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A Sea without Fish: Life in the Ordovician Sea of the Cincinnati Region (Life of the Past) Hardcover – 25 Mar 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (25 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253351987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253351982
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.7 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 945,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"A Sea without Fish is superbly written, richly illustrated, up-to-date, fairly thorough, and downright entertaining in places... [It] is a fantastic book. Casual collectors will learn something; advanced collectors and geology students will learn something; even professionals will learn something, guaranteed." --Rocks & Minerals, October, 2010

About the Author

David L. Meyer is Professor of Geology at the University of Cincinnati. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.Richard Arnold Davis is Professor of Biology and Geology at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.Steven M. Holland is Professor of Geology at the University of Georgia, Athens. He lives in Athens, Georgia.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I wanted to study life in the Ordovician Period and came across this treasure of a book. I was a bit worried that it would be too much of a specialist book concentrating just on the Cincinnati region. It turned out that Cincinnati is famous due to its wealth of amazing fossils and what we have learned about the palaeoenvironment of that Period. It is very well written, and suitable for both amateurs and academics. I am an artist with an interest in the Earth's geological & biological past. It was very rewarding reading about the various animal types that lived in Cincinnati.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Cincinnatian paleontology 12 April 2009
By Daniel Phelps - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Tri-state area, centered on Cincinnati, is one the world's best places to collect Late Ordovician fossils. Because of the abundance and fantastic preservation of fossils in this region, it has been the focus of a huge amount of paleontological research for more than 150 years. Moreover, as a result of the massive amount of research on these fossils, the lattermost part of the Ordovician is named the Cincinnatian Series by North American paleontologists. This new book synthesizes a great deal of this research and makes it understandable to a wide audience. _A Sea Without Fish_ is written in such a way to be readable by an audience ranging from intelligent amateur collectors to specialists in geology and paleontology.

Meyer and Davis cover the development of our knowledge of the fossils by providing biographies of the numerous individuals that have studied the fossils of this time and region. Much of this information is widely scattered and usually not available in one source. The book also describes our current knowledge of how fossils are named and classified, and discusses at length how we think the limestones and shales were deposited in the ancient seas that covered the region approximately 450 million years ago.

After these background chapters, the authors describe various groups of fossils in individual chapters. This part of the book is very well illustrated with good quality photographs and diagrams. A central section has a number of color plates, including a reproduction of the Cincinnatian Sea reconstruction by artist John Agnew. Agnew's artwork is also used on the dust jacket.

Although it is not a comprehensive field guide, _A Sea without Fish_ gives excellent summaries of the different groups of fossils we find and cites the original scientific literature so more specific identifications can be made. Fossil groups with their own chapters include algae, sponges and corals, bryozoans, brachiopods, mollusks, annelids and other worms, arthropods (including trilobites and rare eurypterids), echinoderms (crinoids, edrioasteroids and several other groups), graptolites, conodonts, and trace fossils.

A single chapter on paleoecology by Steven Holland ties much of the fossil information together. This book is exceptionally useful as it places emphasis on what individual fossils can tell us about such divergent topics as paleoecology, biostratigraphy, plate tectonics, and evolution.

_A Sea Without Fish_ also features the best glossary for key terms I have ever seen in a popular paleontology book. This glossary should prove most useful for non-paleontologists reading the book.

I hope that this book is obtained and read by all the "amateur" collectors in the region and that it remains in print for many future editions.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Now I know 14 Aug. 2009
By Elizabeth Frenchman - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I grew up in Cincinnati and have lately taken to daydreaming about the serene, extreme other-worldliness of what it must have been like... 400 million years ago. My hometown has made me a fossil snob. 80 million-year-old bones? Meh. Dinosaurs? Newbies. And then there was the fabled diorama at the local Natural History Museum: where oh where has it gone? This is a very readable survey of the men (all men back then though the wondrous "amateur" Cincinnati fossil group, the Dry Dredgers, currently has many women members) and the sea that over time yielded the famous Cincinnatian strata. Lovely color plates that take one back in time (though the black and white technical drawings needed a massage) and there is even an image of the old diorama. Highly recommended for anyone at any knowledge level of Ordovician fossils.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Journey back to the Ordovician 21 Oct. 2011
By Montague Whitsel - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been enjoying reading this book for a couple of weeks, and for a variety of reasons. First, it is not a simple or general overview of the Ordovician; it is not an introductory text--though it would be accessible to people without a great deal of background in paleontology. [I myself am an amateur enthusiast.] The authors describe the various fossil assemblages present from a particular area -- around Cincinnati, Ohio -- from a paricular time in Earth's history; about 450 million years ago, near the end of the Ordovician. I appreciated the detailed treatment of the various plant and animal species that are represented in the Cincinnatian strata and was engrossed in the diagrams and drawings presented by the authors. There are chapters on everything from algae to Crinoids, and from mollusks to nautiloids. Each group is given a clear and vivid description.

Beyond this, I was struck by a whole chapter on the paleontologists who have studied these strata and collected the fossils; both the professionals and the amateurs--over the last century. Finally, the book ended on an imaginative note (!) -- with the authors engaged in a time-travel excursion to the Ordovicisn, where they saw many of the species that had been discussed in the book in a plausible life-situation. This reinforced my own experience that I was on a journey to another time and place as I was reading the book.

A very engaging read!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
sea without fish 6 July 2012
By JCD - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Text is well written. Content is technical but readable. The information has application beyond the specific region/era for which it was written. It would make a nice textbook for an introductory college course.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A sea without fish 31 Mar. 2013
By Stewart J. Skrove - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well organized, thorough research work about the Ordovician sea.
Recommended to all students of Paleozoic studies.
Excellent diagrams, charts, and photos.
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