96 pages, Col photos throughout
Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops no longer roam the earth, but fossil evidence shows that the ancestors of modern reptiles lived alongside the dinosaurs. None of the living reptiles approach the size of dinosaur giants but nonetheless they are equally fascinating with intriguing features, habits and lifestyles. Thorny devils dwelling in Australian deserts have a neat way of drinking; life-giving rain or dew on the body is drawn towards the mouth by capillary action. Ferocious crocodiles don't just use their jaws to bring down huge predators; females also use them to delicately transport their offspring.
Many living dinosaurs live on small isolated islands where they have survived exploitation. On Komodo Island the infamous three-metre long Komodo dragon - the largest of all living lizards - is an apex predator. It survives using a lethal combination of razor sharp teeth and toxic saliva potent enough to bring down deer or even a water buffalo.
Modern reptiles are by no means all predators. On the Galapagos Islands, giant tortoises pause to graze as they lumber across volcanic landscapes and land iguanas feast on cactus pads and fruits, while marine iguanas move up and down the shore grazing on exposed seaweeds.
Living Dinosaurs looks at the habitat range, breeding strategies and conservation initiatives of this fascinating array of animals and showcases some of the many extraordinary reptiles from mini dinosaurs, dragons to aquatic snappers.
by Dr Marc Jones in United Kingdom
The description for this book states that "fossil evidence shows that the ancestors of modern reptiles lived alongside the dinosaurs" and this is presumably considered an adequate explanation for the title which is clearly a ploy to grab attention and sell more books. However, it is not: 1. fossil evidence shows that the ancestors of birds and mammals (and fish and insects etc.) also lived alongside the dinosaurs so the association with modern reptiles on this grounds is totally unfounded. 2. No scientist that understands even the basics of modern phylogenetics would ever refer to modern reptiles as dinosaurs to which they are only distantly related. 3. The vast majority of available evidence suggests that birds are the direct descendants of theropod dinosaurs (and thus much more closely related to dinosaurs than crocs and lizards etc.). Therefore in order to justify the title this book should be about birds not crocodiles, not lizards, not tuatara, and not snakes. Its said that you should not judge a book by its cover but when a book title is this ill founded it is difficult not to suspect the rest of the book was put together with equal misunderstanding and ignorance.
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