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Books

Paleontology


The Coloring Book of (Scientifically Accurate) Dinosaurs

The Coloring Book of (Scientifically Accurate) Dinosaurs Lowest new price: $6.99
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Author: Diane Ramic

The prehistoric world and those creatures that inhabited it have held the interest of paleontology fans of all ages. Our knowledge of these animals expands with each passing year, but outdated and incorrect ideas still persist in modern media. This coloring book strives to challenge those inaccuracies by introducing media that included research to produce scientifically plausible, yet still slightly stylized, dinosaurs. Inside this book, you will find 26 illustrations of dinosaurs species, ranging from their origins in the Triassic, to the modern species that survived the end-Cretaceous extinction event. Each page contains an illustration of varying difficulty, the dinosaurs’ genus, the era it lived in, the area it was discovered in, and a few facts about the animal in question.

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The Sauropod Dinosaurs: Life in the Age of Giants

The Sauropod Dinosaurs: Life in the Age of Giants Lowest new price: $25.55
Lowest used price: $19.95
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Author: Mark Hallett
Brand: imusti

From The Land Before Time to Jurassic Park, images of fantastically large, long-necked, plant-eating dinosaurs have captured our imaginations. These are the sauropods: centerpieces of museums and gentle giants of the distant past. Imagine what it must have been like to crest a hill and see in the valley below not just one sauropod, but an entire herd, feeding its way across the landscape.

The most massive land animals ever to have lived, sauropods roamed widely across the continents through most of the "Age of Dinosaurs" from about 220 to 65 million years ago. They reached incredible sizes, giving rise to the question: Why were they so big? Early guesses suggested that they gained protection from predators by virtue of their size, which also allowed them to reach the tops of trees in order to eat leaves and conifer needles. More recent hypotheses hold that they needed a long and complicated digestive tract due to their consumption of low-nutrient food sources: size was an offshoot of that need. Whatever the explanation, there is little doubt that natural selection produced something extraordinary when the Sauropoda diversified into a wide variety of species.

This book combines majestic artwork and the best of paleontological research to resurrect the lives of sauropods. The Sauropod Dinosaurs shows how these amazing creatures raised and defended their young, traveled in groups, and interacted with the rich diversity of Mesozoic plants and animals. Beautiful enough to sit on the coffee table, the book also serves as the best reference available on these bygone giants. Anyone with a passion for dinosaurs or prehistoric life will cherish this once-in-a-generation masterpiece.

The book includes the following features:
· Over 200 full-color illustrations
· More than 100 color photographs from museums, field sites, and collections around the world
· Thoughtfully placed drawings and charts
· Clearly written text reviewed by major sauropod researchers
· Descriptions of the latest sauropod concepts and discoveries
· A field guide to major groups of sauropods
· Detailed skeletal reconstructions and anatomical restorations
· A comprehensive glossary

Features:

  • Johns Hopkins University Press

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The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction

The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction Lowest new price: $18.28
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Author: Pat Shipman
Brand: Shipman Pat

With their large brains, sturdy physique, sophisticated tools, and hunting skills, Neanderthals are the closest known relatives to humans. Approximately 200,000 years ago, as modern humans began to radiate out from their evolutionary birthplace in Africa, Neanderthals were already thriving in Europe―descendants of a much earlier migration of the African genus Homo. But when modern humans eventually made their way to Europe 45,000 years ago, Neanderthals suddenly vanished. Ever since the first Neanderthal bones were identified in 1856, scientists have been vexed by the question, why did modern humans survive while their evolutionary cousins went extinct?

The Invaders musters compelling evidence to show that the major factor in the Neanderthals’ demise was direct competition with newly arriving humans. Drawing on insights from the field of invasion biology, which predicts that the species ecologically closest to the invasive predator will face the greatest competition, Pat Shipman traces the devastating impact of a growing human population: reduction of Neanderthals’ geographic range, isolation into small groups, and loss of genetic diversity.

But modern humans were not the only invaders who competed with Neanderthals for big game. Shipman reveals fascinating confirmation of humans’ partnership with the first domesticated wolf-dogs soon after Neanderthals first began to disappear. This alliance between two predator species, she hypothesizes, made possible an unprecedented degree of success in hunting large Ice Age mammals―a distinct and ultimately decisive advantage for humans over Neanderthals at a time when climate change made both groups vulnerable.

Features:

  • The Invaders How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction

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The Complete Dinosaur, Second Edition (Life of the Past)

The Complete Dinosaur, Second Edition (Life of the Past) Lowest new price: $42.75
Lowest used price: $32.68
List price: $85.00
Brand: Michael K Brett Surman

Praise for the first edition:

A gift to serious dinosaur enthusiasts" ―Science

The amount of information in [these] pages is amazing. This book should be on the shelves of dinosaur freaks as well as those who need to know more about the paleobiology of extinct animals. It will be an invaluable library reference." ―American Reference Books Annual

An excellent encyclopedia that serves as a nice bridge between popular and scholarly dinosaur literature." ―Library Journal (starred review)

Copiously illustrated and scrupulously up-to-date... the book reveals dinos through the fractious fields that make a study of them." ―Publishers Weekly

Stimulating armchair company for cold winter evenings.... Best of all, the book treats dinosaurs as intellectual fun." ―New Scientist

The book is useful both as a reference and as a browse-and-enjoy compendium." ―Natural History

What do we know about dinosaurs, and how do we know it? How did dinosaurs grow, move, eat, and reproduce? Were they warm-blooded or cold-blooded? How intelligent were they? How are the various groups of dinosaurs related to each other, and to other kinds of living and extinct vertebrates? What can the study of dinosaurs tell us about the process of evolution? And why did typical dinosaurs become extinct? All of these questions, and more, are addressed in the new, expanded, second edition of The Complete Dinosaur. Written by many of the world's leading experts on the "fearfully great" reptiles, the book’s 45 chapters cover what we have learned about dinosaurs, from the earliest discoveries of dinosaurs to the most recent controversies. Where scientific contention exists, the editors have let the experts agree to disagree. Copiously illustrated and accessible to all readers from the enthusiastic amateur to the most learned professional paleontologist, The Complete Dinosaur is a feast for serious dinosaur lovers everywhere.

The 40-plus chapters in The Complete Dinosaur range from raw, cutting-edge science that drips with original data to surveys of the history of dinosaur collecting that are suitable for even the most jargon-shy readers. Editors James O. Farlow and M. K. Brett-Surman admit that they were "teenage geeks who loved the movies of Willis O'Brien, Ray Harryhausen, and Jim Danforth, and the novels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Rice Burroughs," and they do not neglect their roots. There are chapters covering all the hot topics of contemporary dinosaur research, including footprints, metabolism, and meteor strikes; there is also a section on determining how many lawyers you need to feed a captive Tyrannosaurus rex. It's a remarkable fusion between scientific research--warts, conflicts, and all--and public understanding.

Features:

  • The Complete Dinosaur Second Edition

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The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution

The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution Lowest new price: $202.02
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Author: Dougal Dixon

Looks at how the dinosaurs might have evolved if they hadn't become extinct, and shows and describes the characteristics of these hypothetical creatures

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When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time

When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time Lowest new price: $10.51
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Author: Michael Benton
Brand: Thames Hudson

"The focus is the most severe mass extinction known in earth's history….The science on which the book is based is up-to-date, thorough, and balanced. Highly recommended."—Choice

Today it is common knowledge that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a meteorite impact 65 million years ago that killed half of all species then living. Far less known is a much greater catastrophe that took place at the end of the Permian period 251 million years ago: ninety percent of life was destroyed, including saber-toothed reptiles and their rhinoceros-sized prey on land, as well as vast numbers of fish and other species in the sea.

This book documents not only what happened during this gigantic mass extinction but also the recent rekindling of the idea of catastrophism. Was the end-Permian event caused by the impact of a huge meteorite or comet, or by prolonged volcanic eruption in Siberia? The evidence has been accumulating through the 1990s and into the new millennium, and Michael Benton gives his verdict at the end of the volume.

From field camps in Greenland and Russia to the laboratory bench, When Life Nearly Died involves geologists, paleontologists, environmental modelers, geochemists, astronomers, and experts on biodiversity and conservation. Their working methods are vividly described and explained, and the current disputes are revealed. The implications of our understanding of crises in the past for the current biodiversity crisis are also presented in detail. 46 illustrations.

Features:

  • Thames Hudson

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Loren Eiseley: Collected Essays on Evolution, Nature, and the Cosmos (The Library of America)

Loren Eiseley: Collected Essays on Evolution, Nature, and the Cosmos (The Library of America) Lowest new price: $46.08
Lowest used price: $46.11
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Author: Loren Eiseley
Brand: William Cronon

A modern Thoreau explores the mysteries of the universe in this deluxe collector's boxed set.

To read Loren Eiseley (1907–1977) is to renew a sense of wonder at the miracles and paradoxes of evolution and the ever-changing diversity of life. At the height of a distinguished career as a “bone-hunter” and paleontologist, Eiseley turned from fieldwork and scientific publication to the personal essay in six remarkable books that are masterpieces of prose style. Weaving together anecdote, philosophical reflection, and keen observation with the soul and skill of a poet, Eiseley offers a brilliant, companionable introduction to the sciences, paving the way for writers like Carl Sagan, Stephen Jay Gould, and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Now for the first time, the Library of America presents his landmark essay collections in a definitive two-volume set.

Beginning with the surprise million-copy seller The Immense Journey (1957), Eiseley produced an astonishing succession of books that won acclaim both as science and as art. Here, for the first time in a single collector’s edition, are all of Eiseley’s beloved, thought-provoking, sometimes darkly lyrical essay collections, from The Immense Journey to the posthumous The Star Thrower (1978). Eiseley’s subjects are wide-ranging, curious, and meticulously realized: the role of flowering plants in evolution; a disturbing insect, seen in childhood; the questions raised by a new fossil; a forgotten episode in the history of science. Beginning with close observation and vivid detail, Eiseley is fearless and imaginative in pursuit of the cosmological dimensions of the phenomena he describes.

Features:

  • Loren Eiseley Collected Essays on Evolution Nature the Cosmos 2 Copy Box Set

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Seven Skeletons: The Evolution of the World's Most Famous Human Fossils

Seven Skeletons: The Evolution of the World's Most Famous Human Fossils Lowest new price: $13.09
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Author: Lydia Pyne
Brand: Viking

An irresistible journey of discovery, science, history, and myth making, told through the lives and afterlives of seven famous human ancestors

Over the last century, the search for human ancestors has spanned four continents and resulted in the discovery of hundreds of fossils. While most of these discoveries live quietly in museum collections, there are a few that have become world-renowned celebrity personas—ambassadors of science that speak to public audiences. In Seven Skeletons, historian of science Lydia Pyne explores how seven such famous fossils of our ancestors have the social cachet they enjoy today.

Drawing from archives, museums, and interviews, Pyne builds a cultural history for each celebrity fossil—from its discovery to its afterlife in museum exhibits to its legacy in popular culture. These seven include the three-foot tall “hobbit” from Flores, the Neanderthal of La Chapelle, the Taung Child, the Piltdown Man hoax, Peking Man, Australopithecus sediba, and Lucy—each embraced and celebrated by generations, and vivid examples of how discoveries of how our ancestors have been received, remembered, and immortalized. 

With wit and insight, Pyne brings to life each fossil, and how it is described, put on display, and shared among scientific communities and the broader public. This fascinating, endlessly entertaining book puts the impact of paleoanthropology into new context, a reminder of how our past as a species continues to affect, in astounding ways, our present culture and imagination.

Features:

  • Viking

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Resurrecting the Shark: A Scientific Obsession and the Mavericks Who Solved the Mystery of a 270-Million-Year-Old Fossil

Resurrecting the Shark: A Scientific Obsession and the Mavericks Who Solved the Mystery of a 270-Million-Year-Old Fossil Lowest new price: $17.38
Lowest used price: $13.98
List price: $27.95
Author: Susan Ewing
Brand: Ewing Susan

A prehistoric mystery. A fossil so mesmerizing that it boggled the minds of scientists for more than a century―until a motley crew of modern day shark fanatics decided to try to bring the monster-predator back to life.

In 1993, Alaskan artist and paleo-shark enthusiast Ray Troll stumbled upon the weirdest fossil he had ever seen―a platter-sized spiral of tightly wound shark teeth. This chance encounter in the basement of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County sparked Troll’s obsession with Helicoprion, a mysterious monster from deep time.

In 2010, tattooed undergraduate student and returning Iraq War veteran Jesse Pruitt became seriously smitten with a Helicoprion fossil in a museum basement in Idaho. These two bizarre-shark disciples found each other, and an unconventional band of collaborators grew serendipitously around them, determined to solve the puzzle of the mysterious tooth whorl once and for all.

Helicoprion was a Paleozoic chondrichthyan about the size of a modern great white shark, with a circular saw of teeth centered in its lower jaw―a feature unseen in the shark world before or since. For some ten million years, long before the Age of Dinosaurs, Helicoprion patrolled the shallow seas around the supercontinent Pangaea as the apex predator of its time.

Just a few tumultuous years after Pruitt and Troll met, imagination, passion, scientific process, and state-of-the-art technology merged into an unstoppable force that reanimated the remarkable creature―and made important new discoveries.

In this groundbreaking book, Susan Ewing reveals these revolutionary insights into what Helicoprion looked like and how the tooth whorl functioned―pushing this dazzling and awe-inspiring beast into the spotlight of modern science.

24 pages of color illustrations

Features:

  • Resurrecting the Shark A Scientific Obsession and the Mavericks Who Solved the Mystery of a 270 Million Year Old Fossil

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The Walking Whales: From Land to Water in Eight Million Years

The Walking Whales: From Land to Water in Eight Million Years Lowest new price: $32.24
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Author: J. G. M. "Hans" Thewissen
Brand: imusti

Hans Thewissen, a leading researcher in the field of whale paleontology and anatomy, gives a sweeping first-person account of the discoveries that brought to light the early fossil record of whales. As evidenced in the record, whales evolved from herbivorous forest-dwelling ancestors that resembled tiny deer to carnivorous monsters stalking lakes and rivers and to serpentlike denizens of the coast.

Thewissen reports on his discoveries in the wilds of India and Pakistan, weaving a narrative that reveals the day-to-day adventures of fossil collection, enriching it with local flavors from South Asian culture and society. The reader senses the excitement of the digs as well as the rigors faced by scientific researchers, for whom each new insight gives rise to even more questions, and for whom at times the logistics of just staying alive may trump all science.

In his search for an understanding of how modern whales live their lives, Thewissen also journeys to Japan and Alaska to study whales and wild dolphins. He finds answers to his questions about fossils by studying the anatomy of otters and porpoises and examining whale embryos under the microscope. In the book's final chapter, Thewissen argues for approaching whale evolution with the most powerful tools we have and for combining all the fields of science in pursuit of knowledge.

Features:

  • University of California Press

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