Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Dawn of the Dinosaurs Review

After a brief introduction to the general types of organisms, the geography, and the initial climatic conditions to be encountered, Fraser organizes his book chronologically and geographically through the Triassic. It is a catalog of strange animals and plants, brought alive by the most recent discoveries and ideas of ecology, functional morphology, and behavior. Wisely, Fraser rejects global generalizations of climatic models in favor of regional and even local reconstructions, led by what the fossils tell us and by his analyses of geographic heterogeneity in temperature, resources, and rainfall. This is one of the strongest features of the book. The rapid replacements, rises and falls of tetrapod dynasties can readily be gleaned from this well-limned catalog, and one has the impression of a series of turnovers as rapid as anything in the Age of Mammals. Many sorts of scientists will benefit from it. Those not familiar with paleontology will get a first-rate, accessible introduction to the dramatis personae; those whose interest tends to focus on the critters will be delighted by the comprehensive introduction to the climatic history, geology, and stratigraphy of the Triassic worldwide. Especially useful is the approach by regions and individual geologic formations: if you want a quick introduction to the Molteno, the Chinle, or the British fissure fill deposits, this book is one-stop shopping.
Emphasis added.

I read this one and liked it. Something to think on.

No comments: