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The Rise of Birds

225 Million Years of Evolution

Sankar Chatterjee

second edition
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The most comprehensive account of the origin of ancient and modern birds—the "living dinosaurs."

A small set of fossilized bones discovered almost thirty years ago led paleontologist Sankar Chatterjee on a lifelong quest to understand their place in our understanding of the history of life. They were clearly the bones of something unusual, a bird-like creature that lived long, long ago in the age of dinosaurs. He called it Protoavis, and the animal that owned these bones quickly became a contender for the title of "oldest known bird." In 1997, Chatterjee published his findings in the first…

The most comprehensive account of the origin of ancient and modern birds—the "living dinosaurs."

A small set of fossilized bones discovered almost thirty years ago led paleontologist Sankar Chatterjee on a lifelong quest to understand their place in our understanding of the history of life. They were clearly the bones of something unusual, a bird-like creature that lived long, long ago in the age of dinosaurs. He called it Protoavis, and the animal that owned these bones quickly became a contender for the title of "oldest known bird." In 1997, Chatterjee published his findings in the first edition of The Rise of Birds.

Since then Chatterjee and his colleagues have searched the world for more transitional bird fossils. And they have found them. This second edition of The Rise of Birds brings together a treasure trove of fossils that tell us far more about the evolution of birds than we once dreamed possible.

With no blind allegiance to what he once thought he knew, Chatterjee devours the new evidence and lays out the most compelling version of the birth and evolution of the avian form ever attempted. He takes us from Texas to Spain, China, Mongolia, Madagascar, Australia, Antarctica, and Argentina. He shows how, in the "Cretaceous Pompeii" of China, he was able to reconstruct the origin and evolution of flight of early birds from the feathered dinosaurs that lay among thousands of other amazing fossils.

Chatterjee takes us to where long-hidden bird fossils dwell. His compelling, occasionally controversial, revelations—accompanied by spectacular illustrations—are a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in the evolution of "the feathered dinosaurs," from vertebrate paleontologists and ornithologists to naturalists and birders.

Reviews

Reviews

Chatterjee takes us to where long-hidden bird fossils dwell. His compelling, occasionally controversial, revelations—accompanied by spectacular illustrations—are a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in the evolution of 'the feathered dinosaurs,' from vertebrate paleontologists and ornithologists to naturalists and birders... A must have for anyone with a serious interest in fossil birds.

A beautifully written and illustrated volume on the origin and evolution of birds.

... An easy read and can and should be read and understood by anyone interested in the subject.

Eminent paleontologist Sankar Chatterjee provides a splendid overview of the current paleontological orthodox, plying through the highly contentious waters of bird and flight origin controversies with exemplary scholarship and much needed civility. In a field with strong beliefs, he skillfully illustrates the currently popular views and shows where striking areas of uncertainty persist.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
8.5
x
11
Pages
392
ISBN
9781421415901
Illustration Description
1 halftone, 161 line drawings
Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition
1. Mesozoic Pompeii
2. The Evolution of an Airframe
3. The Origin of Birds
4. Archaeopteryx
5. Protoavis
6. Basal Avialans
7. Pygostylia
8

Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition
1. Mesozoic Pompeii
2. The Evolution of an Airframe
3. The Origin of Birds
4. Archaeopteryx
5. Protoavis
6. Basal Avialans
7. Pygostylia
8. Enantiornithes
9. Ornithuromorphs
10. The End- Cretaceous Mass Extinction
11. The Avian Revolution Begins
12. The Origin of Flight
13. Eggs, Embryos, and Heterochrony
14. Feathers and Footprints
15. The Feeding Mechanism and Cranial Kinesis
16. Birds and Humans
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Sankar Chatterjee

Sankar Chatterjee is the Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of geology and a curator of paleontology at Texas Tech University. He has led expeditions to India, China, Antarctica, and the American Southwest in search of dinosaur and early bird remains.
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