Synopses & Reviews
This captivating book, laced with evocative anecdotes from the field, gives the first holistic, up-to-date overview of dinosaurs and their world for a wide audience of readers. Situating these fascinating animals in a broad ecological and evolutionary context, leading dinosaur expert Scott D. Sampson fills us in on the exhilarating discoveries of the past twenty-five years, the most active period in the history of dinosaur paleontology, during which more and#147;newand#8221; species were named than in all prior history. With these discoveriesand#151;and the most recent controversiesand#151;in mind, Sampson reconstructs the odyssey of the dinosaurs from their humble origins on the supercontinent Pangaea, to their reign as the largest animals the planet has ever known, and finally to their abrupt demise. Much more than the story of who ate whom way back when, Dinosaur Odyssey places dinosaurs in an expansive web of relationships with other organisms and demonstrates how they provide a powerful lens through which to observe the entire natural world. Addressing topics such as extinction, global warming, and energy flow, Dinosaur Odyssey finds that the dinosaurs' story is, in fact, a major chapter in our own story.
"If one day you saw a Torvosaurus looking through your second-story window, would it be able to live on the vegetation it found? Dinosaurs, paleontologist Sampson stresses throughout this book, were part of a complex ecosystem, and to understand these beasts, we must also understand the plants and other animals they shared it with, along with factors such as the position of the continents and climate change. Sampson's sprawling study is one of the most comprehensive surveys of dinosaurs and their worlds to date. The author discusses in detail plant life during different dinosaur eras (e.g., there were no flowering plants) and even what insects would have scurried beneath them. Who knew that fossilized fecal matter hid so many clues to a dinosaur's dinner millions of years ago? Sampson addresses the ever popular subject of dinosaur extinctions and develops a comprehensive theory encompassing various dinosaur generations. Highly recommended for all dinosaur fans, although the writing may prove a bit too scholarly for younger buffs. Color and b&w illus., b&w photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The best general-audience dinosaur book since the Dinosaur Renaissance began in the 1970s."and#151;Philip J. Currie, coeditor of Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs
, from the foreword
and#147;Dinosaur Odyssey is not only a personable and highly accessible tour of the up-to-date discoveries about the gigantic and famous. It also builds on dinosaur paleontology to far-ranging topics like extinction, climate change, and the possibility of life on Mars. The gift to the reader is both fascination and enlightenment.and#8221;and#151;Michael Novacek, author of Terra and Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs
"An odyssey indeed! One of the world's leading dinosaur paleontologists, Sampson draws on a wide variety of sciences, from astronomy and cosmology to microbiology and ecology, in order to portray dinosaurs as living animals. The reader is in for a treat and will emerge with fresh and valuable insights."and#151;Peter Dodson, author of The Horned Dinosaurs
About the Author
Scott D. Sampson is a dinosaur paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and educator. He serves as Research Curator at the Utah Museum of Natural History and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah.and#160;and#160;He now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where he continuesand#160;dinosaur research andand#160;actively pursuesand#160;writing and consulting projects surrounding education reform and sustainability.