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Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs: Evolution, Extinction, and the Future of Our Planet

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Donald R. Prothero's science books combine leading research with first-person narratives of discovery, injecting warmth and familiarity into a profession that has much to offer nonspecialists. Bringing his trademark style and wit to an increasingly relevant subject of concern, Prothero links the climate changes that have occurred over the past 200 million years to their ef Donald R. Prothero's science books combine leading research with first-person narratives of discovery, injecting warmth and familiarity into a profession that has much to offer nonspecialists. Bringing his trademark style and wit to an increasingly relevant subject of concern, Prothero links the climate changes that have occurred over the past 200 million years to their effects on plants and animals. In particular, he contrasts the extinctions that ended the Cretaceous period, which wiped out the dinosaurs, with those of the later Eocene and Oligocene epochs. Prothero begins with the "greenhouse of the dinosaurs," the global-warming episode that dominated the Age of Dinosaurs and the early Age of Mammals. He describes the remarkable creatures that once populated the earth and draws on his experiences collecting fossils in the Big Badlands of South Dakota to sketch their world. Prothero then discusses the growth of the first Antarctic glaciers, which marked the Eocene-Oligocene transition, and shares his own anecdotes of excavations and controversies among colleagues that have shaped our understanding of the contemporary and prehistoric world. The volume concludes with observations about Nisqually Glacier and other locations that show how global warming is happening much quicker than previously predicted, irrevocably changing the balance of the earth's thermostat. Engaging scientists and general readers alike, Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs connects events across thousands of millennia to make clear the human threat to natural climate change.


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Donald R. Prothero's science books combine leading research with first-person narratives of discovery, injecting warmth and familiarity into a profession that has much to offer nonspecialists. Bringing his trademark style and wit to an increasingly relevant subject of concern, Prothero links the climate changes that have occurred over the past 200 million years to their ef Donald R. Prothero's science books combine leading research with first-person narratives of discovery, injecting warmth and familiarity into a profession that has much to offer nonspecialists. Bringing his trademark style and wit to an increasingly relevant subject of concern, Prothero links the climate changes that have occurred over the past 200 million years to their effects on plants and animals. In particular, he contrasts the extinctions that ended the Cretaceous period, which wiped out the dinosaurs, with those of the later Eocene and Oligocene epochs. Prothero begins with the "greenhouse of the dinosaurs," the global-warming episode that dominated the Age of Dinosaurs and the early Age of Mammals. He describes the remarkable creatures that once populated the earth and draws on his experiences collecting fossils in the Big Badlands of South Dakota to sketch their world. Prothero then discusses the growth of the first Antarctic glaciers, which marked the Eocene-Oligocene transition, and shares his own anecdotes of excavations and controversies among colleagues that have shaped our understanding of the contemporary and prehistoric world. The volume concludes with observations about Nisqually Glacier and other locations that show how global warming is happening much quicker than previously predicted, irrevocably changing the balance of the earth's thermostat. Engaging scientists and general readers alike, Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs connects events across thousands of millennia to make clear the human threat to natural climate change.

43 review for Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs: Evolution, Extinction, and the Future of Our Planet

  1. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    A really interesting book, recommended by a friend. I didn't have much previous background in paleontology, so it was a bit of a tough slog (I referred to the Wiki encyclodia online many times in the first few chapter)and it was written by a professor more used to writting for his students than for the general public, but he did a good job of making the issues and recent developments in the study of paleontology come alive. In a lot of ways I like it when a book isn't dumbed down, but it does ma A really interesting book, recommended by a friend. I didn't have much previous background in paleontology, so it was a bit of a tough slog (I referred to the Wiki encyclodia online many times in the first few chapter)and it was written by a professor more used to writting for his students than for the general public, but he did a good job of making the issues and recent developments in the study of paleontology come alive. In a lot of ways I like it when a book isn't dumbed down, but it does make it a lot more work for me as a reader. Oh well.

  2. 4 out of 5

    James Prothero

    'Tis my big bro's book. Quite a feat. I learned a lot I didn't know about my own brother! 'Tis my big bro's book. Quite a feat. I learned a lot I didn't know about my own brother!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joe Iacovino

    A very different book then I expected. Based on the title I had thought the focus was simply going to be ancient climate; however, I found myself on a ride through that topic as well as geology, current climate, paleontology (and its history), and more. This was also an overall behind-the-scenes look at what it is to be a research scientist as experienced by the author. The chapter on punctuated equilibrium was probably my favorite simply because evolutionary biology is my main interest but the A very different book then I expected. Based on the title I had thought the focus was simply going to be ancient climate; however, I found myself on a ride through that topic as well as geology, current climate, paleontology (and its history), and more. This was also an overall behind-the-scenes look at what it is to be a research scientist as experienced by the author. The chapter on punctuated equilibrium was probably my favorite simply because evolutionary biology is my main interest but the author establishes important connections inherent in the sciences presented as they naturally overlap more often then many would believe. The first few chapters are heavy on taxonomic names that I was simply unfamiliar with so the reading was a bit slow but soon picked up thereafter and would be of no consequence to someone else with better knowledge of paleontology and geology than I possess. For anyone interested in a career as a research scientist this book is a must-read and yet is still well worth picking up for the science-minded layman.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Robu-sensei

    The strength of this book is in Dr. Prothero's meticulous explanation of how we can reconstruct the dates of fossils to a high degree of precision. I wish he hadn't cited Al Gore at the end; though I admire Gore's advocacy work, he isn't a scientist. The strength of this book is in Dr. Prothero's meticulous explanation of how we can reconstruct the dates of fossils to a high degree of precision. I wish he hadn't cited Al Gore at the end; though I admire Gore's advocacy work, he isn't a scientist.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Very good, and provides good hard evidence for present day climate change and why we're the ones doing it. Very good, and provides good hard evidence for present day climate change and why we're the ones doing it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin

    Good book, a full review will be published elsewhere, but I enjoyed this personal story of Prothero's research, particularly his research on the Eocene-Oligocene boundary. Good book, a full review will be published elsewhere, but I enjoyed this personal story of Prothero's research, particularly his research on the Eocene-Oligocene boundary.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Robin

  8. 5 out of 5

    Josh David Miller

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chad Brock

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jorg

  11. 5 out of 5

    Blair Larsen

  12. 4 out of 5

    Robert Kaufman

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kyri Freeman

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Lyons

  15. 4 out of 5

    Derek Colanduno

  16. 5 out of 5

    Davide Zoia

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jack

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tessa

  19. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ernest Barker

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brittany Farrell

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mitchell Colgan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brady Clemens

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ankur

  25. 5 out of 5

    Edward

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ekel Adolf

  27. 4 out of 5

    Justin

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  30. 5 out of 5

    James

  31. 4 out of 5

    Dan Gilbert

  32. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  33. 4 out of 5

    Lee

  34. 5 out of 5

    Sašo

  35. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  36. 5 out of 5

    Jane

  37. 4 out of 5

    Alan Neff

  38. 5 out of 5

    Isavarg

  39. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Bastian

  40. 4 out of 5

    Max

  41. 5 out of 5

    Fernando Morales

  42. 5 out of 5

    Calamander

  43. 4 out of 5

    Souhir

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