Imatge de l'autor
85 obres 2,534 Membres 21 Ressenyes 2 preferits

Sobre l'autor

Michael J. Benton is Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University of Bristol. He is interested particularly in early reptiles, Triassic dinosaurs and macroevolution, and has published 50 books and over 400 scientific articles. He founded the Masters in Paleobiology degree at Bristol, mostra'n més which has now graduated over 400 students. David A.T. Harper is a leading expert on fossil brachiopods, numerical methods in paleontology and Phanerozoic stratigraphy. He is Professor of Paleontology, and Principal of Van Mildert College in Durham University. He has published over 15 books and monographs, including a couple of influential textbooks, as well as over 300 scientific articles and, together with Oyvind Hammer, the widely-used software package PAST. mostra'n menys
Crèdit de la imatge: Professor Michael Benton FRS, Royal Society Fellow elected 2014

Obres de Michael J. Benton

The Dinosaur Encyclopedia (1984) 159 exemplars
Vertebrate Palaeontology (1990) 106 exemplars
Dinosaurs (DK Picturepedia) (1960) 73 exemplars
Dinosaurs: An A-Z Guide (1988) 60 exemplars
Rise of the Mammals (1991) 49 exemplars
Dinosaurs (Focus on) (1992) 33 exemplars
On the Trail of the Dinosaurs (1901) 29 exemplars
THE ATLAS OF LIFE ON EARTH (2004) 27 exemplars
The reign of the reptiles (1990) 25 exemplars
All About Dinosaurs (1990) 25 exemplars
The Giant Book of Dinosaurs (1988) 19 exemplars
The Viking Atlas of Evolution (1996) 14 exemplars
Deinonychus (Dinoworld) (1994) 9 exemplars
Les dinosaures (1993) 7 exemplars
Cowen's History of Life (2019) 7 exemplars
Painting with Words (1995) 7 exemplars
Dinosaurs (First Facts) (1994) 6 exemplars
Dinosaur Fold-Out Book (2001) 6 exemplars
How dinosaurs lived (1985) 5 exemplars
Fossil Record 2 (1993) 3 exemplars
Le grand livre des Dinosaures (2010) 3 exemplars
MEMORIAS DE PIPA MAMUTE (2020) 2 exemplars
Pieni hirmuliskokirja (1992) 2 exemplars
The Hamlyn Book of Dinosaurs (1993) 2 exemplars
Tiere der Vorzeit von A - Z (1991) 2 exemplars
Les animaux (1997) 2 exemplars
Dinosaurier (1997) 2 exemplars
Dinosaurierna : så funkade de (1993) 1 exemplars
Dinosauriërs (1994) 1 exemplars
Dinosaurs (Project Homework) (1996) 1 exemplars
Explora los dinosaurios (2010) 1 exemplars
Dinsoauriërs 1 exemplars


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One of the better if not one of the best books I have read about recent dinosaur discoveries and theories. The chapters regarding dinosaur color, breathing, brains and behavior, and dinosaur growth and eating are some of the most interesting. As some of these recent discoveries have been published I have read about them on Science Daily, but this book comprehensively puts them into perspective and explains all the science behind the theories.

The book more or less ends with a chapter about the K-T boundary asteroid impact and the extinction of dinosaurs. Again, a very comprehensive explanation of the science and how what was a controversial theory in 1980 is now generally accepted as fact.

Overall, however, this book is about how paleontology has become a more testable science because of recent advances in engineering, data science and other technologies.
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DarrinLett | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Aug 14, 2022 |
Benton does a good job explaining how modern dinosaur research works, including debates and some mistakes.

> That’s why we can confidently describe the form and function of the eyeball of T. rex – not because of random comparisons with lions or sharks, but because crocodiles and birds, which bracket the dinosaurs in the evolutionary tree, share most features of eye structure and function.

> Black-brown melanin is packed into sausage melanosomes, ginger melanin into ball melanosomes. We saw this in bird feathers, and it was always the same. It’s also true of all mammals, including humans. In the evolutionary tree, dinosaurs, and most other extinct reptiles, are bracketed by birds and mammals, so this is a universal relationship

> This was the first dinosaur ever to be able to chew its food. Other dinosaurs had simply grabbed and swallowed, but by chewing its food, Iguanodon could extract much more goodness from every mouthful. It did not chew the food as we do, by rotating the lower jaw around the pivot at the back, but more by a mechanism that allowed the lower jaw to chop up into the upper jaws, a little like the blade of a penknife shutting into the handle.

> It was a combination of many small offspring and small eggs but no parental care; small head and no chewing; and bird-like lungs, which processed oxygen pick-up more efficiently than reptile and mammal lungs. These characteristics allowed sauropods to achieve huge size for minimal food intake – probably as much as an elephant, or even less, for a body that was ten times as large. They achieved steady body temperature by being huge, not by eating lots and having complex inner furnaces, as elephants and humans do.

> The most successful dinosaurs in terms of sheer numbers of individuals were the plant-eating hadrosaurs, commonly called duck-billed dinosaurs, because their long, horse-like skulls expanded at the front into a broad toothless structure, like a duck’s bill. Hadrosaurs have been called the ‘sheep of the Cretaceous’, and in places, especially in North America and Mongolia, collectors often find hundreds of specimens together. Hadrosaurs had a remarkably standard skeleton and skull, but showed great diversity in their extraordinary head crests, different in each species. It’s their teeth, however, that seem to have made them so successful. … Hadrosaurs were successful even though – or maybe because – they tackled tough kinds of vegetation that, perhaps, other plant-eating dinosaurs could not manage. In effect they had bionic teeth, built like a steel rasp, and endless tooth replacement, so they could afford to let their teeth wear down quickly and then shed them.

> There have been some studies on dinosaurian tooth wear, but they have been disputed. For example, the orientations of sets of scratches on the teeth in hadrosaurs were used to confirm the principal motions of jaw action, but older papers that sought to identify the precise diet from such scratches are now generally disavowed.

> In the Cretaceous, North America was divided into two land masses, one to the east and one to the west of the Western Interior Seaway, which ran up through Mexico and Texas to Alberta and Northwest Territories. Martin Lockley, famed dinosaur track enthusiast, born in England but a long-time resident of Colorado, identified a number of what he called dinosaur megatracksites, locations with thousands of footprints, mostly in the form of trackways, on the western coastline of this inland sea. The megatracksites documented how herds of dinosaurs trekked north and south, perhaps covering 2,000–3,000 kilometres (around 1,250–1,850 miles) in a season, in search of lush vegetation.
… (més)
breic | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Mar 25, 2022 |
What a great book. I must admit that I am greatly impressed. It kind of reads like a scientific thriller......tracking the research into dinosaurs over (mainly) the last 40 years. What I found especially impressive was the approach to the scientific method: the hypothesis, test and acceptance or denial of the hypothesis, based on the evidence. And, the fact that the author freely admits his own mistakes and blind alleys-gone-down, adds to the scientific merit of the book. Yes....maybe a little self-serving. I'm not a palaeontologist but it does seem to me that the author is the centre of so many of the break-throughs that are highlighted; or his students are. Is that real or is it selective self-promotion. I have no idea but he does tell a rollicking good story and most of my questions about dinosaurs have been dealt with in some detail. For example; how did they move, how big did they get, why did they all die out. where did the birds fit in? and so on.

One question I still have that was certainly not discussed to my satisfaction was about the metabolism of the big dinosaurs. Yes, he explains that elephants must eat 270 kg of food per day and if dinosaurs had to eat at the same rate as an elephant (presumably adjusted for body size) they could not have packed away enough food through their tiny heads and long necks. Ok so far so good. But the only explanation about how the dinosaurs did it seems to be that they took in huge volumes of food; didn't masticate it, had large gut capacity, and achieved steady body temperature by being huge......not by having complex inner furnaces.
Well to me, that just doesn't cut it. I would like to see a whole lot more detail about how the dinosaurs were able to turn those conifers and ferns into energy, and muscle, bone and all the other organs to keep them moving. I understand the elephant doesn't have a rumen (like a cow has) but relies on having a large intestine and long period of fermentation of the plant cellulose by microbes and fungi in the gut of the elephant. But this would have to be scaled up enormously for the dinosaurs. I'd really like to know a lot more about the dinosaur microbiome. Presumably, some (most?) of these microbes and fungi (or their descendants) have survived and live on in modern microbiomes of cellulose digesting animals. I'd just like to know more about this aspect of dinosaur physiology.

He writes beautifully. Clear, interesting and entertaining. This is science writing at its best. He kind of anticipates the questions that spring to mind and then answers them. And there is that disarming sense of modesty about him...admitting his mistakes in earlier years etc., which I found quite endearing. (I wonder if his grad students find him so endearing?).

I also liked the snapshots of various dinosaurs and the position of the continents at that time (though it doesn't seem to vary all that much during the time of the dinosaurs).

I did wonder about his diagram on p193 about establishing the function of the snout of the spinosaurid Baryonyx. What he has labelled as a crocodile (A) looks very much like an alligator snout to me......and sure enough, when I googled the original article (or republications of the same diagram) it is labelled as an alligator. But I'm nit-picking really. Hope he corrects it in the next printing.

My son has visions of being a vet or a naturalist /scientist like David Attenborough. (Not sure if the golden age for naturalists is behind us) but I will be recommending that he read this book. It is full ofd the excitement of science and contains a good deal of wisdom about the methodology of science and the way that advances in understanding are made.....frequently against vituperative opposition.
Happy to give it 5 stars.
… (més)
booktsunami | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Aug 7, 2021 |



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