By: Charles W Shabica(Editor), Andrew A Hay(Editor), Christopher T Ledvina(Illustrator), Donald Auler(Illustrator), Desmond Collins(Foreword By), Charles W Shabica(Preface By)
308 pages, 300 b/w photos, 200 b/w illustrations, b/w maps, tables
The Mazon Creek biota of northeastern Illinois provides the most complete known record of late Paleozoic life. While much has been written about plant fossils of the area, this is the ﬁrst comprehensive, systematic account of the amazing variety of well-preserved animal fossils. Here the Mazon Creek fauna is revealed as ranking with such extraordinary fossils assemblages as the Cambrian Burgess Shale fauna of Canada, the Devonian Bundenbach and Jurassic Solnhofen faunas of Germany, and the Cretaceous Santana fauna of Brazil.
Richardson's Guide to the Fossil Fauna of Mazon Creek is also important for its presentation of the setting for the Mazon Creek and the creek's similarity to communities observed in modern variable salinity coastal environments. Further, it presents new concepts on the evolution of groups such as fossil spiders and on the development of insect flight.
The book is named in honor of Dr. Eugene Stanley Richardson, Jr., who was Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. When, in the 1950s and 1960s, coal mining operations southwest of the Mazon River brought to light a host of animal fossils, Richardson became a leader in the exploration of the area and a friend to the many enthusiastic amateur collectors who carried their ﬁnds to him. At the time of his death in 1983, he had amassed a record of thousands of fossils for a projected book.
The task of bringing this work to fruition was monumental and has entailed one of the greatest collaborative efforts ever between professional paleontologists and amateur enthusiasts – a tribute to the spirit in which Gene Richardson worked.
Chapters vary in writing style from the detailed scientiﬁc to the easily readable, making the book both valuable to the paleontologist and accessible to the lay collector. It is profusely illustrated with photographs and drawings.
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