1. What are sauropod dinosaurs?
Sauropods, perhaps even more than the famous Tyrannosaurus rex, are among the most iconic of all dinosaurs in the public mind, typified by their huge bodies, long necks/ tails and small heads.
2. What are the reasons that made you decide to write about them?
Most young children go through a period of being fascinated by dinosaurs, and each has his or her favorite. In my case, I was in love with the sauropods because of their majestic size, graceful necks and tails and powerful limbs. They were the ones I liked to draw and dream about more than any other, and years later as an adult I came to understand that perhaps more than any of the other dinosaur types, we really didn’t know much about their evolution, biomechanics or paleoecology. I spent many years informally studying their skeletal structure for clues, and as time went on I felt that there was an increasing need for a broad, comprehensive book about these dinosaurs to be written.
3. What new information does your book contain?
Partly as a result of new discoveries, the work of several sauropod specialists affiliated with the German-based research Group 533 and recent studies by others that included digital modeling of
4. What readership would be most likely to relate to and learn from this book?
The Sauropod Dinosaurs: Life in the Age of Giants is primarily directed at satisfying the curiosity of both older junior and adult readers who have a broad, general interest in dinosaurs, and who until now have not been offered a comprehensive, easily understood treatment of why and how sauropods developed in the way they did. Our book is written in a casual, conversational style that aims to engage the reader and help him or her think about hypotheses relating to the sauropod dinosaurs’ evolution, anatomy and physiology in light of what we understand about modern animals, aided by abundant photos, black-and-white and color illustrations. At the same time there is much information for specialists in
5. What is the value of the book to the subject of paleontology and science in general?
In addition to presenting new concepts relating to the sauropod dinosaurs themselves, our title demonstrates the workings of many important basic concepts of natural science such as natural selection, predator-prey ecology, population dynamics and extinction, among others. It also seeks to show how sauropods and other dinosaurs evolved in intimate association with Mesozoic plant communities. The book portrays these in some detail, since plants, as well as changing geographies and ecosystems throughout this time, were the basis for what we currently know about the evolution of dinosaurs as a group.
Naturalist Mark Hallett’s art and writing has appeared in Life, Smithsonian Magazine, and National Geographic. An artistic consultant for Jurassic Park and Dinosaur, he has created dinosaur art and models for the Walt Disney Company and Universal Studios. Mathew J. Wedel is a well-recognized sauropod expert and an associate professor of anatomy at Western University of Health Sciences. He has coauthored papers naming the sauropods Sauroposeidon and Brontomerus.