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Science, Technology, and Mathematics > Paleontology

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Megafauna Cover

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Megafauna

Giant Beasts of Pleistocene South America

Richard A. Fariña, Sergio F. Vizcaíno, and Gerry De Iuliis

More than 10,000 years ago spectacularly large mammals roamed the pampas and jungles of South America. This book tells the story of these great beasts during and just after the Pleistocene, the geological epoch marked by the great ice ages. Megafauna describes the history and way of life of these animals, their comings and goings, and what befell them at the beginning of the modern era and the arrival of humans. It places these giants within the context of the other mammals then alive, describing their paleobiology -- how they walked; how much they weighed; their diets, behavior, biomechanics; and the interactions among them and with their environment. It also tells the stories of the scientists who contributed to our discovery and knowledge of these transcendent creatures and the environment they inhabited. The episode known as the Great American Biotic Interchange, perhaps the most important of all natural history "experiments," is also an important theme of the book, tracing the biotic events of both North and South America that led to the fauna and the ecosystems discussed in this book.

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New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs

The Royal Tyrrell Museum Ceratopsian Symposium

Michael J. Ryan

Easily distinguished by the horns and frills on their skulls, ceratopsians were one of the most successful of all dinosaurs. This volume presents a broad range of cutting-edge research on the functional biology, behavior, systematics, paleoecology, and paleogeography of the horned dinosaurs, and includes descriptions of newly identified species.

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People, Plants, and Landscapes

Studies in Paleoethnobotany

Written by Kristen J. Gremillion

People, Plants, and Landscapes showcases the potential of modern paleoethnobotany, an interdisciplinary field that explores the interactions between human beings and plants by examining archaeological evidence. Using different methods and theoretical approaches, the essays in this work apply botanical knowledge to studies of archaeological plant remains and apply paleoethnobotany to nonarchaeological sources of evidence. The resulting techniques often lie beyond the traditional boundaries of either archaeology or botany.

With this ground-breaking work, the technically and methodologically enhanced paleoethnobotany of the 1990s has joined forces with ecological and evolutionary theory to forge explanations of changing relationships between human and plant populations.

Contents and Contributors:

The Shaping of Modern Paleoethnobotany, Patty Jo Watson

New Perspectives on the Paleoethnobotany of the Newt Kash Shelter, Kristen J. Gremillion

A 3,000-Year-Old Cache of Crop Seeds from Marble Bluff, Arkansas, Gayle J. Fritz

Evolutionary Changes Associated with the Domestication of Cucurbita pepo: Evidence from Eastern Kentucky, C. Wesley Cowan

Anthropogenesis in Prehistoric Northeastern Japan, Gary W. Crawford

Between Farmstead and Center: The Natural and Social Landscape of Moundville, C. Margaret Scarry and Vincas P. Steponaitis

An Evolutionary Ecology Perspective on Diet Choice, Risk, and Plant Domestication, Bruce Winterhalder and Carol Goland

The Ecological Structure and Behavioral Implications of Mast Exploitation Strategies, Paul S. Gardner

Changing Strategies of Indian Field Location in the Early Historic Southeast, Gregory A. Waselkov

Interregional Patterns of Land Use and Plant Management in Native North America, Julia E. Hammett


 

 

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Plants in Mesozoic Time

Morphological Innovations, Phylogeny, Ecosystems

Edited by Carole T. Gee

Plants in Mesozoic Time showcases the latest research of broad botanical and paleontological interest from the world's experts on Mesozoic plant life. Each chapter covers a special aspect of a particular plant group -- ranging from horsetails to ginkgophytes, from cycads to conifers -- and relates it to key innovations in structure, phylogenetic relationships, the Mesozoic flora, or to animals such as plant-eating dinosaurs. The book's geographic scope ranges from Antarctica and Argentina to the western interior of North America, with studies on the reconstruction of the Late Jurassic vegetation of the Morrison Formation and on fossil angiosperm lianas from Late Cretaceous deposits in Utah and New Mexico. The volume also includes cutting-edge studies on the evolutionary developmental biology ("evo-devo") of Mesozoic forests, the phylogenetic analysis of the still enigmatic bennettitaleans, and the genetic developmental controls of the oldest flowers in the fossil record.

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Rhinoceros Giants

The Paleobiology of Indricotheres

Donald R. Prothero

Written for everyone fascinated by the huge beasts that once roamed the earth, this book introduces the giant hornless rhinoceros, Indricotherium. These massive animals inhabited Asia and Eurasia for more than 14 million years, about 37 to 23 million years ago. They had skulls 6 feet long, stood 22 feet high at the shoulder, and were twice as heavy as the largest elephant ever recorded, tipping the scales at 44,100 pounds. Fortunately, the big brutes were vegetarians. Donald R. Prothero tells their story, from their discovery just a century ago to the latest research on how they lived and died.

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Sabertooth

Mauricio Antón

With their spectacularly enlarged canines, sabertooth cats are among the most popular of prehistoric animals, yet it is surprising how little information about them is available for the curious layperson. What’s more, there were other sabertooths that were not cats, animals with exotic names like nimravids, barbourofelids, and thylacosmilids. Some were no taller than a domestic cat, others were larger than a lion, and some were as weird as their names suggest. Sabertooths continue to pose questions even for specialists. What did they look like? How did they use their spectacular canine teeth? And why did they finally go extinct? In this visual and intellectual treat of a book, Mauricio Antón tells their story in words and pictures, all scrupulously based on the latest scientific research. The book is a glorious wedding of science and art that celebrates the remarkable diversity of the life of the not-so-distant past.

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The Sauropods

Evolution and Paleobiology

Kristina Curry Rogers

Sauropod dinosaurs were the largest animals ever to walk the earth, and they represent a substantial portion of vertebrate biomass and biodiversity during the Mesozoic Era. The story of sauropod evolution is told in an extensive fossil record of skeletons and footprints that span the globe and 150 million years of earth history. This generously illustrated volume is the first comprehensive scientific summary of sauropod evolution and paleobiology. The contributors explore sauropod anatomy, detail its variations, and question the myth that life at large size led to evolutionary stagnation and eventual replacement by more "advanced" herbivorous dinosaurs. Chapters address topics such as the evolutionary history and diversity of sauropods; methods for creating three-dimensional reconstructions of their skeletons; questions of sauropod herbivory, tracks, gigantism, locomotion, reproduction, growth rates, and more. This book, together with the recent surge in sauropod discoveries around the world and taxonomic revisions of fragmentary genera, will shed new light on "nature's greatest extravagances."

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Transylvanian Dinosaurs

David B. Weishampel and Coralia-Maria Jianu

At the end of the time of the dinosaurs, Transylvania was an island in what was to become southeastern Europe, formed by the forces of plate tectonics. The island's limited resources affected the size and life histories of the animals, resulting in a local dwarfism. For example, sauropods found on the island measured only six meters long, while their cousins elsewhere grew up to five times larger. Here, David B. Weishampel and Coralia-Maria Jianu present unique evolutionary interpretations of this phenomenon. The authors bring together the latest information on the fauna, flora, geology, and paleogeography of the region, casting these ancient reptiles in their phylogenetic, paleoecological, and evolutionary contexts. What the authors find is that Transylvanian dinosaurs experienced a range of unpredictable successes as they evolved. Woven throughout the detailed history and science of these diminutive dinosaurs is the fascinating story of the man who first discovered them, the mysterious twentieth-century paleontologist, Franz Baron Nopcsa. Hailed by some as the father of paleobiology, it was Nopcsa alone that understood the importance of the dinosaur discoveries in Transylvania. Nopcsa’s name is synonymous with Transylvanian dinosaurs; their story cannot be told without recounting his. Transylvanian Dinosaurs strikes an engaging balance between biography and scientific treatise and is sure to capture the imagination of professional paleontologists and amateur dinophiles alike.

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Tyrannosaurid Paleobiology

Edited by J. Michael Parrish, Ralph E. Molnar, Philip J. Currie, and Eva B. Koppelhus

The opening of an exhibit focused on "Jane," a beautifully preserved tyrannosaur collected by the Burpee Museum of Natural History, was the occasion for an international symposium on tyrannosaur paleobiology. This volume, drawn from the symposium, includes studies of the tyrannosaurids Chingkankousaurus fragilis and "Sir William" and the generic status of Nanotyrannus; theropod teeth, pedal proportions, brain size, and craniocervical function; soft tissue reconstruction, including that of "Jane"; paleopathology and tyrannosaurid claws; dating the "Jane" site; and tyrannosaur feeding and hunting strategies. Tyrannosaurid Paleobiology highlights the far ranging and vital state of current tyrannosaurid dinosaur research and discovery.

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Urumaco and Venezuelan Paleontology

The Fossil Record of the Northern Neotropics

Edited by Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra, Orangel A. Aguilera, and Alfredo A. Carlini

Urumaco and Venezuelan Paleontology offers a synthesis of the paleontological record of Venezuela, including new discoveries on stratigraphy, paleobotany, fossil invertebrates, and vertebrates. Besides providing a critical summary of the record of decapods, fishes, crocodiles, turtles, rodents, armadillos, and ungulates, several chapters introduce new information on the distribution and paleobiology of groups not previously studied in this part of the world. Given its position in the northern neotropics, close to the Panamanian land bridge, Venezuela is a key location for understanding faunal exchanges between the Americas in the recent geological past. The book reviews the recent paleobotanical and vertebrate fossil record of the region, provides an understanding of Pleistocene climatic change and biogeography for the last few thousand years, and integrates new information with summaries of Spanish language works on Venezuelan geology and paleontology.

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