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Fossils of Florissant Hardcover – March 17, 2003
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About the Author
Herbert W. Meyer is a paleontologist with the U.S. National Park Service and has devoted himself to studying the fossil beds of Florissant. He lives in Colorado.
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Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is remarkable because it constitutes a highly detailed snapshot of life at a time when the earth was entering a period of major climate change. The setting is a 34 million year-old forest, along a lake teeming with exceptional diversity, in the shadow of an erupting volcano. Due to the outstanding quality of preservation, many unique fossil plants, birds, butterflies, spiders, bees, and fish from this site appear to have met their demise only yesterday.
During the last 100 years, a large number of prized fossils from Florissant have been scattered to museums all over the world. The author has traveled extensively to find and catalog these specimens, and assemble a collection of color photographs printed in exquisite detail. He meticulously reconstructs the ancient ecosystem from the fossil record, at times much like a detective unravels clues from a good murder mystery. Interesting twists abound. For example, why is the only fossil of the tsetse fly-the blood-sucking, disease-carrying scourge of equatorial Africa today-- found at this location high in the Rockies?
When it comes to fossils, big is not necessarily better. Dinosaur books have grabbed the imagination of many in the last few years, but The Fossils of Florissant, by Herbert Meyer, is a newcomer that deserves to be at the top of the heap.