Birds are the most diverse tetrapod group today, but they have a rich and complex evolutionary history beyond that of their modern radiation. Appearing during the Jurassic, more than 160 million years ago, birds took to the skies and evolved into a plethora of forms during the Age of the Dinosaurs.
This comprehensive and up to date illustrated field guide, by palaeontologist Juan Benito and palaeoartist Roc Olivé, aims to illustrate in unprecedented detail the staggering diversity of avialans (modern birds and their closest fossil relatives) that lived from the origin of the group until the Mass Extinction that ended the reign of the non-avian dinosaurs 66 million years ago: the birds of the Mesozoic.
This beautifully illustrated field guide includes over 250 full-colour illustrations covering more than 200 types of bird that populated the world during the Mesozoic Era. In addition to detailed fact files on the diverse avifauna of the Mesozoic, including a description of each species, with information on its name, location, size, period, habitat, and general characteristics, Birds of the Mesozoic also seeks to explain the origins of the group and their evolution from other feathered dinosaurs up to the origins of modern birds in the Late Cretaceous. It also covers in detail multiple facets of their phylogenetic, morphological, and ecological diversity, and provides an introduction to bird skeletal anatomy and several of the most recent and cutting-edge methods palaeontologists use to reconstruct fossil bird colour, diet, and biology.
Easy-to-use and pleasant to contemplate, this book is a must for both bird and palaeontology enthusiasts!
Juan Benito is a vertebrate palaeontologist with a PhD from the University of Bath (UK) and currently based at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on the morphological evolution of birds, and he studies both fossil and extant birds in order to better understand the origins of modern avian diversity. Juan has named new species of Mesozoic bird and is an author in several scientific publications in prestigious journals such as Nature, and his research has received widespread media attention. Juan has a keen interest in scientific outreach and has collaborated with museums and scientific exhibitions.
Roc Olivé Pous is an artist with a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona and specialized in palaeoart. Since 2018 he has collaborated with the Catalan Institute of Palaeontology. Illustrator of various books on prehistoric fauna, he has worked for Spanish, European and worldwide publishers, and has also illustrated numerous scientific articles. Roc is passionate about palaeontology, and this has led him to create initiatives and courses related to art and palaeontology through the Catalan Institute of Palaeontology and the scientific outreach platform "Illustraciencia".