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Evolution and Paleobiology
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."
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.
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.
The Fossil Record of the Northern Neotropics
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.