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King of the Crocodylians: The Paleobiology of Deinosuchus (Life of the Past) Hardcover – June 12, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0253340870 ISBN-10: 025334087X

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King of the Crocodylians: The Paleobiology of Deinosuchus (Life of the Past) + Dragons in the Dust: The Paleobiology of the Giant Monitor Lizard Megalania + Wildlife of Gondwana: Dinosaurs and Other Vertebrates from the Ancient Supercontinent (Life of the Past)
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Product Details

  • Series: Life of the Past
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (June 12, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 025334087X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253340870
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,644,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Schwimmer offers a study of the paleoautecology of a Cretaceous crocodylian, Deinosuchus. Thoughtfully organized, the book's chapter headings reflect answers to some basic questions: How big was it? How old was it? Where was it found? What did it eat? How many species existed? Astute readers will gain insight into the thinking of a practicing vertebrate paleontologist as the author probes these questions...." —Choice, December 2002



Schwimmer offers a study of the paleoautecology of a Cretaceous crocodylian, Deinosuchus. Thoughtfully organized, the book's chapter headings reflect answers to some basic questions: How big was it? How old was it? Where was it found? What did it eat? How many species existed? Astute readers will gain insight into the thinking of a practicing vertebrate paleontologist as the author probes these questions. But the target audience for this trade book is not obvious—technical jargon is sometimes explained in the text (and thoroughly covered in the appendixes), but its usage in the text requires an advanced level of understanding. The author complains about the requirements of the zoological rules of nomenclature, which seems counterproductive in such a work. The book will be most useful for paleoecologists hoping to gain a deeper understanding of life in the Cretaceous. Upper—division undergraduates through professionals.P. K. Strother, Boston College, Choice, December 2002

About the Author

David R. Schwimmer, Professor of Paleontology at Columbus State University in Georgia, is an expert on the Late Cretaceous paleontology of the southeastern United States. Author of many papers on Cretaceous vertebrates, he is co-author (with W. J. Frazier) of Regional Stratigraphy of North America, which won the award for "Best Reference Book of the Year" from the Geoscience Information Society.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jurassosaurus on June 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Schwimmer's book stands as the most comprehensive look at the natural history of one of the largest crocodylians ever to roam the earth.
The opening chapter starts off a lot like Steve Alten's Meg. A hapless theropod winds up in the wrong place at the wrong time. While Meg's scenario was entirely fictitious (_Carcharocles megalodon_ was not around during the Cretaceous), Schwimmer's scenario is actually based off of some factual evidence. For the rest of the book, Schwimmer justifes his scenario by presenting evidence for the size, habitats and prey of _Deinosuchus_.
Schwimmer breaks up each of the 8 chapters into different sections on _Deinosuchus_. Starting with the semi-fictitious intro, then going into its chaotic taxonomic origin, when, and where it appeared, how big it got, what creatures it was related to, and who was preying on whom back in the Late Cretaceous. All the evidence is viewed objectively, with the author's view stated at the end. Some highlights include an interesting section of the 2nd chapter, which showed some of the bias seen in non-dinosaur/non-mammalian work. More often than not, the reason we know as little as we do about other ancient reptiles, is because of a lack of interest in them. One prime quote from that chapter (pg 29) really sums this up:
"Holland (1909) reported that, upon recognizing the animal leaving all these big bone fragments was a huge crocodylian: 'Mr.Hatcher immediately lost interest in the material...""
Thankfully, this skewed point of view has been slowly changing. If it hadn't, then this book would never have been written. Schwimmer also deals with the infamously inaccurate skull reconstruction that used to be on display on the 4th floor of the AMNH.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joe Zika TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
King of the Crocodylians: The Paleobiology of Deinosuchus written by David R. Schwimmer is a book about the giant chrocdylians that used to inhabit the eastern and western gulf coastal plains of the interior seaway that ran through the North American continent in the late Cretaceous period, also up the Atlantic Coastal Plain.
This in modern times relates to the Gulf States of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida; and the Atlantic States of Georgia, South and North Carolina. The book explains that there were differences in size between the Western and Eastern species of Deinosuchas. And it is especially noteworthy that these Cretaceous crocodylians were animals reaching more than twice the body mass of any living Crocodylus or Alligator species.
A major focus of this book, besides the giant crocodylians themselves, is the unique ecosystems and conditions of these southern Late Cretaceous coastal habitats that enabled such crocodylian populations to develop and flourish for a significant amount of geological time.
This book is NOT hard reading, in fact, this book move right along as we read about the croc's diet, how it hunted and what it ate. There is a lot of anatomy in this book as we see skull fossil remains and teeth, while there is some comparative anatomy Deinosuchus was in a class by itself.
The contents of the book: The Life and Times of a Giant Crocodylian; The Early Paleontology of Deinosuchus; The Size of Deinosuchus; The Age of Deinosuchus; Deinosuchus Localities and Their Ancient Enviornments; How Many Deinosuchus Species Existed?; A Genealogy of Deinosuchus; and The Prey of Giants.
I found the book to be very informative, this is not light reading for children, but children from age 12 and older will be able to understand it. All in all, the life and times of a Giant Croc is the easiest way to explain this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By simon.buckley@janes.co.uk on August 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
An interesting book, certainly worth a look by those who, like myself, have been fascinated by the original 'supercroc' for a long time. Nevertheless if like me you are not a palaeontologist you might find this book a little on the dry side. An early hypothetical meeting of eastern Deinosuchus and dinosaur grips the attention but after that the book seems to become very obsessed with a few areas; mainly the lineage of Deinosuchus, the investigation of eastern and western Deinosuchus and whether they were related and a certain amount on its evolution and diet. To my mind the mixture of purely factual peer-reviewed paper and hypothetical drama wasn't an entirely happy one. I felt there could have been more about the life-cycle of Deinosuchus; the western animals predation on larger carnivores; and deeper investigation in to why such a large, successful predator (the largest heavier than both T-rex or Giganotosaurus!), which had suppressed the development of larger dinosaur predators on the east coast died out before the mass extinction. The ending is also distinctly anti-climactic, even Scientific American / New Scientist writers end their articles with a bit more of a bang! It's still a fascinating book. It's obvious that a lot of research has gone into and I don't regret buying it, but I think it could have been a couple of chapters longer and filled in a few more blanks about the life of Deinosuchus in general for the benefit of us lay enthusiasts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T snamm on March 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an all around interesting read for those who are somewhat familiar with more intensive scientific research. Professor Schwimmer is obviously an expert on Crocodylians,paleontology, as well as plaleo-environments. All the technical descriptions he does of the different aspects of body design,dentition, habitat,study of bone damage(bite markings) etc., all show the extensive amount of research involved to make definitive conclusions about the animals living habits and status in the ecosystem. There was just enough balance between the hypothetical story in the beginning, and all the other hard science in the rest of the book(that backed up the hypothetical story), to make for an enlightening read. This shows the laymen just how intricate and intensive reanimating prehistoric ecosystems and animals truly is. And of course being interested in giant dinosaur eating crocs doesn't hurt either!
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