When writing this book I will particularly focus on two audiences. First, undergraduates and postgraduates thinking about a career in paleontology, or just beginning their career, will find this book inspiring and useful. I have heard from several professors that, when prompted by students looking for a research topic, they would recommend reading Robert Carrolls Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution. This book contained a lively discussion of the major unanswered questions in vertebrate evolution and new methods that were useful to study them. After reading this, book students had a mature idea of the state of current research and inspiration to pursue their own projects. Such a book has yet to be written on dinosaurs. Second, paleontology and evolutionary biology are rapidly becoming specialist fields. It is not uncommon for workers who focus on one set of organisms or methods to know very little about other fossil groups or quantitative techniques. My book will be written so as to bridge the gaps between disciplines and research groups. It will deliver the most important and relevant information on dinosaurs to researchers who otherwise may know very little about these animals. Not only will this be useful from a research standpointperhaps other researchers may grasp new techniques and approaches from learning about dinosaursbut it will also be a great help to biologists, geologists, or other scientists that are drafted into teaching classes about dinosaurs and evolution. Synthesis and integration of chapters: Each chapter will be integrated into the common theme of understanding dinosaur biology and evolution using explicit methods. However, with so many methods introduced and discussed, there is the potential for the book to become nothing more than a patchwork of stand-alone chapters. I will prevent this by linking all chapters with a more specific common theme: the study of tyrannosaurs. Tyrannosaurs are the most iconic and familiar of all dinosaurs, and have been studied in greater detail than any other group. I will use tyrannosaurs as a specific case study in each chapter, as a launching point for more detailed explanation of various methods (e.g., phylogeny reconstruction, CT scanning, morphometrics and disparity, biomechanical locomotion studies, environmental and ecological analyses, growth curves and metabolism, genome size). I will then end the book with a concise synthesis of what we know about tyrannosaurs as living, breathing, evolving animals. There is no shortage of dinosaur books on the market, but the intended readership and contents of this book set it apart from others. This book will be an authoritative bridge between specialist research and more general, educated audiences. It will be useful for students and researchers who have some training in science and paleontology, but little or no specialist experience studying dinosaurs. It will not read like a textbook or encyclopedia, but rather will be an ideal supplement for graduate-level (or advanced undergraduate) classes and a valuable reference for the shelves of professional researchers. Plenty of textbooks, encyclopedias, first-person narratives, and technical books abound, but despite the popularity of dinosaurs there is no general summary of current dinosaur research aimed at a semi-technical audience. Because of this, young students and researchers must turn to textbooks and edited volumes for this sort of information. The two most widely-used current textbooks, Introduction to the Study of Dinosaurs (Martin, 2006) and the Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs (Fastovsky and Weishampel, 2005), are both excellent. I have used each as a teaching assistant or lecturer in university classrooms. However, these are general textbooks that describe the entire story of dinosaur evolution and biology in only the broadest strokes, and heavily quantitative methods and new analytical techniques are mostly ignored. A similar book by Fas
The study of dinosaurs has been experiencing a remarkable renaissance over the past few decades. Scientific understanding of dinosaur anatomy, biology, and evolution has advanced to such a degree that paleontologists often know more about 100-million-year-old dinosaurs than many species of living organisms. This book provides a contemporary review of dinosaur science intended for students, researchers, and dinosaur enthusiasts. It reviews the latest knowledge on dinosaur anatomy and phylogeny, how dinosaurs functioned as living animals, and the grand narrative of dinosaur evolution across the Mesozoic. A particular focus is on the fossil evidence and explicit methods that allow paleontologists to study dinosaurs in rigorous detail. Scientific knowledge of dinosaur biology and evolution is shifting fast, and this book aims to summarize current understanding of dinosaur science in a technical, but accessible, style, supplemented with vivid photographs and illustrations. The Topics in Paleobiology Series is published in collaboration with the Palaeontological Association, and is edited by Professor Mike Benton, University of Bristol. Books in the series provide a summary of the current state of knowledge, a trusted route into the primary literature, and will act as pointers for future directions for research. As well as volumes on individual groups, the series will also deal with topics that have a cross-cutting relevance, such as the evolution of significant ecosystems, particular key times and events in the history of life, climate change, and the application of a new techniques such as molecular palaeontology. The books are written by leading international experts and will be pitched at a level suitable for advanced undergraduates, postgraduates, and researchers in both the paleontological and biological sciences.
Dimensioni: 246 x 20 x 191 mm