Synopses & Reviews
Toward the end of the Age of Dinosaurs, during a time known as the Late Cretaceous, a new type of giant predator appeared along the southern coasts of North America. It was a huge species of crocodylian called Deinosuchus. Neither a crocodile nor an alligator, it was an ancestor of both modern groups; it reached weights of many tons and it had some features unique to its own species. Average-sized individuals were bigger than the carnivorous dinosaurs with which they co-existed; the largest specimens were the size of a T-rex. King of the Crocodylians, the biography of these giant beasts, tells the long history of their discovery and reports on new research about their makeup. The book also deals with the ancient life and geology of the coastal areas where Deinosuchus thrived, its competitors, and its prey, which probably included carnivorous dinosaurs. There is also detailed discussion of the methods used to determine the size of these giant animals, the dating of the fossils, the nature of their living environments, and how we know who ate whom 80 million years ago.
Schwimmer offers a study of the paleoautecology of a Cretaceous crocodylian, Deinosuchus. Thoughtfully organized, the book's chapter headings reflect answers to some basic questions: How big was it? How old was it? Where was it found? What did it eat? How many species existed? Astute readers will gain insight into the thinking of a practicing vertebrate paleontologist as the author probes these questions. But the target audience for this trade book is not obvious--technical jargon is sometimes explained in the text (and thoroughly covered in the appendixes), but its usage in the text requires an advanced level of understanding. The author complains about the requirements of the zoological rules of nomenclature, which seems counterproductive in such a work. The book will be most useful for paleoecologists hoping to gain a deeper understanding of life in the Cretaceous. Upper--division undergraduates through professionals.P. K. Strother, Boston College, Choice, December 2002
"Schwimmer offers a study of the paleoautecology of a Cretaceous crocodylian, Deinosuchus. Thoughtfully organized, the book's chapter headings reflect answers to some basic questions: How big was it? How old was it? Where was it found? What did it eat? How many species existed? Astute readers will gain insight into the thinking of a practicing vertebrate paleontologist as the author probes these questions...." --Choice, December 2002 Indiana University Press Indiana University Press
About the Author
David R. Schwimmer, Professor of Paleontology at Columbus State University in Georgia, is an expert on the Late Cretaceous paleontology of the southeastern United States. Author of many papers on Cretaceous vertebrates, he is co-author (with W. J. Frazier) of Regional Stratigraphy of North America, which won the award for "Best Reference Book of the Year" from the Geoscience Information Society.
Table of Contents
The life and times of a giant crocodylian -- The early paleontology of deinosuchus -- The size of deinosuchus -- The age of deinosuchus -- Deinosuchus localities and their ancient environments -- How many deinosuchus species existed? -- A genealogy of deinosuchus -- The prey of giants -- Appendix a. geological time and subdivisions of the late cretaceous -- Appendix b. glossary of anatomic and cladistic terms -- Appendix c. list of deinosuchus localities.