Similar authors to follow
Manage your follows
About M. J. Benton
Customers Also Bought Items By
In this fascinating and accessible overview, renowned paleontologist Michael J. Benton reveals how our understanding of dinosaurs is being transformed by recent fossil finds and new technology.
Over the past twenty years, the study of dinosaurs has transformed into a true scientific discipline. New technologies have revealed secrets locked in prehistoric bones that no one could have previously predicted. We can now work out the color of dinosaurs, the force of their bite, their top speeds, and even how they cared for their young.
Remarkable new fossil discoveries—giant sauropod dinosaur skeletons in Patagonia, dinosaurs with feathers in China, and a tiny dinosaur tail in Burmese amber—remain the lifeblood of modern paleobiology. Thanks to advances in technologies and methods, however, there has been a recent revolution in the scope of new information gleaned from such fossil finds.
In Dinosaurs Rediscovered, leading paleontologist Michael J. Benton gathers together all the latest paleontological evidence, tracing the transformation of dinosaur study from its roots in antiquated natural history to an indisputably scientific field. Among other things, the book explores how dinosaur remains are found and excavated, and especially how paleontologists read the details of dinosaurs’ lives from their fossils—their colors, their growth, and even whether we will ever be able to bring them back to life. Benton’s account shows that, though extinct, dinosaurs are still very much a part of our world.
“The focus is the most severe mass extinction known in earth’s history. The science on which the book is based is up-to-date, thorough, and balanced. Highly recommended.” —Choice
Today it is common knowledge that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a meteorite impact 65 million years ago that killed half of all species then living. It is far less widely understood that a much greater catastrophe took place at the end of the Permian period 251 million years ago: at least ninety percent of life on earth was destroyed.
When Life Nearly Died documents not only what happened during this gigantic mass extinction but also the recent renewal of the idea of catastrophism: the theory that changes in the earth’s crust were brought about suddenly in the past by phenomena that cannot be observed today. Was the end-Permian event caused by the impact of a huge meteorite or comet, or by prolonged volcanic eruption in Siberia? The evidence has been accumulating, and Michael J. Benton gives his verdict at the end of the volume.
The new edition brings the study of the greatest mass extinction of all time thoroughly up-to-date. In the twelve years since the book was originally published, hundreds of geologists and paleontologists have been investigating all aspects of how life could be driven to the brink of annihilation, and especially how life recovered afterwards, providing the foundations of modern ecosystems.
This book presents a comprehensive overview of the science of the history of life. Paleobiologists bring many analytical tools to bear in interpreting the fossil record and the book introduces the latest techniques, from multivariate investigations of biogeography and biostratigraphy to engineering analysis of dinosaur skulls, and from homeobox genes to cladistics.
All the well-known fossil groups are included, including microfossils and invertebrates, but an important feature is the thorough coverage of plants, vertebrates and trace fossils together with discussion of the origins of both life and the metazoans. All key related subjects are introduced, such as systematics, ecology, evolution and development, stratigraphy and their roles in understanding where life came from and how it evolved and diversified.
Unique features of the book are the numerous case studies from current research that lead students to the primary literature, analytical and mathematical explanations and tools, together with associated problem sets and practical schedules for instructors and students.
New to this edition
- The text and figures have been updated throughout to reflect current opinion on all aspects
- New case studies illustrate the chapters, drawn from a broad distribution internationally
- Chapters on Macroevolution, Form and Function, Mass extinctions, Origin of Life, and Origin of Metazoans have been entirely rewritten to reflect substantial advances in these topics
- There is a new focus on careers in paleobiology
A newly revised and fully updated edition of the market-leading introduction to paleontology
Designed for students and anyone else with an interest in the history of life on our planet, the new edition of this classic text describes the biological evolution of Earth’s organisms, and reconstructs their adaptations and the ecology and environments in which they functioned.
Cowen's History of Life, 6th Edition includes major updates, including substantial rewrites to chapters on the origins of eukaryotes, the Cambrian explosion, the terrestrialization of plants and animals, the Triassic recovery of life, the origin of birds, the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, and human evolution. It also features new chapters on plants, soils and transformation of the land; the Mesozoic marine revolution; and the evolution of oceans and climates. Beginning with the origin of the Earth and the earliest life on earth, the book goes on to offer insightful contributions covering: the evolution of Metazoans; the early vertebrates; life of vertebrates on land; and early amniotes and thermoregulation. The book also looks at: dinosaur diversity, as well as their demise; early mammals; the rise of modern mammals; the Neogene Savannas; primates; life in the ice ages; and more.
- Covers the breadth of the subject in a concise yet specific way for undergrads with no academic background in the topic
- Reorganizes all chapters to reflect the geological series of events, enabling a new focus on big events
- Updated with three brand new chapters and numerous revised ones
- Put together by a new editorial team internationally recognized as the global leaders in paleontology
- Filled with illustrations and photographs throughout
- Includes diagrams to show internal structures of organisms, cladograms, time scales and events, and paleogeographic maps
- Supplemented with a dedicated website that explores additional enriching information and discussion, and which features images for use in visual presentations
Cowen's History of Life, 6th Edition is an ideal book for undergraduate students taking courses in introductory paleontology, as well those on global change and earth systems.
Beginning with an explanation of the controversies surrounding the birth of life itself, each following chapter tells of a major breakthrough that made new forms of life possible: including sex and multicellularity, hard skeletons, and the move to land. Along the way, we witness the greatest mass extinction, the first forests, the rise of modern ecosystems, and, most recently, conscious humans.
Introducing ideas from a range of scientific disciplines, from evolutionary biology and earth history, to geochemistry, palaeontology, and systematics, Michael Benton explains how modern science pieces the evidence in this vast evolutionary puzzle together, to build up an accessible and up-to-date picture of the key developments in the history of life on earth.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Vertebrate palaeontology is a lively field, with new discoveries reported every week… and not only dinosaurs! This new edition reflects the international scope of vertebrate palaeontology, with a special focus on exciting new finds from China.
A key aim is to explain the science. Gone are the days of guesswork. Young researchers use impressive new numerical and imaging methods to explore the tree of life, macroevolution, global change, and functional morphology.
The fourth edition is completely revised. The cladistic framework is strengthened, and new functional and developmental spreads are added. Study aids include: key questions, research to be done, and recommendations of further reading and web sites.
The book is designed for palaeontology courses in biology and geology departments. It is also aimed at enthusiasts who want to experience the flavour of how the research is done. The book is strongly phylogenetic, and this makes it a source of current data on vertebrate evolution.