A small set of fossilized bones discovered almost thirty years ago led...
By: Sankar Chatterjee
312 pages, 92 b/w illus
The first detailed, illustrated, and comprehensive review of the fossil record of birds in a modern phylogenetic context. Distinguished palaeontologist Chattergee provides a clear and exciting chronology documenting the long odyssey of birds since Protoavis - which may have taken to the air some 75 million years before the widely known `first bird', Archaeopterix.
It discusses the significance of all the many recently discovered bird and possible bird fossils, from Europe to China to Latin America, outlines the varying theories of how animal flight developed, and explains, in terms of comparative anatomy, what makes a bird a bird. The book covers some of the greatest events in avian development: their emergence in the Triassic pangean world, their flight refinement and global diversification during the breakup of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, their sudden decline at the end-Cretaceous extinction, their rebound and explosive radiation during the Cenozoic era, and finally, their close involvement with humankind.
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