264 pages, Figs, col plates, illus
Millions of years ago in the Cretaceous period, the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex - with its dagger-like teeth for tearing its prey to ribbons - was undoubtedly the fiercest carnivore to roam the Earth. Yet as What Bugged the Dinosaurs? reveals, T. rex was not the only killer. George and Roberta Poinar show how insects - from biting sand flies to disease-causing parasites - dominated life on the planet and played a significant role in the life and death of the dinosaurs.
The Poinars bring the age of the dinosaurs marvelously to life. Analyzing exotic insects fossilized in Cretaceous amber at three major deposits in Lebanon, Burma, and Canada, they reconstruct the complex ecology of a hostile prehistoric world inhabited by voracious swarms of insects. The Poinars draw upon tantalizing new evidence from their amazing discoveries of disease-producing vertebrate pathogens in Cretaceous blood-sucking flies, as well as intestinal worms and protozoa found in fossilized dinosaur excrement, to provide a unique view of how insects infected with malaria, leishmania, and other pathogens, together with intestinal parasites, could have devastated dinosaur populations.
What Bugged the Dinosaurs tells the story of insects' tremendous impact on Cretaceous ecosystems...There are fascinating chapters on the evolution of pathogens, what makes insects 'the ultimate survivors,' and the nature of extinctions...The scientific and, at times, technical, subject of this book is complemented by an often colorful narrative style...worthwhile for lay readers as well as experts. -- Aaron Brooks ForeWord Magazine The Poinars graphically detail the probably diseases, debilitations, and deaths of dinosaurs from the life-cycle perspective of insects that infested them. The Poinars directly encourage younger readers by emphasizing how wide open paleoentomology is to future researchers. They impart enthusiasm in recounting their own discoveries...a mood supported by this book's several dozen photographs and drawings. Showing dinosaurs beleaguered, the Poinars temper the popular image of their dominance. -- Gilbert Taylor Booklist
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