Whether you’re interested in dinosaurs or the extinct animals that came before and after the dinosaurs, 2018 has given you several new books to get your feet wet in fossils.
End of the Megafauna: The Fate of the World’s Hugest, Fiercest, and Strangest Animals by Ross D E MacPhee (illustrated by Peter Schouten)
On sale today! Up until a few thousand years ago gorilla-sized lemurs, 500-pound birds, and crocodiles that weighed a ton or more roamed the earth. What caused the disappearance of these prehistoric behemoths? Paleomammalogist Ross D. E. MacPhee explores them all, examining the leading extinction theories, weighing the evidence, and presenting his own conclusions.
Publishers Weekly says, “This is a must-read for anyone interested in the subject of animal extinctions, in the present or the past.”
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Steve Brusatte
Steve Brusatte, a young American paleontologist who has emerged as one of the foremost stars of the field masterfully tells the complete, surprising, and new history of the dinosaurs, drawing on cutting-edge science to dramatically bring to life their lost world and illuminate their enigmatic origins, spectacular flourishing, astonishing diversity, cataclysmic extinction, and startling living legacy.
Read also: 8 Tyrannosaur Myths
The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Quest for Earth’s Ultimate Trophy by Paige Williams
The Dinosaur Artist is a stunning work of narrative journalism about humans’ relationship with natural history and a seemingly intractable conflict between science and commerce. A story that stretches from Florida’s Land O’ Lakes to the Gobi Desert, The Dinosaur Artist illuminates the history of fossil collecting, specifically regarding Eric Prokopi and the T. bataar skeleton that was engaged in an international custody battle, unraveling Prokopi’s world.
Steve Brusatte says it’s “a cracking combination of true crime, dinosaurs, and top-notch investigative journalism.”
In Dinomania, Boria Sax, a leading authority on human-animal relations, tells the story of our unlikely romance with the titanic saurians, from the discovery of their enormous bones—relics of an ancient world—to the dinosaur theme parks of today.
Booklist says, “In this wide-reaching social history of the dinosaur-human relationship, Sax brings the story up to the present by highlighting contemporary museum exhibits, amusement parks, genre fiction, movies, and toys. With many historical illustrations, Dinomania is an entertaining addition to literature on popular science, pop culture, and public opinions.”
Noah’s Ravens: Interpreting the Makers of Tridactyl Dinosaur Footprints by James O. Farlow
Profusely illustrated and meticulously researched, Noah’s Ravens quantitatively explores a variety of approaches to interpreting the tracks, carefully examining within-species and across-species variability in foot and footprint shape in nonavian dinosaurs and their close living relatives. The results help decipher one of the world’s most important assemblages of fossil dinosaur tracks, found in sedimentary rocks deposited in ancient rift valleys of North America.
Nature editor Henry Gee argues in Across the Bridge that the morphological chasm between vertebrates and invertebrates remains vast and enigmatic. As Gee shows, even as scientific advances have falsified a variety of theories linking these groups, the extant relatives of vertebrates are too few for effective genetic analysis. Fossils present yet further problems of interpretation. Tracing both the fast-changing science that has helped illuminate the intricacies of vertebrate evolution as well as the limits of that science, Across the Bridge helps us to see how far the field has come in crossing the invertebrate-to-vertebrate divide—and how far we still have to go.