Worlds Before Us

There are many dinosaur books, but most are aimed at kids or specialists. In Dinosaur Odyssey, Scott Sampson brings the subject alive for all, taking us to digs around the world, and then vividly weaving the story of how paleontologists debate the ecology and evolution of these amazing animals.” — Michael Benton, author of When Life Nearly Died

The past twenty-five years have been the most active period in the history of dinosaur paleontology — more dinosaurs have been named in the past quarter century than in all prior history.

Paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Scott Sampson (pictured above) has written one of the best available dinosaur studies for a general audience — Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life. Throughout this well-illustrated volume, Sampson paints the picture of a long gone world — not just dinosaurs, but the complex interactions they had with mammals, insects, and other forms of life (especially plant life).

Walk across the physical landscape of your daily life and try to imagine the lost lives that once inhabited your world. That inkling (that the world is built on countless paleoworlds) can infinitely enrich our sense of awe about our own life on earth. Reason enough for the Land Library to diligently build a strong paleontology collection over the years. Wonderful books all, and here’s some of our favorites:

The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs by Gregory S. Paul (covering 735 species of dinosaurs, with more than 600 illustrations), Bonebeds: Genesis, Analysis, and Paleobiological Significance, edited by Raymond R. Rogers, (which tackles a truly fascinating subject — those unusually rich fossil assemblages, thick with finds and ecological insights).

Oceans of Kansas: A Natural History of the Western Interior Sea by Michael J. Everhart (the story of giant sharks, marine reptiles, and swooping dinosaur/birds — paleo-echoes now found on our land-locked Great Plains), Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and our Place in Nature by Brian Switek.

For more on Paleoworlds (& paleo-books), here’s a few pertinent past posts!

Bone Wars in the American West

The Perfect Blend of Pancakes and Paleontology

They Are Still Among Us (mammoths, mastodons, and the incredible Snowmass excavation).


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