Humans have been stumbling upon the petrified remains of ancient animals since prehistoric times, leading to tales of giant dogs, deadly dragons, tree gods, sea serpents, and all manner of strange and marvellous creatures. In this richly illustrated book, David Bainbridge recounts how legends like these gradually gave rise to the modern science of palaeontology, and how this pioneering discipline has reshaped our view of the natural world.
Bainbridge takes readers from ancient Greece to the eighteenth century, when palaeontology began to coalesce into the scientific field we know today and discusses how contemporary palaeontologists use cutting-edge technologies to flesh out the discoveries of past and present. He brings to life the stories and people behind some of the greatest fossil finds of all time and explains how palaeontology has long straddled the spheres of science and art. Bainbridge also looks to the future of the discipline, discussing how the rapid recovery of DNA and other genetic material from the fossil record promises to revolutionize our understanding of the origins and evolution of ancient life.
This panoramic book brings together stunning illustrations ranging from early sketches and engravings to eye-popping palaeoart and high-tech computer reconstructions.
David Bainbridge is a comparative anatomist in the Department of Physiology, Development, and Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of St Catharine’s College. His many books include How Zoologists Organize Things: The Art of Classification; The Art of Animal Anatomy: All Life is Here, Dissected and Depicted; and Middle Age: A Natural History.