The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is a sweeping narrative scientific history that tells the epic story of the dinosaurs, examining their origins, their habitats, their extinction, and their living legacy, from one of the most accomplished young palaeontologists in the world today.
In this ambitious and engrossing narrative history that spans nearly 200 million years, Stephen Brusatte, a young American palaeontologist who has emerged as one of the foremost stars of the field – discovering ten new species and leading groundbreaking scientific studies – tells the complete story of the life and death of the dinosaurs. Brusatte follows these magnificent creatures from the Early Triassic period at the start of their evolution, roughly 250 million years ago, through the Jurassic period to the end of the Cretaceous period (66 million years ago), when a giant meteor struck the earth and all non-bird species went extinct.
Brusatte traces their evolution from small shadow dwellers – themselves the beneficiaries of a mass extinction caused by volcanic eruptions at the beginning of the Triassic period – into the long-necked, armoured carnivores we are familiar with today. This gifted scientist and writer re-creates the dinosaurs' heyday, when thousands of species – including fearsome predators such as Tyrannosaurus rex – thrived, and winged and feathered dinosaurs, the prehistoric ancestors of more than 10,000 modern bird species, emerged.
Brusatte recalls compelling stories from his decade-long journey studying these legendary beasts during one of the most exciting eras in dinosaur research, and offers thrilling accounts of some of the remarkable discoveries he has made, including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs, monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex, and raptor dinosaurs from China.
An electrifying scientific history and biography that unearths the dinosaurs' epic saga, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs will be the definitive narrative history of the subject for years to come.
Steve Brusatte is a palaeontologist on the faculty of the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He grew up in the Midwestern United States and has a BS in Geophysical Sciences from the University of Chicago, MSc in Palaeobiology from the University of Bristol (UK), and PhD in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Columbia University in New York. At age thirty-one, Steve is widely recognized as one of the leading palaeontologists of his generation. He has written nearly ninety peer-reviewed scientific papers during his decade of research in the field, discovered and named ten new species of dinosaurs, and led groundbreaking studies on how dinosaurs rose to dominance and went extinct. One of his particular research interests is the evolutionary transition between dinosaurs and birds and he is a noted specialist on the anatomy, genealogy, and evolution of the carnivorous dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor.
"A must-have for fans of ancient reptiles and their lost world."
– Kirkus Reviews
"[Brusatte's] captivating text explores the excitement associated with searching for and discovering new dinosaur species, provides clues to many long-standing questions associated with dinosaurs [...] a mix of memoir, chronicling Brusatte's personal odyssey from a child smitten by dinosaurs to a member of a vibrant scholarly community, and first-rate science writing for the general public."
– Publishers Weekly
"Fantastic [...] Superbly illustrated with photos and art, this is popular-science writing at its best."
– Nancy Bent
"With his new book The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs esteemed palaeontologist and author Steve Brusatte shows that the fun, fascinating and fact-filled story of the dinosaurs is still very much alive after 66 million years. Simply, a must read."
– Ben Garrod, BBC TV presenter
"As a scientist on the front lines of discovery, Brusatte delivers a cutting-edge account of Earth's most awe-inspiring age, and does so with great skill, humor and wonder. In his thrilling account of the revolutions and innovations that brought dinosaurs to rule the world for a near eternity, Brusatte captures both the majesty of the creatures he studies, as well as the breathtaking evolutionary ride that transformed these once scrawny also-rans into the myth-making tyrants of legend. It's the most epic chapter of earth history, and here it's told vividly by one of the world's top paleontologists."
– Peter Brannen, author of The Ends of the World
"Steve Brusatte's The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is a triumph. Written by one of our young leaders of the field, he brings new discoveries, a taste for a good yarn, and his infectious enthusiasm to some of the epic tales of paleontology. It is hard to read Brusatte and not love lost worlds."
– Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish
"The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is a work of solid modern science, updating the fallacies and fancies of antiquated paleontology, revealing the quantum leaps in understanding of this modern science. But it is more than that. It is a personal quest full of enthusiasm and joy, getting beneath the dust to reveal the scales and the feathers of dinosaurs."
– Steve Backshall, Naturalist and BBC TV Presenter
"Steve Brusatte is doing some of the most exciting research on dinosaurs today, and he brings that excitement to The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs. Whether he's recounting remarkable fossil discoveries or explaining millions of years of evolutionary change, Brusatte shows just how much our understanding of dinosaurs has changed in just the past decade."
– Carl Zimmer, author of Evolution: Making Sense of Life
"An up-to-the-minute account of the long history and remarkable biology of the extraordinary animals that capture the imagination of every child. The dinosaurs are much more varied than the popular picture of lumbering giants and matching meat eaters. Steve Brusatte expertly leads the reader through the latest discoveries to unravel their great range of lifestyles in a vanished world. He explores the research that led to the realisation that dinosaurs Iive on – as birds. The book is an appropriate antidote to the hubris that puts our human species at the centre of the living world."
– Professor Richard Fortey