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Extinction and Radiation: How the Fall of Dinosaurs Led to the Rise of Mammals Hardcover – 4 Feb 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (4 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801898056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801898051
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.4 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,342,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Highly recommended.

(Choice)

A learned essay, written clearly and attractively for students and the public.

(Michael J. Benton Cambridge Archaeological Journal)

What makes Archibald’s book a highly recommendable example of the scientific process is that the author carefully lays out all the paleontological evidence available to him and uses that evidence to evaluate the many possible explanations of the extinction, discussing the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of each explanation in the process.

(Reports of the National Center for Science Education)

David Archibald is one of the most knowledgeable people in the world about extinctions, as well as the fairest analyst of their patterns and causes. In this book he invites his readers to consider not just dinosaurs but all the animals that lived at the end of the Age of Dinosaurs. He provides the clearest picture yet of this extremely complex time in the history of life. Anyone interested in paleontology or extinction, especially those who think they already know what did in the dinosaurs, should read this book.

(Kevin Padian, University of California, Berkeley)

This is a learned essay, written clearly and attractively for students and the public.

(Michael J. Benton Geological Magazine)

An excellent compendium of the current state of paleontological knowledge about the contemporaneous histories of these two groups.

(Mark A. McPeek Quarterly Review of Biology)

A highly recommendable example of the scientific process is that the author carefully lays out all the paleontological evidence available to him and uses that evidence to evaluate the many possible explanations of the extinction.

(P David Polly Reports of the National Center for Science Education)

The book itself is a handsome quarto volume illustrated by good drawings and graphs. It will be most useful to paleontologists, evolutionary biologists and biogeographers. It will stand as a good example of what can be accomplished in academia.

(Priscum, Newsletter of the Paleontological Society)

Books like Extinction and Radiation enable interested members of the general public to share in the excitement of the arugment.

(Nicholas Gould International Zoo News)

About the Author

J. David Archibald is a professor of biology and curator of mammals at San Diego State University and coeditor of The Rise of Placental Mammals: Origins and Relationships of the Major Extant Clades, also published by Johns Hopkins.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nick Candoros on 9 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is definitely not the typical popular science book, even for adult and educated readers. It has more the form of a dissertation, meant for other scientists, minus (for most of the time actually) the specialized technical jargon of such a publication.

The dinosaurs' spectacular nature and their equally spectacular demise have insured for them a permanent position of high importance, both in the public's eye and in the intensity of scientific enquiries and debates. The book focuses on the time frame around the transition from the Mesozoic to the Cenozoic, a crucial turning point in the evolution of life on Earth, since it presented a major biological and ecological shift from a world of dinosaurs to one of mammals.

The author describes first the state of things by the end of the Cretaceous, for a broad variety of animal families. Then he focuses on mammal ancestry and evolution, under the dinosaurs' shadow, a rather controversial subject, rife with scientific clashes. The problem is mainly one of connecting threadbare fossil evidence to the richness and variety of modern mammal families. And the extinction event which followed, around 65 million years ago, a complex phenomenon due to the combination of factors which attributed to it, does not make things easier. Even today, after many decades of concentrated research, there are many holes in our knowledge of the "how" and "why" the mammals took over the planet in a geological time eye blink.

The main problem I had was the author's style: it was rather dry, as if he was not particularly interested in the attractiveness of his text to readers. I am not in a position to question the scientific value of the arguments presented, but reading many of the book's sections, was a rather tedious business.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Focus on mammals, not dinosaurs 23 Aug. 2013
By PETER M BROWN - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Few works intended for a wide audience pay much attention to the effect of the Cretaceous–Paleogene transition on the mammals, our ancestors. The focus is far too much on dinosaurs. Archibald's book is one of the few attempts to right the balance.
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