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Oceans of Kansas: A Natural History of the Western Interior Sea (Life of the Past) Hardcover – June 29, 2005
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. . . Oceans of Kansas remains the best and only book of its type currently available. Everhart's treatment of extinct marine reptiles synthesizes source materials far more readably than any other recent, nontechnical book-length study of the subject . . . . Everhart is always headed somewhere, and the journey is informed by expertise . . . (Copeia)
Overall, at $39.95 for a hardback book, Everhart’s book is more than just a fun read. It is a reference book for the fauna of the Cretaceous and, for that reason, the price is a steal for the scientific information housed within these pages. The book also does a great job of delivering valuable, detailed information about the specimens . . . Many authors would probably skip some of these important details since they are very cumbersome to manage, but it is obvious to me that Everhart’s years of experience have taught him that sometimes the smallest detail can help another paleontologist now or perhaps even 100 years from now. (Palaios)
. . . [The book] will be most useful to fossil collectors working in the local region and to historians of vertebrate paleontology. . . . Recommended. (Choice)
. . . excellent . . . Those who are interested in vertebrate palaeontology or in the scientific history of the American mid-west should really get a copy. You will not be disappointed! (PalArch's Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology)
A main selection of the Discovery Channel Book Club2006 Kansas Notable Book List
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I highly recommend it
The treatment of the topic within a chapter is progressive. The author starts with a short dramatization. He sets the stage and presents a description of the setting and environment that pertains to the creatures discussed within that chapter. The chapter on sea turtles follows this pattern, for example. Once the dramatic setting is presented, the author commences to add details about the creatures that are the subject of a given chapter. Details about the fossil specimens are then added. This information is extensive and thorough. The author presents these specimens within their historical and paleontological perspectives. Several important names recur throughout the book. These are historical names well known to readers in this subject area. The author, himself, is responsible for surprisingly many of the discoveries cited.
I was impressed by the scope of this book. Its breadth is great. The level of detail presented here is daunting. It takes careful reading to follow that level of detail though. This is a substantial book and should be a good addition to the library of anyone interested in this subject. Kansas readers should take pride in how important the findings that have taken place in Kansas have been to the understanding of this earlier time.
The book also has a great discussion on the history on fossils in Kansas, and the battle between Cope and Marsh to be the first to name new species of marine reptiles.
If this is your first book on geology/paleontology, you may find it to be a little technical.
Illustrations of vertebrate fossils diagramming the different aspects of the bones would have been helpful.