Dinosaurs, Spitfires, And Sea Dragons

Dinosaurs, Spitfires, And Sea Dragons

by Christopher Mcgowan
     
 

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Christopher McGowan sets out to solve some of the enduring mysteries about dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles. He makes fascinating comparisons between living and extinct animals while presenting topics that range from gigantism to intellect. In addition to exploring the natural history of the Mesozoic Era, McGowan draws on science and engineering concepts…  See more details below

Overview


Christopher McGowan sets out to solve some of the enduring mysteries about dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles. He makes fascinating comparisons between living and extinct animals while presenting topics that range from gigantism to intellect. In addition to exploring the natural history of the Mesozoic Era, McGowan draws on science and engineering concepts to explain curiosities such as the similarities between the aerodynamics of pteranodons and Spitfire planes.

Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times - John Wilkes
At last, a grown-up's book about dinosaurs. This beautifully illustrated work, written by a literate scientist for an educated lay audience, shines a bright new light into the darkness of the 150-million-year reign of the dinosaurs...An altogether captivating book.
Toronto Globe and Mail - Stephen Strauss
[A] wonderful book...Ultimately the great virtue of this book is that it faces down our instinctive desire to leap from bone to biology and in so doing produces a particular kind of wisdom which transcends its subject matter. For implicit in how McGowan and his kind have approached the dinosaur is a point of view humans almost never assume about themselves. How much are we pure physics? Our walks, our musculature, our electric nerve impulses?...Delicious...In addition to its intellectual strengths, for a book that is often technical, Dinosaurs, Spitfires and Sea Dragons is extremely well-written...The lovely word 'classic' is already engraved upon it. But be advised: This is a science classic. It requires close reading. It demands not just that we approach, but that we be prepared to learn. But is not that the lesson hiding in our fascination with the dinosaurs in the first place?
Boston Globe - M. R. Montgomery
The net effect of [this] book is to make one extremely jealous of anyone lucky enough to take Professor McGowan's class in evolutionary biology at the University of Toronto...The problem with the several dinosaur controversies is that merely to argue about them requires an appreciation of many aspects of Newtonian physics, aero- and thermodynamics and both applied and theoretical geophysics. Since one wishes to be read by more than the world's half-dozen genuine polymaths, one must explain everything along the way, and that is the stunning success of this book. It is a text that can be read with profit by a teen-ager willing to learn a few new words and by a professional in the field of paleontology.
Stephen Jay Gould
Dinosaurs are so popular that we often neglect the even more fascinating reptiles of their time that evolved in the most unreptilian habitats of sea (ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and their allies) and air (pterosaurs). McGowan, world's leading expert on ichthyosaurs, and a fine writer as well, tells their wonderful story better than ever before--and doesn't neglect the more conventional dinosaurs either.
Los Angeles Times

At last, a grown-up's book about dinosaurs. This beautifully illustrated work, written by a literate scientist for an educated lay audience, shines a bright new light into the darkness of the 150-million-year reign of the dinosaurs...An altogether captivating book.
— John Wilkes

Toronto Globe and Mail

[A] wonderful book...Ultimately the great virtue of this book is that it faces down our instinctive desire to leap from bone to biology and in so doing produces a particular kind of wisdom which transcends its subject matter. For implicit in how McGowan and his kind have approached the dinosaur is a point of view humans almost never assume about themselves. How much are we pure physics? Our walks, our musculature, our electric nerve impulses?...Delicious...In addition to its intellectual strengths, for a book that is often technical, Dinosaurs, Spitfires and Sea Dragons is extremely well-written...The lovely word 'classic' is already engraved upon it. But be advised: This is a science classic. It requires close reading. It demands not just that we approach, but that we be prepared to learn. But is not that the lesson hiding in our fascination with the dinosaurs in the first place?
— Stephen Strauss

San Francisco Chronicle
You don't have to be an eight-year-old to fall in love with Dinosaurs, Spitfires, and Sea Dragons...Fun, scholarly, imaginatively written and wondrously anecdotal, this is the perfect companion for eight-year-olds of all ages.
Boston Globe

The net effect of [this] book is to make one extremely jealous of anyone lucky enough to take Professor McGowan's class in evolutionary biology at the University of Toronto...The problem with the several dinosaur controversies is that merely to argue about them requires an appreciation of many aspects of Newtonian physics, aero- and thermodynamics and both applied and theoretical geophysics. Since one wishes to be read by more than the world's half-dozen genuine polymaths, one must explain everything along the way, and that is the stunning success of this book. It is a text that can be read with profit by a teen-ager willing to learn a few new words and by a professional in the field of paleontology.
— M. R. Montgomery

Booknews
For the general reader, McGowan explores some of the mysteries of the dinosaurs by reference to living animals and modern mechanical devices. Over 150 photographs, drawings, and paintings illustrate the characteristics and comparisons. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674207707
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
01/01/1992
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
378
Product dimensions:
0.78(w) x 7.50(h) x 9.25(d)

What People are saying about this

Dinosaurs are so popular that we often neglect the even more fascinating reptiles of their time that evolved in the most unreptilian habitats of sea (ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and their allies) and air (pterosaurs). McGowan, world's leading expert on ichthyosaurs, and a fine writer as well, tells their wonderful story better than ever before--and doesn't neglect the more conventional dinosaurs either.
Stephen Jay Gould
Dinosaurs are so popular that we often neglect the even more fascinating reptiles of their time that evolved in the most unreptilian habitats of sea (ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and their allies) and air (pterosaurs). McGowan, world's leading expert on ichthyosaurs, and a fine writer as well, tells their wonderful story better than ever before--and doesn't neglect the more conventional dinosaurs either.

Meet the Author

Christopher McGowan is Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and Professor of Zoology at the University of Toronto.

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