"THE ULTIMATE DINOSAUR BIOGRAPHY," hails Scientific American: A thrilling new history of the age of dinosaurs, from one of our finest young scientists.
A New York Times Bestseller • Goodreads Choice Awards WINNER
A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Smithsonian, NPR Science Friday, The Times (London), Popular Mechanics, Science News, Library Journal, Booklist, and Chicago Public Library
"A masterpiece of science writing." —Washington Post
"This is scientific storytelling at its most visceral, striding with the beasts through their Triassic dawn, Jurassic dominance, and abrupt demise in the Cretaceous." —Nature
The dinosaurs. Sixty-six million years ago, the Earth’s most fearsome creatures vanished. Today they remain one of our planet’s great mysteries. Now The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs reveals their extraordinary, 200-million-year-long story as never before.
In this captivating narrative (enlivened with more than seventy original illustrations and photographs), Steve Brusatte, a young American paleontologist who has emerged as one of the foremost stars of the field—naming fifteen new species and leading groundbreaking scientific studies and fieldwork—masterfully tells the complete, surprising, and new history of the dinosaurs, drawing on cutting-edge science to dramatically bring to life their lost world and illuminate their enigmatic origins, spectacular flourishing, astonishing diversity, cataclysmic extinction, and startling living legacy. Captivating and revelatory, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is a book for the ages.
Brusatte traces the evolution of dinosaurs from their inauspicious start as small shadow dwellers—themselves the beneficiaries of a mass extinction caused by volcanic eruptions at the beginning of the Triassic period—into the dominant array of species every wide-eyed child memorizes today, T. rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus, and more. This gifted scientist and writer re-creates the dinosaurs’ peak during the Jurassic and Cretaceous, when thousands of species thrived, and winged and feathered dinosaurs, the prehistoric ancestors of modern birds, emerged. The story continues to the end of the Cretaceous period, when a giant asteroid or comet struck the planet and nearly every dinosaur species (but not all) died out, in the most extraordinary extinction event in earth’s history, one full of lessons for today as we confront a “sixth extinction.”
Brusatte also recalls compelling stories from his globe-trotting expeditions during one of the most exciting eras in dinosaur research—which he calls “a new golden age of discovery”—and offers thrilling accounts of some of the remarkable findings he and his colleagues have made, including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs; monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex; and paradigm-shifting feathered raptors from China.
An electrifying scientific history that unearths the dinosaurs’ epic saga, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs will be a definitive and treasured account for decades to come.
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About the Author
Steve Brusatte is a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh and a specialist on the evolution of dinosaurs. He helped identify Pinocchio rex as a tyrannosaur. Through his fieldwork he has discovered dinosaur fossils in many places around the world. Dr. Brusatte wrote Day of the Dinosaurs and Walking with Dinosaurs Encyclopedia. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Table of Contents
Timeline of the Age of Dinosaurs viii
Dinosaur Family Tree ix
World Maps of the Prehistoric Earth x
Prologue: The Golden Age of Discovery 1
1 The Dawn of the Dinosaurs 11
2 Dinosaurs Rise Up 47
3 Dinosaurs Become Dominant 83
4 Dinosaurs and Drifting Continents 119
5 The Tyrant Dinosaurs 159
6 The King of the Dinosaurs 193
7 Dinosaurs at the Top of Their Game 227
8 Dinosaurs Take Flight 267
9 Dinosaurs Die Out 307
Epilogue: After the Dinosaurs 341
Notes on Sources 357
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I finished it in 24 hour hour. Great book
Loved this book. Would be great for young teens with a fascination for dinosaurs as well as adults. Would recommend this book to science lovers and anyone else looking to expand their knowledge of the history of dinosaurs.
Great book! Helps you catch up on all the good science!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The 4-5 review ratings are well justified. A quick read; very real, down to earth in every sense; as much a human interest story as it is a current state of our knowledge on dinosaur rise/fall and continuity (i.e. the avian branch still with us). It is a personal story of how chance, contingency and contacts/connections meld to shape a career path and paths to discovery. In my position as a docent in the fossil gallery at a local museum, I often hear children say they want to be a paleontologist when they grow up, and same for adults but in a wished, past tense. Same for me who took a different career path, but one that still allowed me to experience some of what Stephen did, but in an avocational vein. It's all about discovery. Stephen followed his passions, personally nudged opened doors and doors opened for him. A good example of what can happen if you follow your dreams.