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What Bugged the Dinosaurs? Insects, Disease, and Death in the Cretaceous

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Millions of years ago in the Cretaceous period, the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex — with its dagger-like teeth for tearing its prey to ribbons — was undoubtedly the fiercest carnivore to roam the Earth. Yet as What Bugged the Dinosaurs? reveals, T. rex was not the only killer. George and Roberta Poinar show how insects — from biting sand flies to disease-causing parasites — dominated life on the planet and played a significant role in the life and death of the dinosaurs.

The Poinars bring the age of the dinosaurs marvelously to life. Analyzing exotic insects fossilized in Cretaceous amber at three major deposits in Lebanon, Burma, and Canada, they reconstruct the complex ecology of a hostile prehistoric world inhabited by voracious swarms of insects. The Poinars draw upon tantalizing new evidence from their amazing discoveries of disease-producing vertebrate pathogens in Cretaceous blood-sucking flies, as well as intestinal worms and protozoa found in fossilized dinosaur excrement, to provide a unique view of how insects infected with malaria, leishmania, and other pathogens, together with intestinal parasites, could have devastated dinosaur populations.

A scientific adventure story from the authors whose research inspired Jurassic Park, What Bugged the Dinosaurs? offers compelling evidence of how insects directly and indirectly contributed to the dinosaurs' demise.

Review:

"The Poinars graphically detail the probably diseases, debilitations, and deaths of dinosaurs from the life-cycle perspective of insects that infested them. The Poinars directly encourage younger readers by emphasizing how wide open paleoentomology is to future researchers. They impart enthusiasm in recounting their own discoveries...a mood supported by this book's several dozen photographs and drawings. Showing dinosaurs beleaguered, the Poinars temper the popular image of their dominance." Booklist

Review:

"The Poinars clearly know their insects." Jeff Hecht, New Scientist

Synopsis:

"This is an excellent book. There is no doubt Poinar and Poinar have admirable track records and they are well known for their sustained and high-quality work on fossil insects, and especially on insects in amber."--Michael J. Benton, author of When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time

"Interesting and engaging. This book presents evidence that insects interacted as prey, as competitors for plant food, and as vectors of dinosaur diseases. It develops the intriguing and plausible hypothesis that insects contributed to the extinction of dinosaurs."--Timothy D. Schowalter, author of Insect Ecology: An Ecosystem Approach

Synopsis:

Millions of years ago in the Cretaceous period, the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex--with its dagger-like teeth for tearing its prey to ribbons--was undoubtedly the fiercest carnivore to roam the Earth. Yet as What Bugged the Dinosaurs? reveals, T. rex was not the only killer. George and Roberta Poinar show how insects--from biting sand flies to disease-causing parasites--dominated life on the planet and played a significant role in the life and death of the dinosaurs.

The Poinars bring the age of the dinosaurs marvelously to life. Analyzing exotic insects fossilized in Cretaceous amber at three major deposits in Lebanon, Burma, and Canada, they reconstruct the complex ecology of a hostile prehistoric world inhabited by voracious swarms of insects. The Poinars draw upon tantalizing new evidence from their amazing discoveries of disease-producing vertebrate pathogens in Cretaceous blood-sucking flies, as well as intestinal worms and protozoa found in fossilized dinosaur excrement, to provide a unique view of how insects infected with malaria, leishmania, and other pathogens, together with intestinal parasites, could have devastated dinosaur populations.

A scientific adventure story from the authors whose research inspired Jurassic Park, What Bugged the Dinosaurs?? offers compelling evidence of how insects directly and indirectly contributed to the dinosaurs' demise.

About the Author

George Poinar, Jr., is currently in the Zoology Department at Oregon State University. He is well known internationally in various fields, including paleobiology, nematology, and insect pathology. He became familiar with tropical diseases while serving as a consultant for the United Nations and World Health Organization.

Roberta Poinar is a retired research scientist. They are the coauthors of The Amber Forest: A Reconstruction of a Vanished World (Princeton) and The Quest for Life in Amber. Their research has been featured in leading publications worldwide and on television programs such as Nova.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: Fossils: A Time Capsule 7

Chapter 2: The Cretaceous: A Time of Change 17

Chapter 3: Herbivory 37

Chapter 4: Dinosaurs Competing with Insects 50

Chapter 5: Did Dinosaurs or Insects "Invent" Flowering Plants? 55

Chapter 6: Pollination 57

Chapter 7: Blights and Diseases of Cretaceous Plants 63

Chapter 8: The Cretaceous: Age of Chimeras and Other Oddities 72

Chapter 9: Sanitary Engineers of the Cretaceous 79

Chapter 10: The Case for Entomophagy among Dinosaurs 91

Chapter 11: Gorging on Dinosaurs 102

Chapter 12: Biting Midges 110

Chapter 13: Sand Flies 116

Chapter 14: Mosquitoes 122

Chapter 15: Blackflies 127

Chapter 16: Horseflies and Deerflies 131

Chapter 17: Fleas and Lice 135

Chapter 18: Ticks and Mites 141

Chapter 19: Parasitic Worms 147

Chapter 20: The Discovery of Cretaceous Diseases 157

Chapter 21: Diseases and the Evolution of Pathogens 171

Chapter 22: Insects: The Ultimate Survivors 185

Chapter 23: Extinctions and the K/T Boundary 192

APPENDIX A: Cretaceous Hexapoda 203

APPENDIX B: Key Factors Contributing to the Survival of Terrestrial Animals 219

APPENDIX C: Problems with Evaluating the Fossil Record and Extinctions 221

References 225

Index 253

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691124315
Author:
George O. Poinar Jr. and Roberta Poinar
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Illustrator:
Poinar, George O., Jr.
Author:
Poinar, Roberta
Author:
Poinar, George O., Jr.
Author:
Poinar, George
Author:
Poinar, George O., Jr.
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
Paleontology
Subject:
Insects
Subject:
Life Sciences - Biology - General
Subject:
Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures
Subject:
Biology
Subject:
Biological Sciences.
Subject:
Archaeology and Ancient History
Subject:
Birds and Natural History
Subject:
Dinosaurs
Subject:
Amber fossils
Subject:
Paleontology -- Cretaceous.
Subject:
Geology-Paleontology
Subject:
Popular science
Copyright:
Publication Date:
December 2007
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
61 color illus. 39 line illus.
Pages:
280
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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What Bugged the Dinosaurs? Insects, Disease, and Death in the Cretaceous New Hardcover
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$38.50 Backorder
Product details 280 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691124315 Reviews:
"Review" by , "The Poinars graphically detail the probably diseases, debilitations, and deaths of dinosaurs from the life-cycle perspective of insects that infested them. The Poinars directly encourage younger readers by emphasizing how wide open paleoentomology is to future researchers. They impart enthusiasm in recounting their own discoveries...a mood supported by this book's several dozen photographs and drawings. Showing dinosaurs beleaguered, the Poinars temper the popular image of their dominance."
"Review" by , "The Poinars clearly know their insects."
"Synopsis" by ,

"This is an excellent book. There is no doubt Poinar and Poinar have admirable track records and they are well known for their sustained and high-quality work on fossil insects, and especially on insects in amber."--Michael J. Benton, author of When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time

"Interesting and engaging. This book presents evidence that insects interacted as prey, as competitors for plant food, and as vectors of dinosaur diseases. It develops the intriguing and plausible hypothesis that insects contributed to the extinction of dinosaurs."--Timothy D. Schowalter, author of Insect Ecology: An Ecosystem Approach

"Synopsis" by ,

Millions of years ago in the Cretaceous period, the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex--with its dagger-like teeth for tearing its prey to ribbons--was undoubtedly the fiercest carnivore to roam the Earth. Yet as What Bugged the Dinosaurs? reveals, T. rex was not the only killer. George and Roberta Poinar show how insects--from biting sand flies to disease-causing parasites--dominated life on the planet and played a significant role in the life and death of the dinosaurs.

The Poinars bring the age of the dinosaurs marvelously to life. Analyzing exotic insects fossilized in Cretaceous amber at three major deposits in Lebanon, Burma, and Canada, they reconstruct the complex ecology of a hostile prehistoric world inhabited by voracious swarms of insects. The Poinars draw upon tantalizing new evidence from their amazing discoveries of disease-producing vertebrate pathogens in Cretaceous blood-sucking flies, as well as intestinal worms and protozoa found in fossilized dinosaur excrement, to provide a unique view of how insects infected with malaria, leishmania, and other pathogens, together with intestinal parasites, could have devastated dinosaur populations.

A scientific adventure story from the authors whose research inspired Jurassic Park, What Bugged the Dinosaurs?? offers compelling evidence of how insects directly and indirectly contributed to the dinosaurs' demise.

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