Flying Dinosaurs: How Fearsome Reptiles Became Birds

Columbia University Press
10
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The discovery of stunning, feathered dinosaur fossils coming out of China since 2006 suggest that these creatures were much more bird-like than paleontologists previously imagined. Further evidence—bones, genetics, eggs, behavior, and more—has shown a seamless transition from fleet-footed carnivores to the ancestors of modern birds.

Mixing colorful portraits with news on the latest fossil findings and interviews with leading paleontologists in the United States, China, Europe, and Australia, John Pickrell explains and details dinosaurs' development of flight. This special capacity introduced a whole new range of abilities for the animals and helped them survive a mass extinction, when thousands of other dinosaur species that once populated the Earth did not. Pickrell also turns his journalistic eye toward the stories behind the latest discoveries, investigating the role of the Chinese black market in trading fossils, the controversies among various dinosaur hunters, the interference of national governments intent on protecting scientific information, and the race to publish findings first that make this research such a dynamic area of science.

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About the author

John Pickrell is an award-winning science writer and the editor of Australian Geographic magazine. He has worked in London, Washington, D.C., and Sydney for numerous publications, including New Scientist, Science, Science News, and Cosmos. He has been a finalist for the Australian Museum's Eureka Prizes three times, has won an Earth Journalism Award, and has been featured in the 2011 and 2014 editions of The Best Australian Science Writing.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Columbia University Press
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Published on
Sep 16, 2014
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780231538787
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Animals / Birds
Nature / Animals / Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures
Nature / Fossils
Science / Life Sciences / Zoology / General
Science / Paleontology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Could extinct species, like mammoths and passenger pigeons, be brought back to life? The science says yes. In How to Clone a Mammoth, Beth Shapiro, evolutionary biologist and pioneer in "ancient DNA" research, walks readers through the astonishing and controversial process of de-extinction. From deciding which species should be restored, to sequencing their genomes, to anticipating how revived populations might be overseen in the wild, Shapiro vividly explores the extraordinary cutting-edge science that is being used--today--to resurrect the past. Journeying to far-flung Siberian locales in search of ice age bones and delving into her own research--as well as those of fellow experts such as Svante Paabo, George Church, and Craig Venter--Shapiro considers de-extinction's practical benefits and ethical challenges. Would de-extinction change the way we live? Is this really cloning? What are the costs and risks? And what is the ultimate goal?

Using DNA collected from remains as a genetic blueprint, scientists aim to engineer extinct traits--traits that evolved by natural selection over thousands of years--into living organisms. But rather than viewing de-extinction as a way to restore one particular species, Shapiro argues that the overarching goal should be the revitalization and stabilization of contemporary ecosystems. For example, elephants with genes modified to express mammoth traits could expand into the Arctic, re-establishing lost productivity to the tundra ecosystem.


Looking at the very real and compelling science behind an idea once seen as science fiction, How to Clone a Mammoth demonstrates how de-extinction will redefine conservation's future.

The best-selling Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs remains the must-have book for anyone who loves dinosaurs, from amateur enthusiasts to professional paleontologists. Now extensively revised and expanded, this dazzlingly illustrated large-format edition features some 100 new dinosaur species and 200 new and updated illustrations, bringing readers up to the minute on the latest discoveries and research that are radically transforming what we know about dinosaurs and their world.

Written and illustrated by acclaimed dinosaur expert Gregory Paul, this stunningly beautiful book includes detailed species accounts of all the major dinosaur groups as well as nearly 700 color and black-and-white images—skeletal drawings, "life" studies, scenic views, and other illustrations that depict the full range of dinosaurs, from small feathered creatures to whale-sized supersauropods. Paul's extensively revised introduction delves into dinosaur history and biology, the extinction of nonavian dinosaurs, the origin of birds, and the history of dinosaur paleontology, as well as giving a taste of what it might be like to travel back in time to the era when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Now extensively revised and expandedCovers nearly 750 dinosaur species, including scores of newly discovered onesProvides startling new perspectives on the famed Brontosaurus and TyrannosaurusFeatures nearly 700 color and black-and-white drawings and figures, including life studies, scenic views, and skull and muscle drawingsIncludes color paleo-distribution maps and a color time lineDescribes anatomy, physiology, locomotion, reproduction, and growth of dinosaurs, as well as the origin of birds and the extinction of nonavian dinosaurs

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