Spectacular fossil finds make today's headlines; new technology unlocks secrets of skeletons unearthed 100 years ago. Still, evolution is often poorly represented by the media and misunderstood by the public. A potent antidote to pseudoscience, Written in Stone is an engrossing history of evolutionary discovery for anyone who has marveled at the variety and richness of life.
Dinosaurs, with their awe-inspiring size, terrifying claws and teeth, and otherworldly abilities, occupy a sacred place in our childhoods. They loom over museum halls, thunder through movies, and are a fundamental part of our collective imagination. In My Beloved Brontosaurus, the dinosaur fanatic Brian Switek enriches the childlike sense of wonder these amazing creatures instill in us. Investigating the latest discoveries in paleontology, he breathes new life into old bones.
"Good story, bad reading!"
The raptors of the "Jurassic Park" movies were tenacious, nearly unstoppable villains. But if the fleeing humans had been able to find a patch of quicksand, the films might have wrapped up much more quickly. Based upon new findings extracted from a 9-ton block of rock and bone from eastern Utah, some squishy sediment could literally stop even the most rapacious raptors dead in their tracks.
On the edge of Fruita, Colorado, scattered through a half square mile of red and gray rock, is one of the richest Jurassic boneyards anywhere. Over the years paleontologists have excavated the remains of a beautifully-preserved Ceratosaurus, the bones of at least six Allosaurus strewn together in death, and other Jurassic classics from this pocket of geological riches. But the most magnificent fossils to come out of the Fruita Paleo Area aren’t giants like Apatosaurus and Stegosaurus.
Only one species of penguin currently waddles along Australia’s southern coast, a semiaquatic bird that is the smallest of all its family and so tiny that it’s commonly known as the little or fairy penguin. But in the deep past a greater variety of much more imposing birds populated this coast. Now, thanks to the fossil record, paleontologists have discovered that Australia was a refuge for penguin giants.