Flying Dinosaurs

Flying Dinosaurs : How Fearsome Reptiles Became Birds

4.18 (163 ratings by Goodreads)
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The discovery of stunning, feathered dinosaur fossils coming out of China since 2006 suggest that these creatures were much more bird-like than paleontologists previously imagined. Further evidence-bones, genetics, eggs, behavior, and more-has shown a seamless transition from fleet-footed carnivores to the ancestors of modern birds. Mixing colorful portraits with news on the latest fossil findings and interviews with leading paleontologists in the United States, China, Europe, and Australia, John Pickrell explains and details dinosaurs' development of flight. This special capacity introduced a whole new range of abilities for the animals and helped them survive a mass extinction, when thousands of other dinosaur species that once populated the Earth did not. Pickrell also turns his journalistic eye toward the stories behind the latest discoveries, investigating the role of the Chinese black market in trading fossils, the controversies among various dinosaur hunters, the interference of national governments intent on protecting scientific information, and the race to publish findings first that make this research such a dynamic area of science.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 159 x 235 x 20.32mm | 521.63g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 26 color illustrations
  • 0231171781
  • 9780231171786
  • 269,159

Table of contents

Foreword, by Philip Currie Preface Introduction: A whole new world Before we begin 1. The missing link 2. A feathered revolution begins 3. The dinosaur hunters 4. From dinosaur to bird 5. Fake fossils 6. The evolution of feathers 7. The struggle to the skies 8. Sex for T. rex 9. Colouring in the dinosaurs 10. Back from the dead 11. The survival game Relationships of the theropod dinosaurs An A-Z of feathered dinosaurs References Glossary Select bibliography Acknowledgments Index
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Review quote

In Flying Dinosaurs John Pickrell challenges everything you were told about dinosaurs as a child... Through extensive research and interviews with leading paleontologists, Flying Dinosaurs charts how each new discovery confirmed the link between dinosaurs and birds... The author's fascination with dinosaurs is evident throughout the book. But his passion aside, it takes a skilled science writer to transform the incremental progress of a field such as paleontology into a narrative that sustains a book. -- Nicky Phillips The Sydney Morning Herald After digesting all that Pickrell has to offer, it will be difficult for any reader to think about dinosaurs -- or birds -- in the same ways they had before. Publishers Weekly [An] engaging book. GrrlScientist - a Guardian Blog A remarkable book, with a wealth of interviews with palaeontologists and a comprehensive catalogue of virtually all the findings of feathered dinosaurs since 1996. It's a useful catch-up if you have lost track of this rapidly developing area of palaentology, and full of fascinating, unusual facts-did you know that birds are the closest living relatives to the crocodile? -- Bill Condie Cosmos Magazine [Flying Dinosaurs] deftly covers the history behind the decades-old debate over just when and how birds first arose. -- Bruce Dorminey Forbes Pickrell covers the history of changing thought on dinosaurs and the bird-dinosaur link... Pickrell's book is well written and accessible, and thus is an excellent companion. -- Greg Laden Greg Laden's Blog A detailed and timely overview of our rapidly-improving scientific understanding of how massive, lumbering dinosaurs evolved into agile, flying birds. -- Mike Lee The Conversation A readable introduction to the subject. -- Ian Paulsen The Bridbooker Report [A] fast-paced... Fascinating read. BirdWatching A well-structured overview of the various lines of evidence connecting the evolution of birds with that of theropod dinosaurs... Any general reader or student interested in dinosaurs should find it a pleasure to read... Highly recommended. Choice An exceptional read... I would recommend this volume not only to dinosaur aficionados, who will find in its pages a plethora of interesting facts about dinosaurs and birds, but also to professional paleontologists who are looking for a comprehensive yet quick account on the most recent research in dinosaur paleontology. -- Marco Signore Quarterly Review of Biology Delightful and accessible. I highly recommend it for readers of all ages and backgrounds. ZME Science
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About John Pickrell

John Pickrell is an award-winning science writer and the editor of Australian Geographic magazine. He has worked in London, Washington, D.C., and Sydney for numerous publications, including New Scientist, Science, Science News, and Cosmos. He has been a finalist for the Australian Museum's Eureka Prizes three times, has won an Earth Journalism Award, and has been featured in the 2011 and 2014 editions of The Best Australian Science Writing.
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Rating details

163 ratings
4.18 out of 5 stars
5 40% (65)
4 41% (67)
3 17% (27)
2 2% (4)
1 0% (0)
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