JLS (jlsjlsjls) wrote,

Just finished ...

... reading Dinosaurs of Darkness. Not quite as much on the actual dinosaurs as I'd hoped ... Australia's fossil record for the big reptiles is quite sketchy ... but much that was interesting about discovery, organization and improvisation at the dig sites at Dinosaur Cove and Flat Rocks (both on the south coast, near Melbourne). Kudos to the authors (the pair of scientists in charge of these digs) for giving named recognition to the volunteers and students who made individual finds rather than lumping them anonymously as "expedition finds".

Of special interest ... the cooperation between this project and an Alaskan one dealing with similar fauna, which resulted in new interpretations, discoveries, and techniques for both.

Some colour plates, good maps, photos and drawings, and a very nice extra touch in two pairs of stereoscopic photographs ... one an aerial view of Dinosaur Cove and the other the skull of a large-eyed Leaellynasaura, the featured dinosaur of the WwD ep. and a member of the most common dinosaur family found at the sites (notable because, unlike some of the other species in the area, its bones show no signs of arrested growth, meaning it was active through the winter).

I was especially interested in this book thanks to episode four of the BBC "Walking With Dinosaurs" series and another palaeontological tv documentary whose name escapes me (if I remember, I'll edit this entry) ... these both focused on dinosaur and other contemporary life within the Antarctic Circle (the two dig sites named above were part of Gondwana and well within the circle at that time) ... so often the ancient critters are stereotypically portrayed in tropical settings and that just ain't the way the world was.

Definitely recommended even if one doesn't have my special reasons ... covers a great deal about practical, day-to-day palaeontology instead of just focusing on the results.

P.S. A link showing one of the unique problems of working at Flat Rocks (the book covers the different preventive methods tried before this one).
Tags: reading

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