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Vanishing Life: The Mystery of Mass Extinctions Hardcover – October 31, 1993
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7-12-Hecht incorporates some of the latest dinosaur discoveries into this fairly in-depth presentation of current theories on mass extinction. Frequently including references to his own participation in fossil-hunting expeditions, he shows how scientific explanations of these phenomena were developed, recognizing a wide variety of possibilities. His methodical marshalling of evidence is exemplary. The black-and-white photographs and diagrams are particularly well keyed to the text. Other books on the subject for this age group have slightly different emphases: Christopher Lampton's Mass Extinctions (Watts, 1986) concentrates on the comet-collision theory and presents fewer competing ideas, and Rebecca Stefoff's Extinction (Chelsea, 1992) devotes much more space to current problems of species loss. Given the continuing high interest in paleontology, there is plenty of room on the shelf for Hecht's attractive treatment.
Jonathan Betz-Zall, Sno-Isle Regional Library System, Edmonds, WA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 7-12. Just about everyone knows dinosaurs disappeared rather abruptly from the face of the earth, and many students will be aware that there are conflicting theories explaining their extinction. Hecht's incredibly thorough study of mass extinctions throughout the earth's history provides young adults with a wealth of information about the hows and whys of such disappearances. Background information on fossil development, evolution, and how scientists evaluate physical evidence leads off, followed by discussion of the ways geological evidence supports or discredits various current extinction theories. Hecht raises as many provocative questions about ancient and modern extinctions as he answers, and science teachers can easily use any of them as a starting point for student research or discussion. An extensive glossary and a bibliography are supplied. Chris Sherman
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