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A Sea without Fish: Life in the Ordovician Sea of the Cincinnati Region (Life of the Past) Hardcover – March 4, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Anyone with an interest in the life found during the Ordovician period will want this book!" ―Birdbooker Report 5 (blog), March 2009



"Paleontology is all about roots. A Sea Without Fish is an excellent example of how the history of a discipline and the history of life in the Cincinnati area come together to provide a fascinating, clear understanding about how our knowledge of fossils of the region has evolved....This is an attractive, well-written, and beautifully illustrated book describing the geology and paleontology of one of the best-known and most fossiliferous regions of the world. The book belongs in the personal library of all those interested in paleontology and in college and university libraries." ―Northwest Ohio History, Spring 2010



"A Sea without Fish is superbly written, richly illustrated, up-to-date, fairly thorough, and downright entertaining in places.... [It] is a fantastic book. Casual collectors will learn something; advanced collectors and geology students will learn something; even professionals will learn something, guaranteed." ―Rocks & Minerals, October, 2010



"A Sea without Fish is a lavishly illustrated introduction to a marvelous underwater realm preserved in the 450-million-year-old fossils of the Cincinnatian." ―SirReadaLot.org, March 30, 2009



"The authors provide a comprehensive view of the grand panorama of Ordovician paleontology in the Cincinnati region. This volume belongs in the libraries of those interested in the Ordovician Period, the geology and paleontology of the Cincinnati area, and the history of science." ―David J. Bottjer, Professor of Earth and Biological Sciences, University of Southern California



"In this excellent introduction to the Cincinnatian fossil beds, A Sea without Fish offers a fascinating glimpse of a long-extinct ecosystem.... interesting, well-written, and profusely illustrated... Highly recommended." ―Choice, August 2009

From the Author

David L. Meyer is Professor of Geology at the University of Cincinnati. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Richard Arnold Davis is Professor of Biology and Geology at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Steven M. Holland is Professor of Geology at the University of Georgia, Athens. He lives in Athens, Georgia.

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Product Details

  • Series: Life of the Past
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (March 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253351987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253351982
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #744,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Phelps on April 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Tri-state area, centered on Cincinnati, is one the world's best places to collect Late Ordovician fossils. Because of the abundance and fantastic preservation of fossils in this region, it has been the focus of a huge amount of paleontological research for more than 150 years. Moreover, as a result of the massive amount of research on these fossils, the lattermost part of the Ordovician is named the Cincinnatian Series by North American paleontologists. This new book synthesizes a great deal of this research and makes it understandable to a wide audience. _A Sea Without Fish_ is written in such a way to be readable by an audience ranging from intelligent amateur collectors to specialists in geology and paleontology.

Meyer and Davis cover the development of our knowledge of the fossils by providing biographies of the numerous individuals that have studied the fossils of this time and region. Much of this information is widely scattered and usually not available in one source. The book also describes our current knowledge of how fossils are named and classified, and discusses at length how we think the limestones and shales were deposited in the ancient seas that covered the region approximately 450 million years ago.

After these background chapters, the authors describe various groups of fossils in individual chapters. This part of the book is very well illustrated with good quality photographs and diagrams. A central section has a number of color plates, including a reproduction of the Cincinnatian Sea reconstruction by artist John Agnew. Agnew's artwork is also used on the dust jacket.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Frenchman on August 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I grew up in Cincinnati and have lately taken to daydreaming about the serene, extreme other-worldliness of what it must have been like... 400 million years ago. My hometown has made me a fossil snob. 80 million-year-old bones? Meh. Dinosaurs? Newbies. And then there was the fabled diorama at the local Natural History Museum: where oh where has it gone? This is a very readable survey of the men (all men back then though the wondrous "amateur" Cincinnati fossil group, the Dry Dredgers, currently has many women members) and the sea that over time yielded the famous Cincinnatian strata. Lovely color plates that take one back in time (though the black and white technical drawings needed a massage) and there is even an image of the old diorama. Highly recommended for anyone at any knowledge level of Ordovician fossils.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Montague Whitsel on October 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been enjoying reading this book for a couple of weeks, and for a variety of reasons. First, it is not a simple or general overview of the Ordovician; it is not an introductory text--though it would be accessible to people without a great deal of background in paleontology. [I myself am an amateur enthusiast.] The authors describe the various fossil assemblages present from a particular area -- around Cincinnati, Ohio -- from a paricular time in Earth's history; about 450 million years ago, near the end of the Ordovician. I appreciated the detailed treatment of the various plant and animal species that are represented in the Cincinnatian strata and was engrossed in the diagrams and drawings presented by the authors. There are chapters on everything from algae to Crinoids, and from mollusks to nautiloids. Each group is given a clear and vivid description.

Beyond this, I was struck by a whole chapter on the paleontologists who have studied these strata and collected the fossils; both the professionals and the amateurs--over the last century. Finally, the book ended on an imaginative note (!) -- with the authors engaged in a time-travel excursion to the Ordovicisn, where they saw many of the species that had been discussed in the book in a plausible life-situation. This reinforced my own experience that I was on a journey to another time and place as I was reading the book.

A very engaging read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JCD on July 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Text is well written. Content is technical but readable. The information has application beyond the specific region/era for which it was written. It would make a nice textbook for an introductory college course.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stewart J. Skrove on March 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well organized, thorough research work about the Ordovician sea.
Recommended to all students of Paleozoic studies.
Excellent diagrams, charts, and photos.
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By Ted on July 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book not even realizing that it focuses in part on the exposed rock layers of Cincinnati and the contributions of the Dry Dredgers. It is an excellent report and a well made book. If you wish to zoom in on the Ordovician and Devonian, this book is required reading.
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