254 pages, colour illustrations
Charts the revolution in dinosaur science based on new discoveries in China, a revolution in our understanding of dinosaur origins that has occurred in the last 20 years. Dinosaurs are no longer thought of as lizards so much as birds. The transformation can be seen by comparing the first Jurassic Park movie with its leathery dinosaurs to the recent reconstructions in the BBC series Walking with Dinosaurs in America in which they appear as warm blooded and feathered, attending their young and brooding their nests. This transformation in popular culture is based on excavations at one profoundly important site in China: Liaoning. Here, the leading U.S. researcher who has explored the region repeatedly over the last decade, Mark Norell, the Chair and Curator, Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History, tells the definitive story of those discoveries.
Unearthing the Dragon is a very personal account of being in a foreign land with a radically different culture, history of science, and code of social behaviors. In the hinterland of China, peasants, not trained researchers, often collect fossils. Local officials' trust is garnered over banquet meals and vigorous drinking sessions. Photographer and artist Mick Ellison shares in the adventures as the pair navigates forward through the world of modern China-and leads readers back to a magical prehistoric land of feathered dinosaurs revealed in the Liaoning fossils.
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Mark A. Norell is the Chair and Curator, Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History. In the fall of 2004 he published two major research papers in Nature on feathered dinosaurs, and has previously published extensively in academic journals. His research has been reported in national media including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Scientific American.