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Life of the Past

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Life of the Past

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Dinosaurs Under the Aurora

Roland A. Gangloff

In 1961, while mapping rock exposures along the Colville River in Alaska, an oil company geologist would unknowingly find the evidence for a startling discovery. Long before the North Slope of Alaska was being exploited for its petroleum resources it was a place where dinosaurs roamed. Dinosaurs under the Aurora immerses readers in the challenges, stark beauty, and hard-earned rewards of conducting paleontological field work in the Arctic. Roland A. Gangloff recounts the significant discoveries of field and museum research on Arctic dinosaurs, most notably of the last 25 years when the remarkable record of dinosaurs from Alaska was compiled. This research has changed the way we think about dinosaurs and their world. Examining long-standing controversies, such as the end-Cretaceous extinction of dinosaurs and whether dinosaurs were residents or just seasonal visitors to polar latitudes, Gangloff takes readers on a delightful and instructive journey into the world of paleontology as it is conducted in the land under the aurora.

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The Dodo and the Solitaire

A Natural History

Jolyon C. Parish

The Dodo and the Solitaire is the most comprehensive book to date about these two famously extinct birds. It contains all the known contemporary accounts and illustrations of the dodo and solitaire, covering their history after extinction and discussing their ecology, classification, phylogenetic placement, and evolution. Both birds were large and flightless and lived on inhabited islands some 500 miles east of Madagascar. The first recorded descriptions of the dodo were provided by Dutch sailors who first encountered them in 1598—within 100 years, the dodo was extinct. So quickly did the bird disappear that there is insufficient evidence to form an entirely accurate picture of its appearance and ecology, and the absence has led to much speculation. The story of the dodo, like that of the solitaire, has been pieced together from fragments, both literary and physical, that have been carefully compiled and examined in this extraordinary volume.

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Drawing Out Leviathan

Dinosaurs and the Science Wars

Keith M. Parsons

"... are dinosaurs social constructs? Do we really know anything about dinosaurs? Might not all of our beliefs about dinosaurs merely be figments of the paleontological imagination? A few years ago such questions would have seemed preposterous, even nonsensical. Now they must have a serious answer."

At stake in the "Science Wars" that have raged in academe and in the media is nothing less than the standing of science in our culture. One side argues that science is a "social construct," that it does not discover facts about the world, but rather constructs artifacts disguised as objective truths. This view threatens the authority of science and rejects science's claims to objectivity, rationality, and disinterested inquiry. Drawing Out Leviathan examines this argument in the light of some major debates about dinosaurs: the case of the wrong-headed dinosaur, the dinosaur "heresies" of the 1970s, and the debate over the extinction of dinosaurs.

Keith Parsons claims that these debates, though lively and sometimes rancorous, show that evidence and logic, not arbitrary "rules of the game," remained vitally important, even when the debates were at their nastiest. They show science to be a complex set of activities, pervaded by social influences, and not easily reducible to any stereotype. Parsons acknowledges that there are lessons to be learned by scientists from their would-be adversaries, and the book concludes with some recommendations for ending the Science Wars.

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Forerunners of Mammals

Radiation • Histology • Biology

Edited by Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan

About 320 million years ago a group of reptiles known as the synapsids emerged and forever changed Earth's ecological landscapes. This book discusses the origin and radiation of the synapsids from their sail-backed pelycosaur ancestor to their diverse descendants, the therapsids or mammal-like reptiles, that eventually gave rise to mammals. It further showcases the remarkable evolutionary history of the synapsids in the Karoo Basin of South Africa and the environments that existed at the time. By highlighting studies of synapsid bone microstructure, it offers a unique perspective of how such studies are utilized to reconstruct various aspects of biology, such as growth dynamics, biomechanical function, and the attainment of sexual and skeletal maturity. A series of chapters outline the radiation and phylogenetic relationships of major synapsid lineages and provide direct insight into how bone histological analyses have led to an appreciation of these enigmatic animals as once-living creatures. The penultimate chapter examines the early radiation of mammals from their nonmammalian cynodont ancestors, and the book concludes by engaging the intriguing question of when and where endothermy evolved among the therapsids.

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Fossils of the Carpathian Region

István Fozy and István Szente. Gareth Dyke, English Text Editor

István Fozy and István Szente provide a comprehensive review of the fossil record of the Carpathian Basin. Fossils of the Carpathian Region describes and illustrates the region’s fossils, recounts their history, and tells the stories of key people involved in paleontological research in the area. In addition to covering all the important fossils of this region, special attention is given to rare finds and complete skeletons. The region’s fossils range from tiny foraminifera to the Transylvanian dinosaurs, mastodons, and mammals. The book also gives nonspecialists the opportunity to gain a basic understanding of paleontology. Sidebars present brief biographies of important figures and explain how to collect, prepare, and interpret fossils.

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Gaining Ground, Second Edition

The Origin and Evolution of Tetrapods

Jennifer A. Clack

Around 370 million years ago, a distant relative of a modern lungfish began a most extraordinary adventure—emerging from the water and laying claim to the land. Over the next 70 million years, this tentative beachhead had developed into a worldwide colonization by ever-increasing varieties of four-limbed creatures known as tetrapods, the ancestors of all vertebrate life on land. This new edition of Jennifer A. Clack's groundbreaking book tells the complex story of their emergence and evolution. Beginning with their closest relatives, the lobe-fin fishes such as lungfishes and coelacanths, Clack defines what a tetrapod is, describes their anatomy, and explains how they are related to other vertebrates. She looks at the Devonian environment in which they evolved, describes the known and newly discovered species, and explores the order and timing of anatomical changes that occurred during the fish-to-tetrapod transition.

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The Great Fossil Enigma

The Search for the Conodont Animal

Simon J. Knell

Stephen Jay Gould borrowed from Winston Churchill when he described the conodont animal as a "riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma." This animal confounded science for more than a century. Some thought it a slug, others a fish, a worm, a plant, even a primitive ancestor of ourselves. The list of possibilities grew and yet an answer to the riddle never seemed any nearer. Would the animal that left behind these miniscule fossils known as conodonts ever be identified? Three times the animal was "found," but each was quite a different animal. Were any of them really the one? Simon J. Knell takes the reader on a journey through 150 years of scientific thinking, imagining, and arguing. Slowly the animal begins to reveal traces of itself: its lifestyle, its remarkable evolution, its witnessing of great catastrophes, its movements over the surface of the planet, and finally its anatomy. Today the conodont animal remains perhaps the most disputed creature in the zoological world.

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Edited by David A. Eberth and David C. Evans

Hadrosaurs--also known as duck-billed dinosaurs--are abundant in the fossil record. With their unique complex jaws and teeth perfectly suited to shred and chew plants, they flourished on Earth in remarkable diversity during the Late Cretaceous. So ubiquitous are their remains that we have learned more about dinosaurian paleobiology and paleoecology from hadrosaurs than we have from any other group. In recent years, hadrosaurs have been in the spotlight. Researchers around the world have been studying new specimens and new taxa seeking to expand and clarify our knowledge of these marvelous beasts. This volume presents the results of an international symposium on hadrosaurs, sponsored by the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the Royal Ontario Museum, where scientists and students gathered to share their research and their passion for duck-billed dinosaurs. A uniquely comprehensive treatment of hadrosaurs, the book encompasses not only the well-known hadrosaurids proper, but also Hadrosaouroidea, allowing the former group to be evaluated in a broader perspective. The 36 chapters are divided into six sections--an overview, new insights into hadrosaur origins, hadrosaurid anatomy and variation, biogeography and biostratigraphy, function and growth, and preservation, tracks, and traces--followed by an afterword by Jack Horner.

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Horned Armadillos and Rafting Monkeys

The Fascinating Fossil Mammals of South America

Illustrated by Velizar Simeonovski. Darin A. Croft

South America is home to some of the most distinctive mammals on Earth—giant armadillos, tiny anteaters, the world’s largest rodent, and its smallest deer. But the continent once supported a variety of other equally intriguing mammals that have no close living relatives: armored mammals with tail clubs, saber-toothed marsupials, and even a swimming sloth. We know of the existence of these peculiar species thanks to South America’s rich fossil record, which provides many glimpses of prehistoric mammals and the ecosystems in which they lived. Organized as a "walk through time" and featuring species from 15 important fossil sites, this book is the most extensive and richly illustrated volume devoted exclusively to the Cenozoic mammals of South America. The text is supported by 75 life reconstructions of extinct species in their native habitats, as well as photographs of fossil specimens and the sites highlighted in the book. An annotated bibliography is included for those interested in delving into the scientific literature.

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Horns and Beaks

Ceratopsian and Ornithopod Dinosaurs

Edited by Kenneth Carpenter

Horns and Beaks completes Ken Carpenter’s series on the major dinosaur types. As with his volumes on armored, carnivorous, and sauropodomorph dinosaurs, this book collects original and new information, reflecting the latest discoveries and research on these two groups of animals. The Ornithopods include Iguanodon, one of the first dinosaurs ever discovered and analyzed, and perhaps the most common and best-documented group, the hadrosaurs or "duckbilled dinosaurs." The Ceratopsians include Triceratops, known for its distinctive three-horned skull and protective collar.

Contributors are Michael K. Brett-Surman, Kathleen Brill, Kenneth Carpenter, Benjamin S. Creisler, Tony DiCroce, Andrew A. Farke, Peter M. Galton, David Gilpin, Thomas M. Lehman, Nate L. Murphy, Christopher J. Ott, Gregory S. Paul, Xabier Pereda Suberbiola, Albert Prieto-Marquez, Bruce Rothschild, José Ignacio Ruiz-Omeñaca, Darren H. Tanke, Mark Thompson, David Trexler, and Jonathan R. Wagner.

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