The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World

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"THE ULTIMATE DINOSAUR BIOGRAPHY," hails Scientific American: A thrilling new history of the age of dinosaurs, from one of our finest young scientists.

"A masterpiece of science writing." —Washington Post

A New York Times Bestseller • Goodreads Choice Awards Winner • A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Smithsonian, Science Friday, The Times (London), Popular Mechanics, Science News

"This is scientific storytelling at its most visceral, striding with the beasts through their Triassic dawn, Jurassic dominance, and abrupt demise in the Cretaceous." —Nature

The dinosaurs. Sixty-six million years ago, the Earth’s most fearsome creatures vanished. Today they remain one of our planet’s great mysteries. Now The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs reveals their extraordinary, 200-million-year-long story as never before.

In this captivating narrative (enlivened with more than seventy original illustrations and photographs), Steve Brusatte, a young American paleontologist who has emerged as one of the foremost stars of the field—naming fifteen new species and leading groundbreaking scientific studies and fieldwork—masterfully tells the complete, surprising, and new history of the dinosaurs, drawing on cutting-edge science to dramatically bring to life their lost world and illuminate their enigmatic origins, spectacular flourishing, astonishing diversity, cataclysmic extinction, and startling living legacy. Captivating and revelatory, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is a book for the ages.

Brusatte traces the evolution of dinosaurs from their inauspicious start as small shadow dwellers—themselves the beneficiaries of a mass extinction caused by volcanic eruptions at the beginning of the Triassic period—into the dominant array of species every wide-eyed child memorizes today, T. rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus, and more. This gifted scientist and writer re-creates the dinosaurs’ peak during the Jurassic and Cretaceous, when thousands of species thrived, and winged and feathered dinosaurs, the prehistoric ancestors of modern birds, emerged. The story continues to the end of the Cretaceous period, when a giant asteroid or comet struck the planet and nearly every dinosaur species (but not all) died out, in the most extraordinary extinction event in earth’s history, one full of lessons for today as we confront a “sixth extinction.”

Brusatte also recalls compelling stories from his globe-trotting expeditions during one of the most exciting eras in dinosaur research—which he calls “a new golden age of discovery”—and offers thrilling accounts of some of the remarkable findings he and his colleagues have made, including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs; monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex; and paradigm-shifting feathered raptors from China.

An electrifying scientific history that unearths the dinosaurs’ epic saga, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs will be a definitive and treasured account for decades to come.

Includes 75 images, world maps of the prehistoric earth, and a dinosaur family tree.

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About the author

Steve Brusatte is a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh and a specialist on the evolution of dinosaurs. He helped identify Pinocchio rex as a tyrannosaur. Through his fieldwork he has discovered dinosaur fossils in many places around the world. Dr. Brusatte wrote Day of the Dinosaurs and Walking with Dinosaurs Encyclopedia. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Additional Information

Publisher
HarperCollins
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Published on
Apr 24, 2018
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9780062490452
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Animals / Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures
Science / Life Sciences / Evolution
Science / Paleontology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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From Jurassic Park to Sue the T-Rex and Barney, our dino love affair is as real, as astonishing, and as incomprehensible as the gargantuan beasts themselves. At once reptilian and avian, dinosaurs enable us to imagine a world far beyond the usual boundaries of time, culture, and physiology. We envision them in diverse and contradictory ways, from purple friends to toothy terrors—reflecting, in part, our changing conceptions of ourselves. Not unlike humans today, dinosaurs seem at once powerful, almost godly, and helpless in the face of cosmic forces even more powerful than themselves.

In Dinomania, Boria Sax, a leading authority on human-animal relations, tells the story of our unlikely romance with the titanic saurians, from the discovery of their enormous bones—relics of an ancient world—to the dinosaur theme parks of today. That discovery, around the start of the nineteenth century, was intimately tied to our growing awareness of geological time and the dawn of the industrial era. Dinosaurs’ vast size and power called to mind railroads, battleships, and factories, making them, paradoxically, emblems of modernity. But at the same time, their world was nature at its most pristine and unsullied, the perfect symbol of childhood innocence and wonder. Sax concludes that in our imaginations dinosaurs essentially are, and always have been, dragons; and as we enter a new era of environmental threats in which dinos provide us a way to confront indirectly the possibility of human extinction, their representation is again blending with the myth and legend from which it emerged at the start of the modern age.

Fun and ferocious, and featuring many superb illustrations of dinosaurs from art, popular culture, film, and advertising, Dinomania is a thought-provoking homage to humanity's enduring dinosaur amour.
Dinosaurs are fascinating creatures and their popularity seems never ending, fuelled by films such as Jurassic Park and documentaries such as Walking with Dinosaurs. Yet dinosaurs (or more precisely non-avian dinosaurs) last trod the Earth 65 million years ago. All we know of them today are their fossilised bones, the tracks and traces that they left behind and, in very rare instances, some of the soft tissues or even traces of their chemistry. In many respects dinosaurs present us with one of the ultimate forensic challenges: they comprise the fragmentary remains of creatures that died many tens of millions of years ago, rather than just recently, or a few tens of years ago, which is the problem usually faced by forensic pathologists. How much do we really know about them, and to what extent can their remains inform us about ancient worlds, and indeed about the history of our planet? In this Very Short Introduction David Norman discusses how dinosaurs were first discovered and interpreted, and how our understanding of them has changed over the past 200 years. He looks at some of the amazing discoveries that have enabled us to gain new and unexpected insights into dinosaurs as animals with natural histories and behaviours, and considers some of the biggest questions in dinosaur biology, such as the implications of them having warm blood. Norman also shows how research upon dinosaurs has been enriched, particularly in recent decades, by technological break-throughs, which complement the informed speculation and luck which have played a part in many of the major discoveries. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Bigger and Better, Updated and Expanded

We live in a golden age of paleontological discovery—on average, we find one new dinosaur species per week. The most fascinating among them take their place in this updated edition of Dinosaurs—The Grand Tour; from Aardonyx, a lumbering beast that formed a link between two- and four-legged dinosaurs, to Zuniceratops, who boasted a deadly pair of horns. Here, you’ll find everything worth knowing about every dinosaur worth knowing—more than 300 in all, including: Amphibious Halszkaraptor looks like no other dinosaur we’ve found—with a head and body the size of a duck’s, sharp claws . . . and a swanlike neck.Longer than a blue whale and three times taller than a giraffe, Patagotitan is a newly discovered contender for “biggest dinosaur ever.”The speedy little feathered predator Stenonychosaurus was an anatomical marvel, with retractable claws, asymmetrical ears for advanced hearing, incredible night vision, and a huge brain.Oviraptor—whose name means “egg thief “—doesn’t deserve its bad rap. This specimen from 1923 is now proven to have been sitting by its own eggs—not stealing another’s.Sinornithosaurus prove that dinosaurs shed their skin the same way that humans do, rather than sloughing it off all at once like a snake. At-a-glance sidebars put each dinosaur’s diet, size, and location at your fingertips. Stories of harrowing expeditions conjure the thrills of history’s most famous dinosaur hunters. Highlights from recent research reveal what’s new in paleontology today, including scientists’ evolving idea of what dinosaurs actually looked like. (Hint: They were more colorful—and feathery!—than we ever thought before.) And illustrations on virtually every page bring these prehistoric creatures to life in all their glory.
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