From Publishers Weekly
In 1999, Tyler Lyson, a high school student with a passion for fossils, stumbled upon an extremely rare find, a nearly-complete dinosaur mummy; once excavated, its remarkably preserved tissue-"skin, bone, ligaments and tendons"-would give scientists their first opportunity to observe the structure and orientation of dinosaur muscles. Lyson called in University of Manchester paleontologist Manning to help extract Dakota the hadrosaur, and here Manning tells the story of the North Dakota discovery, making a detailed account of a paleontologist's day-by-day work with interesting jaunts into the history of fossil-hunting (a little-known pastime in the Wild West) from the Sternberg family in the 19th century up through the 2000 discovery of Leonardo the hadrosaur in Montana. The core of the book describes the extensive preparations and the excruciating care by which the team liberated their quarry; wrinkles along the way include the fossil of a crocodilian creature lodged in the hadrosaur's abdomen, an enormous NASA CT scanner employed to examine the mummy's interior, and intact pollen found in the dino's stomach. While work on Dakota will continue for years, Manning's description of the job so far gives readers a satisfying look at paleontology in (laborious, exacting) action.
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"...the science is solid and well explained, the people are vivid and real, the adventures are well chosen and the story is well told. Read and enjoy." New Scientist
"...deliciously geeky account of the discovery in 1999 and subsequent investigation of a fossilized hadrosaur named Dakota." The Guardian
"Phillip Manning has stitched together a very readable account rewarding for the reader looking for more than a quick glance into the world of the dinosaurs." The Roanoke Times
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