apes? What was the nature of Neandertal and modern human encounters? What mysteries about human evolution remain to be solved?
Donald Johanson is a passionate guide on an extraordinary journey from the ancient landscape of Hadar, Ethiopia–where Lucy was unearthed and where many other exciting fossil discoveries have since been made–to a seaside cave in South Africa that once sheltered early members of our own species, and many other significant sites. Thirty-five years after Lucy, Johanson continues to enthusiastically probe the origins of our species and what it means to be human.
From the Hardcover edition.
This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
The book's title refers to the 1856 discovery of a clearly very old skull cap in Germany's Neander Valley. The possessor had a brain as large as a modern human, but a heavy low braincase with a prominent brow ridge. Scientists tried hard to explain away the inconvenient possibility that this was not actually our direct relative. One extreme interpretation suggested that the preserved leg bones were curved by both rickets, and by a life on horseback. The pain of the unfortunate individual's affliction had caused him to chronically furrow his brow in agony, leading to the excessive development of bone above the eye sockets.
The subsequent history of human evolutionary studies is full of similarly fanciful interpretations. With tact and humor, Tattersall concludes that we are not the perfected products of natural processes, but instead the result of substantial doses of random happenstance.
We humans are a strange bunch. We have self-awareness and yet often act on impulses that remain hidden. We were forged in adversity but live in a world of plenty. How did we get here? What is to become of us? To these age-old questions, science has in recent years brought powerful tools and reams of data, and in this eBook, Becoming Human: Our Past, Present and Future, we look at what these data have to tell us about who we are. We know, for instance, that three million years ago, a group of primates known as the australopithecines was walking capably on two legs—the better to navigate the African savanna—and yet still had long arms suited to life in the trees. In Section One, "Becoming Us," we search for how and why this and other transitions occurred. In "Lucy's Baby," author Kate Wong discusses what the oldest juvenile skeleton tells us about how early humans walked the Earth. Another article, "The Naked Truth," examines why humans lost their hair and how hairlessness was a key factor in developing other human traits. Section Two covers "The Secrets of our Success," and we see that human evolution and culture are often related. In "The Evolution of Grandparents," Rachel Caspari shows us that as humans started to live longer, grandparents played a role in family life, which in turn made possible more complex social behaviors. In Section Three, "Migration and Colonization," we look at how scientists are studying the minuscule bits of DNA that differ from one individual to another for clues to our origins and settlements. "The First Americans" illustrates the findings that have pushed back the date at which hunter-gatherers colonized the Americas. And in Section Four, "Vanished Humans," the discovery of "hobbits"—a human species of small stature—has turned the science of human origins on its ear. Where is evolution taking us? We present two points of view in Section Five, "Our Continuing Evolution." In "How We Are Evolving," Jonathan K. Pritchard argues that selection pressure typically acts over tens of thousands of years, which means we probably won't evolve much anytime soon. But stasis is only one possible future, says Peter Ward in "What May Become of Us." In adapting to new environments—say, a colony on Mars—our human species may eventually diverge into two or more. Or we could go the cyborg route and merge with machines. Whichever option you prefer, there is plenty to ponder.
Scattered across the globe, these remarkable plants and animals continue to mark seminal events in geological time. From a moonlit beach in Delaware, where the hardy horseshoe crab shuffles its way to a frenzy of mass mating just as it did 450 million years ago, to the dense rainforests of New Zealand, where the elusive, unprepossessing velvet worm has burrowed deep into rotting timber since before the breakup of the ancient supercontinent, to a stretch of Australian coastline with stromatolite formations that bear witness to the Precambrian dawn, the existence of these survivors offers us a tantalizing glimpse of pivotal points in evolutionary history. These are not “living fossils” but rather a handful of tenacious creatures of days long gone.
Written in buoyant, sparkling prose, Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms is a marvelously captivating exploration of the world’s old-timers combining the very best of science writing with an explorer’s sense of adventure and wonder.
The authors cull their history from the most recent scientific research conducted on the vast collections of the American Museum of Natural History and other leading institutions. The fossil record of the Canidae, particularly those from their birth place in North America, are the strongest of their kind among known groups of carnivorans. Such a wonderfully detailed evolutionary history provides access to a natural history that is not possible with many other groups of carnivorans.
With their rich fossil record, diverse adaptations to various environments, and different predatory specializations, canids are an ideal model organism for the mapping of predator behavior and morphological specializations. They also offer an excellent contrast to felids, which remain entrenched in extreme predatory specializations. The innovative illustrated approach in this book is the perfect accompaniment to an extremely important branch of animal and fossil study. It transforms the science of paleontology into a thrilling visual experience and provides an unprecedented reference for anyone fascinated by dogs.
This encyclopaedia is intended for children from age 7 to 10, but has been designed to equally fascinate adults. It is the essential compendium of knowledge about dinosaurs. First of all, it introduces the reader to Prehistoric times by answering various questions, such as what happened on Earth before the time of dinosaurs, how palaeontologists study these extraordinary animals and their time period, or what is the history of dinosaur discoveries. Next, the book describes the life of reptiles. Starting with the role of eggs in the reptilian reproduction cycle, the book goes on to describe the wide diversity of the Reptilian Family; non-dinosaur species that also lived on Earth in the very same era are similarly highlighted. Finally, the book addresses the dinosaurs themselves. First in line are the herbivorous dinosaurs, such as giant Stegosaurs, armoured Ceratops, dome-headed and duck-billed Iguanodons, and bird-footed dinosaurs. These are closely followed by the mighty carnivorous dinosaurs — Tyrannosaurs, Spinosaurs, Dromaeosaurids, Oviraptors and early birds. The final part of the book displays three practical study tools: a Q&A section, a glossary of noteworthy words and a special photo gallery of dinosaurs.
The latest discoveries of modern palaeontology have been carefully featured in this book. These include how dinosaurs must have looked like, how they moved and what their habits were.
A great advantage of this new volume is its modern and user-friendly presentation which showcases over 190 illustrations, diagrams, questions and answers area and photo gallery!
The People’s Peking Man is a skilled social history of twentieth-century Chinese paleoanthropology and a compelling cultural—and at times comparative—history of assumptions and debates about what it means to be human. By focusing on issues that push against the boundaries of science and politics, The People’s Peking Man offers an innovative approach to modern Chinese history and the history of science.
The first section of The Dinosauria begins with the origin of the great clade of these fascinating reptiles, followed by separate coverage of each major dinosaur taxon, including the Mesozoic radiation of birds. The second part of the volume navigates through broad areas of interest. Here we find comprehensive documentation of dinosaur distribution through time and space, discussion of the interface between geology and biology, and the paleoecological inferences that can be made through this link. This new edition will be the benchmark reference for everyone who needs authoritative information on dinosaurs.
One of Amazon's Best Science Books of 2013
A Hudson Booksellers Staff Pick for the Best Books of 2013
One of Publishers Weekly's Top Ten Spring Science Books
Selected by Apple's iBookstore as one of the best books of April
A Bookshop Santa Cruz Staff Pick
Dinosaurs, with their awe-inspiring size, terrifying claws and teeth, and otherworldly abilities, occupy a sacred place in our childhoods. They loom over museum halls, thunder through movies, and are a fundamental part of our collective imagination. In My Beloved Brontosaurus, the dinosaur fanatic Brian Switek enriches the childlike sense of wonder these amazing creatures instill in us. Investigating the latest discoveries in paleontology, he breathes new life into old bones.
Switek reunites us with these mysterious creatures as he visits desolate excavation sites and hallowed museum vaults, exploring everything from the sex life of Apatosaurus and T. rex's feather-laden body to just why dinosaurs vanished. (And of course, on his journey, he celebrates the book's titular hero, "Brontosaurus"—who suffered a second extinction when we learned he never existed at all—as a symbol of scientific progress.)
With infectious enthusiasm, Switek questions what we've long held to be true about these beasts, weaving in stories from his obsession with dinosaurs, which started when he was just knee-high to a Stegosaurus. Endearing, surprising, and essential to our understanding of our own evolution and our place on Earth, My Beloved Brontosaurus is a book that dinosaur fans and anyone interested in scientific progress will cherish for years to come.
Thirteen respected researchers combine their experiences in Bonebeds, providing readers with workable definitions, theoretical frameworks, and a compendium of modern techniques in bonebed data collection and analysis. By addressing the historical, theoretical, and practical aspects of bonebed research, this edited volume—the first of its kind—provides the background and methods that students and professionals need to explore and understand these fantastic records of ancient life and death.
Richard Hilton is the first to tell the unsung story of the dinosaurs and reptiles of land, sea, and sky that lived in California and Baja California during the Mesozoic era (245 million-65 million years ago), in addition to the history of their discovery. Vibrantly illustrated with more than three hundred photographs, paintings, and drawings, this book provides geological and environmental details, describes the significance of the major fossils, and chronicles the adventures involved in the discovery, preparation, and publishing of the finds.
Hilton also includes accounts of the scientists, teachers, students, ranchers, and weekend fossil hunters who endured (and continue to endure) harsh weather, fires, wild animals, and the usual challenges of fieldwork to collect fossil remains and make major discoveries. These enthusiasts managed to safeguard an abundance of fossil resources, some of which would otherwise have been destroyed by quarrying, paving, and housing developments. Dinosaurs and Other Mesozoic Reptiles of California takes this legacy one step further by documenting information about the fossils and their finders in accessible prose and vivid artistic renderings, creating a valuable contribution to our understanding of California’s prehistoric past.
This book received the Award of Excellence in an Illustrated Medical Book from the Association of Medical Illustrators. It is organized by individual organism to facilitate classroom presentation.
This illustrated, full-color primary dissection manual is ideal for use by students or practitioners working with vertebrate anatomy. This book is also recommended for researchers in vertebrate and functional morphology and comparative anatomy. The result of this exceptional work offers the most comprehensive treatment than has ever before been available.* Received the Award of Excellence in an Illustrated Medical Book from the Association of Medical Illustrators
* Expertly rendered award-winning illustrations accompany the detailed, clear dissection direction
* Organized by individual organism to facilitate classroom presentation
* Offers coverage of a wide range of vertebrates
* Full-color, strong pedagogical aids in a convenient lay-flat presentation
Rose surveys the evolution of mammals, beginning with their origin from cynodont therapsids in the Mesozoic, contemporary with dinosaurs, through the early Cenozoic, with emphasis on the Paleocene and Eocene adaptive radiations of therian mammals. Focusing on the fossil record, he presents the anatomical evidence used to interpret behavior and phylogenetic relationships. The life's work of one of the most knowledgeable researchers in the field, this richly illustrated, magisterial book combines sound scientific principles and meticulous research and belongs on the shelf of every paleontologist and mammalogist.
The Accidental Species combines Gee’s firsthand experience on the editorial side of many incredible paleontological findings with healthy skepticism and humor to create a book that aims to overturn popular thinking on human evolution—the key is not what’s missing, but how we’re linked.
geologic epochs and periods, in millions of years instead of centuries.
Man, by this measure, is but a creature of yesterday—his "forty
centuries of civilization" but a passing episode. It is by no means
easy for us to adjust our perspective to the immensely long spaces of
time involved in geological evolution. We are apt to think of all these
extinct animals merely as prehistoric—to imagine them all living at the
same time and contending with our cave-dwelling ancestors for the
mastery of the earth.
In order to understand the place of
the Dinosaurs in world-history, we must first get some idea of the
length of geologic periods and the immense space of time separating one
extinct fauna from another.
The Age of Man.
Prehistoric time, as it is commonly understood, is the time when
barbaric and savage tribes of men inhabited the world but before
civilization began, and earlier than the written records on which
history is based. This corresponds roughly to the Pleistocene epoch of
geology; it is included along with the much shorter time during which
civilization has existed, in the latest and shortest of the geological
periods, the Quaternary. It was the age of the mammoth and the mastodon,
the megatherium and Irish deer and of other quadrupeds large and small
which are now extinct; but most of its animals were the same species as
now exist. It was marked by the great episode of the Ice Age, when
considerable parts of the earth's surface were buried under immense
accumulations of ice, remnants of which are still with us in the icy
covering of Greenland and Antarctica.
Over a decade after Jurassic Park, Jack Horner and his colleagues in molecular biology labs are in the process of building the technology to create a real dinosaur.
Based on new research in evolutionary developmental biology on how a few select cells grow to create arms, legs, eyes, and brains that function together, Jack Horner takes the science a step further in a plan to "reverse evolution" and reveals the awesome, even frightening, power being acquired to recreate the prehistoric past. The key is the dinosaur's genetic code that lives on in modern birds- even chickens. From cutting-edge biology labs to field digs underneath the Montana sun, How to Build a Dinosaur explains and enlightens an awesome new science.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Praise for previous editions of Dinosaurs and the Expanding Earth
'something completely different ... an original work rather than a re-presentation of existing knowledge ... well presented.' GEOLOGY TODAY - Blackwell Science Ltd.
'Engineers (Hurrell) have shown that dinosaurs' bones could not have borne their weight ... much reduced surface gravity is essential for dinosaurs to have existed.' Professor S. Warren Carey, University of Tasmania.
'... written in a plain straightforward style and its target is a wide public not interested in specialist treatises. Its clear and lively descriptions lead the reader straight to the core of the arguments. ... could well be the topics of joint scientific collaboration between engineers and paleontologists.' ANNALS OF GEOPHYSICS
Pterosaurs features some 200 stunning illustrations, including original paintings by Mark Witton and photos of rarely seen fossils. After decades of mystery, paleontologists have finally begun to understand how pterosaurs are related to other reptiles, how they functioned as living animals, and, despite dwarfing all other flying animals, how they managed to become airborne. Here you can explore the fossil evidence of pterosaur behavior and ecology, learn about the skeletal and soft-tissue anatomy of pterosaurs, and consider the newest theories about their cryptic origins. This one-of-a-kind book covers the discovery history, paleobiogeography, anatomy, and behaviors of more than 130 species of pterosaur, and also discusses their demise at the end of the Mesozoic.The most comprehensive book on pterosaurs ever published Features some 200 illustrations, including original paintings by the author Covers every known species and major group of pterosaurs Describes pterosaur anatomy, ecology, behaviors, diversity, and more Encourages further study with 500 references to primary pterosaur literature
Closed to the West since the 1920's, the remote sands of Mongolia's Gobi Desert constitute the richest fossil site in the world. In Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs, Novacek invites the reader along with his team as he recounts the day-to-day drama of field exploration and discusses the remarkable discoveries that he and his colleagues unearthed, fossil finds that have helped to reshape our understanding of the dinosaur and early mammal era.
Interweaving the adventure of field research with chapters that bring the reader up to date on contemporary dinosaur theory and science, Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs brings the excitement of scientific discovery to life.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Thirty thousand years ago, our prehistoric ancestors painted perfect images of animals on walls of tortuous caves, most often without any light. How was this possible? What meaning and messages did the cavemen want these paintings to convey? In addition, how did these perfect drawings come about at a time when primitive man's sole purpose was surviving? And why, some ten thousand years later, did startlingly similar animal paintings appear once again, on dark cave walls?
Scholars and archaeologists have for centuries pored over these works of art, speculating and hoping to come away with the key to the mystery. No one has ever come close to elucidating the paintings’ origin and meaning—until now.
Here, the stunning truth is revealed by artist Bertrand David and Professor Jean-Jacques Lefrère, giving us a new understanding of an art lost in time, explaining what had once been unexplainable, and solving the oldest enigma in humanity.
Michael Novacek, a world-renowned paleontologist who has discovered important fossils on virtually every continent, is an authority on patterns of evolution and on the relationships among extinct and extant organisms. Time Traveler is his captivating account of how his boyhood enthusiasm for dinosaurs became a lifelong commitment to vanguard science. He takes us with him as he discovers fossils in his own backyard in Los Angeles, then goes looking for them in the high Andes, the black volcanic mountains of Yemen, and the incredibly rich fossil badlands of the Gobi desert.
Wherever Novacek goes he searches for still undiscovered evidence of what life was like on Earth millions of years ago. Along the way he has almost drowned, been stung by deadly scorpions, been held at gunpoint by a renegade army, and nearly choked in raging dust storms. Fieldwork is very demanding in a host of unusual, dramatic, sometimes hilarious ways, and Novacek writes of its alluring perils with affection and discernment. But Time Traveler also makes sense of many complex themes - about dinosaur evolution, continental drift, mass extinctions, new methods for understanding ancient environments, and the evolutionary secrets of DNA in fossil organisms. It is also an enthralling adventure story.
At the bottom of the Bahariya Depression, Stromer will find the remains of four immense and entirely new dinosaurs, along with dozens of other unique specimens. But there will be reversals—shipments delayed for years by war, fossils shattered in transit, stunning personal and professional setbacks. Then, in a single cataclysmic night, all of his work will be destroyed and Ernst Stromer will slip into history and be forgotten.
The date is January 11, 2000—eighty-nine years to the day after Stromer descended into Bahariya. Another young paleontologist, Ameri-can graduate student Josh Smith, has brought a team of fellow scientists to Egypt to find Stromer’s dinosaur graveyard and resurrect the German pioneer’s legacy. After weeks of digging, often under appalling conditions, they fail utterly at rediscovering any of Stromer’s dinosaur species.
Then, just when they are about to declare defeat, Smith’s team discovers a dinosaur of such staggering immensity that it will stun the world of paleontology and make headlines around the globe.
Masterfully weaving together history, science, and human drama, The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt is the gripping account of not one but two of the twentieth century’s great expeditions of discovery.
From the Hardcover edition.
This horrific chain of events is now widely accepted as the solution to a great scientific mystery: what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? Walter Alvarez, one of the Berkeley scientists who discovered evidence of the impact, tells the story behind the development of the initially controversial theory. It is a saga of high adventure in remote locations, of arduous data collection and intellectual struggle, of long periods of frustration ended by sudden breakthroughs, of friendships made and lost, and of the exhilaration of discovery that forever altered our understanding of Earth's geological history.
Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs by Lisa Randall proposes to explain the causes of the meteoroid that wiped out the dinosaurs using a dark matter model. It also describes a wide range of scientific findings to illustrate the interconnectedness of the cosmos to life on Earth…
PLEASE NOTE: This is key takeaways and analysis of the book and NOT the original book.
Inside this Instaread of Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs:
· Overview of the book
· Important People
· Key Takeaways
· Analysis of Key Takeaways
Mammal Teeth traces the evolutionary history of teeth, beginning with the very first mineralized vertebrate structures half a billion years ago. Ungar describes how the simple conical tooth of early vertebrates became the molars, incisors, and other forms we see in mammals today. Evolutionary adaptations changed pointy teeth into flatter ones, with specialized shapes designed to complement the corresponding jaw.
Ungar explains tooth structure and function in the context of nutritional needs. The myriad tooth shapes produced by evolution offer different solutions to the fundamental problem of how to squeeze as many nutrients as possible out of foods. The book also highlights Ungar's own path-breaking studies that show how microwear analysis can help us understand ancient diets.
The final part of the book provides an in-depth examination of mammalian teeth today, surveying all orders in the class, family by family. Ungar describes some of the more bizarre teeth, such as tusks, and the mammal diversity that accompanies these morphological wonders.
Mammal Teeth captures the evolution of mammals, including humans, through the prism of dental change. Synthesizing decades of research, Ungar reveals the interconnections among mammal diet, dentition, and evolution. His book is a must-read for paleontologists, mammalogists, and anthropologists.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Twenty years ago, when John McPhee began his journeys back and forth across the United States, he planned to describe a cross section of North America at about the fortieth parallel and, in the process, come to an understanding not only of the science but of the style of the geologists he traveled with. The structure of the book never changed, but its breadth caused him to complete it in stages, under the overall title Annals of the Former World.
Like the terrain it covers, Annals of the Former World tells a multilayered tale, and the reader may choose one of many paths through it. As clearly and succinctly written as it is profoundly informed, this is our finest popular survey of geology and a masterpiece of modern nonfiction.
Annals of the Former World is the winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.