In 1961, while mapping rock exposures along the Colville River in Alaska, an oil company geologist would unknowingly find the evidence for a startling discovery. Long before the North Slope of Alaska was being exploited for its petroleum resources it was a place where dinosaurs roamed. Dinosaurs under the Aurora immerses readers in the challenges, stark beauty, and hard-earned rewards of conducting paleontological field work in the Arctic. Roland A. Gangloff recounts the significant discoveries of field and museum research on Arctic dinosaurs, most notably of the last 25 years when the remarkable record of dinosaurs from Alaska was compiled. This research has changed the way we think about dinosaurs and their world. Examining long-standing controversies, such as the end-Cretaceous extinction of dinosaurs and whether dinosaurs were residents or just seasonal visitors to polar latitudes, Gangloff takes readers on a delightful and instructive journey into the world of paleontology as it is conducted in the land under the aurora.
"Whether it is the logistics of conducting fieldwork in tune with the life cycle of the peregrine falcons on the Colville River, extracting bones from the permafrost, dealing with Arctic mosquitoes, or envisioning the high Arctic world during the Cretaceous, Gangloff takes you there as only a true field paleontologist can. His vivid narrative brings this research to life."
- Jim Kirkland, State Paleontologist of Utah
"Gangloff’s engaging, personal writing style in Dinosaurs Under the Aurora leads the reader to imagine themselves in the room with him personally enthusing you about the polar dinosaurs of Alaska with a wry comment or two along the way. This book tells just how these unique fossils were collected under the trying conditions of working in the High Arctic along with detailing the scientific significance of these unique fossils, in both narrow and broader contexts. Fascinating are Gangloff’s observations on the social setting in which his own research projects were carried out. And most intriguing of all are the unanswered questions that he posits, whetting the appetites for future researchers."
- Thomas H. Rich and Patricia Vickers-Rich, authors of Dinosaurs of Darkness
"Gangloff makes both modern and ancient Alaska come alive for the armchair palaeontologist."
- New Scientist
"Dinosuars under the Aurora immerses readers in the challenges, stark beauty, and hard-earned rewards of conducting paleontological field work in the Arctic [...] Gangloff takes readers on a delightful and instructive journey into the world of paleontology as it is conducted in the land under the aurora."
- Guardian-Birdbooker Report
"in his book, [Gangloff] demonstrates the importance of arctic paleontological research – especially in Alaska – and shares his experience with field research in an easy to read format."
"Using his own distinguished career as a springboard, Gangloff has assembled an accessible and eloquently written introduction to the history of dinosaur research in Alaska, where it presently stands and what the future might hold."
1. The Arctic Setting
2. Tracks Lead the Way: Circumarctic Discoveries from Svalbard to Chukotka
3. A Black Gold Rush Sets the Stage for Discovery in Alaska
4. Peregrines, Permafrost, and Bonebeds: Digging Dinosaurs on the Colville River
5. Texas, Teachers, and Chinooks: Taking Field Work to a New Level
6. The Arctic during the Cretaceous: The Western Interior Seaway
7. Cretaceous Dinosaur Pathways in the Paleo-Arctic and along the Western Interior Seaway
8. Applying New Technologies to the Ancient Past
9. Natural Resources, Climate Change, and Arctic Dinosaurs
10. Future Expansion of the Arctic Dinosaur Record
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Roland A. Gangloff is Emeritus Associate Professor of Geology and Geophysics and former Curator of Earth Science at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. He is presently a Visiting Scholar at the University of California Museum of Paleontology.