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Dinosaur Odyssey

Fossil Threads in the Web of Life

Scott D. Sampson (Author), Philip Currie (Foreword)

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This captivating book, laced with evocative anecdotes from the field, gives the first holistic, up-to-date overview of dinosaurs and their world for a wide audience of readers. Situating these fascinating animals in a broad ecological and evolutionary context, leading dinosaur expert Scott D. Sampson fills us in on the exhilarating discoveries of the past twenty-five years, the most active period in the history of dinosaur paleontology, during which more “new” species were named than in all prior history. With these discoveries—and the most recent controversies—in mind, Sampson reconstructs the odyssey of the dinosaurs from their humble origins on the supercontinent Pangaea, to their reign as the largest animals the planet has ever known, and finally to their abrupt demise. Much more than the story of who ate whom way back when, Dinosaur Odyssey places dinosaurs in an expansive web of relationships with other organisms and demonstrates how they provide a powerful lens through which to observe the entire natural world. Addressing topics such as extinction, global warming, and energy flow, Dinosaur Odyssey finds that the dinosaurs' story is, in fact, a major chapter in our own story.
Scott D. Sampson is a dinosaur paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and educator. He serves as Research Curator at the Utah Museum of Natural History and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah. He now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where he continues dinosaur research and actively pursues writing and consulting projects surrounding education reform and sustainability.
“A wonderful book, crammed with information that will surprise you.”—Truthdig
“This thought-provoking book is a must read not only for dinosaur enthusiasts and science educators but anyone interested in the larger context of life.”—Magill's Literary Annual / Salem Press
“Sampson is right on target. . . . For any reader wanting to move beyond the world of A-to-Z encyclopedias and cable TV documentaries, there is no better overview available than ‘Dinosaur Odyssey.’”—Earth Magazine
“A great in-depth read for those seriously interested in the history of dinosaurs.”—Dig
"Ignites our imagination. . . . This is an excellent read for an introduction to dinosaurs and a brilliant tool for teaching ecological first principles."—David. M. Lovelace Evolution: Education And Outreach
“Top recent adult book.”—Cosmiclog,
“Gives readers a rare peek at what dinosaurs might have been like as living, breathing creatures.”—Dinosaur Tracking/
“Sampson brings eloquence to the grand pageant of evolution and voices concern about how we must take care of our own world. . . . This book draws scientifically accurate pictures in a style that is accessible to researchers and general readers alike.”—Library Journal
“Brings dinosaurs back to life as living, breathing parts of their long-vanished ecosystems. . . . Rich in food for thought.”—New Scientist
“Scott weaves an engaging story of the history of Earth. . . . And that’s where this book excels – making the dinosaurs and their world come alive while at the same time making the reader understand that the same processes that shaped the dinosaurs and their ecology also shapes ours today.”—Paleoblog
“Sampson's sprawling study is one of the most comprehensive surveys of dinosaurs and their worlds to date. . . . Highly recommended for all dinosaur fans.”—Publishers Weekly
"A well-written study...highly recommended"—Choice
"The best general-audience dinosaur book since the Dinosaur Renaissance began in the 1970s."—Philip J. Currie, coeditor of Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs, from the foreword

Dinosaur Odyssey is not only a personable and highly accessible tour of the up-to-date discoveries about the gigantic and famous. It also builds on dinosaur paleontology to far-ranging topics like extinction, climate change, and the possibility of life on Mars. The gift to the reader is both fascination and enlightenment.”—Michael Novacek, author of Terra and Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs

"An odyssey indeed! One of the world's leading dinosaur paleontologists, Sampson draws on a wide variety of sciences, from astronomy and cosmology to microbiology and ecology, in order to portray dinosaurs as living animals. The reader is in for a treat and will emerge with fresh and valuable insights."—Peter Dodson, author of The Horned Dinosaurs
PBS Scott Sampson interview

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