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About this book
Argues that modern birds are the direct descendants of dinosaurs and represent the most ancient linking group of species on our planet. The final chapters describe how some of the bird descendents are themselves now extinct or face extinction at the hands of human beings. Rowe chronicles the fates of the Dodo, Great Auk and Passenger Pigeon and the plight of the Condor. A useful overview, which now includes a CD-ROM.
Part I The search for the smoking gun: romance vs. reality - the seductive allure of dinosaurs; death and taxes? earlier hypotheses explaining dinosaur extinction; reconstructing the murder scene - contrasting the volcanic and impact; hypothesis for dinosaur extinction; enormous eruptions and disappearing seaways - evidence for the relatively gradual volcanic hypothesis; fatal impact - evidence for the catastrophic impact hypothesis; the search for the smoking gun - the direct evidence for a K-T impact; lingering problems for proponents of both the impact and volcanic extinction scenarios. Part II Dead or alive: living dinosaurs?; dinosaurs challenge evolution; dinosaurs and the hierarchy of life; backbone of evolution; reptile genealogy - extinct relatives of dinosauria; the ancestral dinosaur; the dinosaur family tree; the herbivorous dinosaurs; the road to birds; from the ground up; the origin of birds; death by decree; the road to Jurassic Park; crossing the boundary; rise and fall of diversity; the great dinosaur extinction; the next wave.