Dinosaurs of the Air: The Evolution and Loss of Flight in Dinosaurs and Birds

Dinosaurs of the Air: The Evolution and Loss of Flight in Dinosaurs and Birds

Hardback

By (author) Gregory S. Paul

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  • Publisher: JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Hardback | 472 pages
  • Dimensions: 218mm x 280mm x 38mm | 1,560g
  • Publication date: 1 April 2002
  • Publication City/Country: Baltimore, MD
  • ISBN 10: 0801867630
  • ISBN 13: 9780801867637
  • Edition: 2
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: 88 black & white halftones, 59 black & white line drawings
  • Sales rank: 1,637,401

Product description

Dinosaurs of the Air: The Evolution and Loss of Flight in Dinosaurs and Birds presents the most recent work of renowned evolutionary scientist and dinosaur illustrator Gregory Paul. Dinosaurs of the Air synthesizes the growing body of evidence which suggests that modern-day birds have evolved from theropod dinosaurs of prehistoric times. Paul argues provocatively for the idea that the ancestor-descendant relationship between the dinosaurs and birds can on occasion be reversed, and that many dinosaurs were secondarily flightless descendants of creatures we would regard as birds. Controversial and comprehensive, Dinosaurs of the Air also offers new, firsthand interpretations of major fossils; a balanced, rewarding discussion of the ways we think flight may have evolved (comparing "ground up" and "trees down" scenarios); a close look at the famous urvogel Archaeopteryx, discussing what it can and cannot tell us about bird origins; and in-depth analyses of bird and theropod phylogenetics. Full of rich detail for the specialist but accessible to the intelligent lay reader, the book includes the author's own stunning illustrations and a technical appendix which provides information, for example, on body mass/wing dimension relationships and avian/dinosaurian metabolics.

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Author information

Gregory S. Paul is a freelance scientist and scientific illustrator specializing in dinosaur evolution. Illustrations from his book Predatory Dinosaurs of the World, along with specific skeletal studies of theropods he was commissioned to prepare, were used in the making of the Jurassic Park movies.

Review quote

Paul has succeeded in producing a beautiful book that will be an invaluable reference for those interested in avian origins for many years to come. -- Graham K. Taylor Ibis If you want to dig seriously into one of today's most fascinating evolutionary debates, and aren't afraid of anatomy, you'll delight in Dinosaurs of the Air. New Scientist 2002

Table of contents

Contents: Preface PART I : Getting Started Chapter 1: A History Chapter 2: The Science of Bird Origins PART II: Skeletons, Bones and Other Remains of the Mesozoic Chapter 3: Skulls Chapter 4: Skeletons Chapter 5: Feathers and Other Fluff PART III: Flight: How and Why it Evolves, Why it is Lost, and How to Tell When Chapter 6: The Beginnings of Flight: From the Ground Up, or the Trees Down? Chapter 7: The Early Evolution of Flight Chapter 8: The Loss of Flight PART IV: The Archaeopteryx problem Chapter 9: Lifestyle for the Urvogel PART V: Who Is Related to Whom, and Why? Chapter 10: Looking for the True Bird Ancestor Chapter 11: Were Some Dinosaurs Neoflightless Birds? Chapter 12: A Look at the Phylogenetics of Predatory Dinosaurs PART VI: A Modest Scenario Chapter 13: The Mesozoic Chapter 14: The Great Extinction Chapter 15: The Cenozoic Appendix Bibliography Index