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A Concise Natural History


  • Date Published: January 2009
  • availability: Replaced by 9780521282376
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521719025


Replaced by 9780521282376
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About the Authors
  • From the authors of The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs comes an introduction to the study of dinosaurs for non-specialists designed to excite readers about science by using dinosaurs to illustrate and discuss geology, natural history and evolution. While focusing on dinosaurs it also uses them to convey other aspects of the natural sciences, including fundamental concepts in evolutionary biology, physiology, life history, and systematics. Considerable attention is devoted the nature of science itself: what it is, what it is not, and how science can be used to investigate particular kinds of questions. Dinosaurs is unique because it fills a gap between the glossy, fact-driven dinosaur books and the higher-level academic books, addressing the paleontology of dinosaurs exactly as professionals in the field do.

    • Readers gain a meaningful understanding of phylogenetic systematics, the lingua franca of modern evolutionary biology, through a logical introduction of cladistic methods
    • Unlike other introductory books, Dinosaurs is not a list of facts and figures and instead is concept-based to allow a true understanding of the origins, diversity, behaviour, and extinction of these magnificent animals
    • The dinosaurs are brought to life in commissioned drawings from the acclaimed dinosaur illustrator, John Sibbick
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘I am excited to see that they authors have selected not to overwhelm the student with detail.’
    Mark Oiumette, Hardin-Simmons University

    ‘Does an excellent job of explaining cladistics.’
    Bill Zinsmeister, Purdue University

    ‘Well written …the author’s sense of humor makes it enjoyable to read; it summarizes most of the important topics in dinosaur paleontology using current information.’
    Carol Waddell-Sheets, Canisius College

    ‘This is an outstanding contribution for anyone teaching a course involving dinosaurs… it is reasonably short and very much up to date.’
    Sherwood Wise, Florida State University

    ‘It’s a nice length - subjects are discussed with the appropriate amount of depth and level of coverage. The writing style and tone is engaging and I like the incorporation of phylogeny.’
    David Varricchio, Montana State University

    ‘Very up-to-date information … superior illustration.’
    John Taylor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

    "...It's the best fit for my course of any book out there because it's focused less on the dinosaurs themselves and more on how dinosaurs illustrate important lessons in the history of life. ...I'm definitely going to adopt it for my course."
    -Dr. J Bret Bennington, Hofstra University

    "Dinosaurs remain a "hot" topic....To explore their past world, one needs to have a very good guide. With the publication of the book by Fastovsky & Weishampel, the latter is now available...demonstrates an outstanding degree of outstanding synthesis of the modern knowledge on dinosaurs."
    Dr. Dmitry RubanThe German Geological / Palaeontological Journal

    "It is an admirable work, something unlike I have seen in other texts in the field. The 240 page lexicon is elegant and freshly instructive. I find this text compact, self-contained and interesting to read...I recommend it for anyone wishing to have a perspective of Dr. Denn's work in process stability and rheology.
    Gibson Batch, Rheology Bulletin

    "...well-written, highly visual, engaging, and informative book ... Highly recommended." CHOICE

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521719025
    • length: 394 pages
    • dimensions: 276 x 215 x 15 mm
    • weight: 1.08kg
    • availability: Replaced by 9780521282376
  • Table of Contents

    Preface: why this book?
    Part I. Reaching Back in Time:
    1. To catch a dinosaur
    2. Dinosaur days
    3. Who's related to whom - and how do we know?
    4. Who are the dinosaurs?
    Part II. Ornithischia: Armored, Horned, and Duckbilled Dinosaurs:
    5. Thyreophora: the armor-bearers
    6. Marginocephalia: bosses, bumps, and beaks
    7. Ornithopoda: the Tuskers, Antelopes and 'Mighty Ducks' of the Mesozoic
    Part III. Saurischia: Meat, Might, and Magnitude:
    8. Sauropodomorpha: the big, the bizarre, and the majestic
    9. Theropoda I: nature red in tooth and claw
    10. Theropoda II: the origin of birds
    11. Theropoda III: early birds
    Part IV. Endothermy, Endemism, and Extinction:
    12. Dinosaur thermoregulation: some like it hot
    13. The flowering of the Mesozoic
    14. Thoughts of a paleontologist: a history of ideas in paleontology
    15. The Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction: the frill is gone.

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    David E. Fastovsky, David B. Weishampel

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  • Authors

    David E. Fastovsky, University of Rhode Island
    David Fastovsky is Professor of Geology at the University of Rhode Island and tutor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. His interest in dinosaurs started as a child when he read about a 1920's fossil collector's adventures in the Gobi Desert. Dinosaurs won out years later when he had the tough decision of choosing between a career in music (he takes his viola on his many field trips) or paleontology, and he has had many of his own adventures in far-flung parts of the world. He's known as a dynamic teacher as well as a respected researcher with a focus on the environments in which dinosaurs roamed. When dinosaur fossils are found he's called on to reconstruct the place where they lived. He has made several television documentary appearances, and was presented with the Distinguished Service Award by the Geological Society of America in 2006.

    David B. Weishampel, The Johns Hopkins University
    David B. Weishampel is professor in the Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution at The Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on dinosaur evolution and how dinosaurs function and he is particularly interested in herbivorous dinosaurs and the dinosaur record of Europe. Among his many publications he is senior editor of The Dinosauria, and has contributed to a number of popular publications including acting as consultant to Michael Crichton in the writing of The Lost World, the inspiration for Steven Spielberg's film Jurassic Park.

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