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Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life

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  • Posted March 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I cannot recommend this highly enough

    Dinosaur Odyssey takes a dinosaur-centric tour of the epic of evolution that literally starts with the Big Bang. The scope of this 332-page book is every bit as expansive as that sentence implies. By page 97, Dr. Scott has treated his readers to clear and entertaining discussions of the Big Bang, geothermal processes, continental drift theory, ecology, evolution, and weather patterns. In the second half of the book, Dr. Scott discusses more obviously paleontological topics, including Mesozoic food chains, predator-prey relationships, climate change and its effect on dinosaur evolution, and inevitably, extinction. There's even a chapter devoted to explaining exactly why Jurassic Park couldn't happen. Along the way, Dr. Scott weaves in fascinating information about the various dinosaur discoveries paleontologists have made in the past twenty-five years.

    Processing all that information is no small task. Fortunately, Dr. Scott takes Albert Einstein's principle of science writing to heart: "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."

    Take for example, his discussion of plate tectonics in Chapter 4, in which Dr. Scott uses the image of a lava lamp to describe the action of convection forces in the Earth's mantle (p. 56).

    There's plenty of humor sprinkled throughout the book as well. For example, in describing the paleontological debate over whether the T. Rex was primarily a hunter or a scavenger of dead meat, Dr. Scott makes the wry comment that the scavenger theory "effectively relegate[s] Tyrannosaurus to the status of prehistory's biggest maggot."

    Dr. Scott enlightens, informs, and entertains in this remarkable volume.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2011

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