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Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life Paperback – June 28, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"This thought-provoking book is a must read not only for dinosaur enthusiasts and science educators but anyone interested in the larger context of life."--"Magill's Literary Annual / Salem Press"
"Sampson is right on target. . . . There is no better overview available than 'Dinosaur Odyssey.'"--"Earth Magazine"
"A great in-depth read for those seriously interested in the history of dinosaurs."--"Dig"
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Top Customer Reviews
Get it for the information on dinosaurs. But you'll love it for the engaging text and the way you will feel part of Dr. Sampson's world. And once you are draw in, you'll be amazed at what else you might learn beyond the world of dinosaurs.
If you know just a little about dinosaurs, I'm sure you know who Dr. Scott Sampson is due to his commentary on dinosaur videos and now on the PBS tyke show "Dinosaur Train." I saw this book at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and then again at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh. If those two institutions put it on their bookshelves, there might be something special about the book. The forward by Philip Currie praises the book: "looks not just at dinosaurs but also the at the myriad life-forms that shared their ecosystem, from bacteria to birds. This is done deliberately to show how life-forms interact to form complex, interdependent systems." And what an extraordinary job! Beyond pretty illustrations and art, Dr. Sampson is able to make the whole ecosystem of dinosaurs come to life. But what sends this book beyond the commonplace is the epilogue. If you are not getting the fact that Dr. Sampson is showing you that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the dinosaur's days are the same that are operating today, the epilogue will make it perfectly clear. Here, while talking about the "sixth great extinction event" (the one that we are currently experiencing), the author clearly states how we are part of the interdependent web of all existence. But beyond that, he shows how we need to revise our educational system and the teaching of science to bring awareness of that interconnectivity.Read more ›
Scott Sampson's Dinosaur Odyssey brings this world back to life. This is a book for the very serious amateur dinosaur lover. I really enjoyed the author's love of complexity, for many of the most core issues about how dinosaurs lived are still mysteries. His discussions on the areas of dinosaur metabolism and evolution were particularly fascinating. Sampson does not take the easy road. Rather, he treats his readers with respect. The interplay of evolution and ecology is not always a simple one and Sampson takes the reader into these occasionally murky areas of research and conjecture in ways that are endlessly intriguing. These discussions became rather complex and I really enjoyed the challenge of fully understanding them. His writing style is both technical and passionate. His love for paleontology shines on every page. I found myself even a little jealous of the author, for so many years ago I considered becoming one myself as a geology minor as an undergraduate. After reading Dinosaur Odyssey, I suspect I made the wrong choice.
With all we seem to know about the world of dinosaurs, I now realize that so many of the key questions continue to be mysteries. What was it like to wander along a Cretaceous era river? How did the air smell (Sampson does make some inferences about this)? Did these giant beasts make lots of sounds? Was there constant terror in the air wondering just how close a Tyrannosaurus might be?Read more ›
Processing all that information is no small task. Fortunately, Dr. Scott takes Albert Einstein's principle of science writing to heart: "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."
Take for example, his discussion of plate tectonics in Chapter 4, in which Dr. Scott uses the image of a lava lamp to describe the action of convection forces in the Earth's mantle (p. 56).
There's plenty of humor sprinkled throughout the book as well. For example, in describing the paleontological debate over whether the T. Rex was primarily a hunter or a scavenger of dead meat, Dr. Scott makes the wry comment that the scavenger theory "effectively relegate[s] Tyrannosaurus to the status of prehistory's biggest maggot."
If you love dinosaurs, you'll love this book.
(Read more at my blog, BostonWriters.wordpress.com.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So far, one of my favorites. Full of great stuff. He takes the novice by the hand and clearly lays out what he wants to get across. Read morePublished 8 months ago by kevin marshall
Scott Sampson has written a real treasure. For dinosaur lovers or those seeking an understanding of our earth and its marvellous history. Read morePublished 15 months ago by in His Name
This book was exactly as promised, a general audience story of dinosaurs and their co-evolution with their environment. Read morePublished 19 months ago by JJD
I was born 100 million years too late. If humans can survive as long as dinosaurs did we will be a success, great book.Published 20 months ago by Donna Fernow
"Dinosaur Odyssey" has so much great science in it! It is about yes, dinosaurs, but it is so much more! Read morePublished 20 months ago by Robin A. Lyman
My son loves dinosaurs and Dr. Scott. He wanted this book and there is nothing wrong with it. However, he was disappointed that there were not many illustrations. Read morePublished 23 months ago by BDavis73
I have seen "Dr. Scott, the paleontologist on Dinosaur Train, and this man has the ability to relate to kids as well as produce an adult work of science that is both readable... Read morePublished 24 months ago by shalomis
In all honesty, I read this book because my kids like Dinosaur Train and I figured I might as well see what's changed in the world of dinosaur history in the past 40 years. Read morePublished on December 29, 2013 by BDT