The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life
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The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life

4.4 5
by Tim Haines, Paul Chambers

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Now in paper: An illustrated guide to 112 beasts dating from the Cambrian Period to the Pleistocene Epoch, with profiles on physical characteristics, lifestyle, habitat, behavior and distribution across prehistoric earth.


Now in paper: An illustrated guide to 112 beasts dating from the Cambrian Period to the Pleistocene Epoch, with profiles on physical characteristics, lifestyle, habitat, behavior and distribution across prehistoric earth.

Editorial Reviews

Resource Links - Philip Mills
For the student completing research on dinosaurs, this is a must have.
CM Magazine - Gillian Richardson
Amazing facts and stunning illustrations... Besides being visually outstanding, this book is as up-to-date as the field of paleontology allows... the depth of research is impressive.
Washington Post
Dinosaurs a plenty... but a lot more. Bone-crushing birds, pig-like reptiles, whales that walked on land and crocodiles that swam in the sea are just a few of the weird and scary creatures in this fascinating book.
January Magazine - Lincoln Cho
This is it: the book on dinosaurs everyone has been waiting for.... The book that every kid with a passion for dinosaurs wished existed when they first got the bug. Understand, though: The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life is not geared at kids. It's just that, given the subject matter, it's pretty much guaranteed that young males will be especially touched by this book.... The authors didn't come to this project without considerable credentials. Both were involved with the BBC's Walking With Dinosaurs.... It was amazing. Though The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life is not a companion to that television series, it brings the same sort of magic... Each alphabetized entry offers information on individual types of dinosaur as well as rich and beautiful full color "photos" of the dinosaurs under discussion in various types of dinosauric activity. This is an amazing book, filled with magic and knowledge, a truly winning combination.
Globe and Mail
Vivid and strikingly realistic images... an informative and entertaining book.
Science News
Comprehensive, illustrated encyclopedia to prehistoric animals... lifelike detail... this easily readable book should appeal to dinosaur enthusiasts of all ages.
Wilminton Star-News - Ben Steelman
Includes animals that came before and after the dinosaurs — big ones, scary ones and just plain bizarre ones... should charm small boys of all ages.
BC Parent - Elizabeth Shaffer
This book is packed with facts, stunning visuals and is written in an easy to understand and informative manner.
American Reference Books Annual - Mark A. Wilson
A must for any library with science collections... this is the type of book that will pull readers into the world of paleontology like few others.

Product Details

Firefly Books, Limited
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.75(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


Almost ten years ago we started making a television series called Walking with Dinosaurs. At the time it was very expensive and high risk because it aimed to use Hollywood technology to educate and inform rather than simply entertain. We offered the audience a vision of dinosaurs as real animals, not vindictive monsters. Fortunately the series broadcast to record audiences, and has since been seen by almost 400 million people worldwide.

However, we knew at the time that we were telling only half the story. Many weird and wonderful creatures came before and after the dinosaurs. The extraordinary success of Walking with Dinosaurs allowed us to complete this story. Walking with Beasts detailed the evolution of the mammals after the dinosaurs died out, and Walking with Monsters revealed the wonderful variety of creatures that thrived before the dinosaurs evolved. We finished with seven and a half hours of television that covered 4 billion years, cost millions of pounds and told the biggest story of them all—the evolution of life on Earth.

The combined coverage of these television series has allowed us to fulfil another long-standing ambition—namely, to produce a book that could tell the same story using the unique high-resolution stills made possible by the materials produced specially for the programs. Across the following pages you will see careful re-creations of dozens of prehistoric animals, each sculpted by specialist modelers, scanned into a computer and then brought to life by talented animators.

Part of making these extinct animals look true to life was ensuring that we accurately portrayedthe latest scientific thinking about their biology, behavior and lifestyle. At every stage over the last ten years we have depended on scientists to guide us about the look and feel of the animals we were re-creating. Much of this information is available in books and journals, but our desire for the latest and most up-to-date information often led us to talk to those scientists who routinely work with the fossils of specific animals. Over the years we have contacted more than 600 scientists, all experts in their field, and all of them major contributors to the sum total of our knowledge about the prehistoric world. Much of the information that appears in this book is thanks to them, and has never before been aired in public.

In addition to the computer-generated animals, the landscapes on to which they have been superimposed were also specifically chosen because their climate, plants and topography are a close match to the prehistoric environments in which our various animals lived. The background photographs in this book were taken in a wide range of exotic locations, from the jungles of Indonesia to the deserts of Utah and the coral reefs of the Red Sea and the Caribbean.

We believe that this book presents as accurate a vision of the world's prehistoric past as our technology presently allows, but the fossil record is far from complete, and new discoveries are constantly overturning established scientific 'truths': palaeontological thought does not stand still for long. All we can do is continue to refine our opinions and remain open to new evidence.

Meet the Author

Tim Haines is a trained zoologist and a scientific journalist. He has worked on BBC TV's Nature as well as on its award-winning Ice Mummy trilogy. He is executive producer of the Walking with Dinosaurs series.

Paul Chambers has degrees in geology and paleontology and has worked at the London Natural History Museum. A writer and scientific adviser, he was researcher for the Walking with Dinosaurs series.

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The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As far as dinosaur books go, this one is great. Not only does it show plenty of dinosaurs (complete with detailed profile descriptions), but includes tons of other prehistoric creatures. The illustrations show the same fantastic, photorealism that we've come to expect from the people who made the Walking With series. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to enjoy this quality work due to the fact that in only a few weeks after purchasing, the book will proceed to gradually fall apart as the glue melts, dries out, and/or disintegrates. I have already had to return this book once (the binding apparently having fallen apart while i was reading it at the store) and thought that this was just an anomally. Much to my dismay, my second copy, which was structurally sound when I picked it up, has now started to fall apart in an identical manner. In short, this is a perfect example of how a great product can be ruined by shoddy manufacturing. My advice: if you don't want to blow 10 bucks getting the book spiral-bound, try to get the hardcover version (I haven't seen the hardcover myself, but it probably uses different, more robust binding)
Guest More than 1 year ago
i thought that the title was great and went along with the book almost perfectly if not perfect. i highly recommend this book to anyone whom is interested in the history of our planet. read it, you WILL ENJOY IT!!!!