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Translated by Kevin Padian. Originally published in 1994 in French, this is an engaging account of thirty years of travel and paleontological exploration by Philippe Taquet, one of the world's most noted paleontologists. Taquet takes the reader on a surprisingly far-flung tour ranging from the Provence countryside to the Niger desert, from the Brazilian bush to the Mongolian Steppes, and from the Laos jungle to the Moroccan mountains in search of dinosaur bones and what they have to tell us about a vanished world. With wry humour and lively anecdotes, Dr Taquet retraces the history of paleontological research, discussing along the way the latest theories of dinosaur existence and extinction.
1. Gadoufaoua: in the sands of the Tenere
2. The Ouranosaurus, or, how to bring a dinosaur back to life
3. Tracking the dinosaurs
4. Many crocodiles, one continent
5. In Morocco with the giants of the Atlas
6. In the Steppes of Central Asia
7. A bone hunter in Laos
8. Across Europe with the dinosaurs
9. The rise and fall of the dinosaurian empire
"Lively, vivid, bracingly enthusiastic – these tales of paleontological field days and discoveries from Taquet, director of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, give a sharp taste of what spurred him to say yes to the question: 'Do you take paleontology as your spouse and promise to serve her faithfully for the rest of your days?' [...] Taquet is a good storyteller, his lessons as easy to consume as shucked oysters, and the thrill he finds in his work is catching."
- Kirkus Reviews
"Philippe Taquet has traveled to the ends of the earth in search of fossils. His recollection of these adventures is a brilliant blend of science and personal passion."
- Michael J. Novacek, Provost of Science, American Museum of Natural History and author of Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs
"[...] a very human insight into the life and work of a paleontologist: it charts the pain and joy of expedition work and travel in a wonderfully accessible way [...] [A] marvellously rich tapestry of endeavour, life and a history of life – and a damned fine read!"
- David Norman, Director, Sedgwick Museum and author of The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs
"I loved it! An extraordinary book that leads its reader on a glorious and passionate adventure of discover through time. A global dinosaur hunt, eloquently written, and faithfully translated, it's about the most fun I've ever had reading science. It's a great pleasure to read science so eloquently delivered."
- Jack Horner, Curator, Museum of the Rockies and co-author of Digging Dinosaurs and Dinosaurs Lives
"[...] full of delightful anecdotes, and a warm humanity shines through on every part of this memoir."
- Hans-Dieter Sues, Royal Ontario Museum and author of In the Shadow of the Dinosaurs
"[...] an enjoyable and illuminating book which can be thoroughly recommended."
- Journal of Natural History
"[...] worth reading, even if you are not a dinosaur fan."
- Wendy Hamilton, Open University Geological Society Journal
"[...] good practical insight into the work and strivings of palaeontologists."
- David Norman, The Times Higher Education Supplement