Dinosaur Lives: Unearthing an Evolutionary Saga by John R. Horner

By John R. Horner

From the red phenomenon that's Barney to the blockbuster draw of Jurassic Park, dinosaurs nonetheless rule the earth. Dinosaur Lives explores the charm that dinosaurs have for us, explains the most recent medical learn after which takes us into their prehistoric world.

As technical adviser for either Jurassic Park and The misplaced World, John Horner has the precise vantage element for a dialogue of dinosaurs' prestige as pop icons. because the paleontologist whose discoveries essentially replaced our perceptions of dinosaurs, he can take us from the far-flung digs to the state of the art labs the place MRI scans, DNA checking out and different new applied sciences are producing an explosion of latest information regarding dinosaurs, from what kind of noises they made to how clever they have been.

within the ultimate component to the booklet, Horner bargains a sweeping, distinct and mostly exceptional imaginative and prescient of the realm 709 million years in the past -- how dinosaurs advanced, what they ate, how they raised their younger, their social constitution, their intercourse lives and extra.

together with his greatly enticing voice and intimate wisdom of dinosaurs, Horner is certain to revolutionize the way in which we expect approximately dinosaurs another time. Dinosaur Lives is destined to be one other vintage.

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If we had to rely on the fossils alone, we would find ourselves in much the same position as the nomadic people w h o had discovered protoceratopsian skeletons in the desert of Outer Mongolia thousands of years ago. Like them, we could only guess at the origin of the unfamiliar animal, its relationship to other creatures, its current whereabouts. And like them, w e ' d probably invent an interesting tale for which there is little or no evidence—that the reason we don't see brachylophosaurs running around Malta today, for instance, is that they live deep underground.

Bob and I excavated a group of fifteen baby Maiasaura skeletons, each very nearly the same size, in a bowl-shaped depression that we soon realized was a nest. The next year we uncovered more nests, all located in the same layer of sedimentary rock, suggesting that they were constructed at the same time. Maiasaurs, it appeared, gathered in colonies to lay their eggs, very much like modern birds. Nearby we ran across addi- 30 JOHN R. HORNER AND EDWIN D O B B Maiasaura peeblesorum sitting next to its nest full of babies.

Although dinosaurs became the dominant land animals during the Jurassic, and for that reason the period is considered the zenith of dinosaur evolution (a perception reinforced by Crichton's books and Spielberg's movies), the Cretaceous period, beginning 1 3 6 million years ago and ending 65 million years ago, has proved to be a great deal more interesting—for my purposes, at any rate. Three crucial features define the last period of the Mesozoic era. First, the continents continued to drift a w a y from one another, creating increasingly larger oceans between them, while vast inland seas expanded and contracted in slow, rhythmic pulses in Europe and North America (where the sea w a s contracting w h e n our Brachylophosaurus was alive).

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