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Kenneth Lacovara

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Why Dinosaurs Matter (TED Books) (2017) 67 eksemplarer

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Why Dinosaurs Matter isn't so much about WHY they matter, but more about the history of geography and paleontology, with some really neat facts about dinosaurs (avian and non-avian dinosaurs), and including an interesting chapter on Lacovara's field trips to Patagonia to dig-up his newly discovered giant titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur, Dreadnoughtus schrani. This book is ultimately too short to delve deeply into any particular topic and thus falls short. The author also doesn't really deal with the title of the book - why dinosaurs matter - other than as a lesson for the future. This is a short, fun read, but rather superficial.

OTHER BOOKS:
The Hot-blooded Dinosaurs by Adrian J. Desmond
When Life Nearly Died by Michael J. Benton
The Dinosaurs Rediscovered by Michael J. Benton.
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Markeret
ElentarriLT | 3 andre anmeldelser | Mar 24, 2020 |
People love dinosaurs. We are fascinated by them. The more we learn about them the more we realize that dinosaurs achieved feats unparalleled by any other group of animals. They were adaptable and fascinating creatures that deserve a lot more respect than we give them. They did not die out because they were too slow or stupid to adapt, but instead were wiped out by a calamitous event that left them little time to adjust and recover.

This was especially interesting to me because it delves into the subject of why birds are dinosaurs, and that dinosaurs are not truly extinct – they live on as birds. The author explains how birds are descended from the theropod group, also known as avian dinosaurs, the ones that had feathers.

This is a well written and interesting book by an author who is passionate about the subject. So why do dinosaurs matter? The lesson here is that no species lasts forever. Humans take for granted that we are invincible when in reality our time on this planet could be just as fleeting; we are far more fragile than the dinosaur. And in the end, an asteroid took down a mighty species.

Audio production . . .
This was read with enthusiasm by the author – maybe a little too much at times! It was a quick, enjoyable listen, read in a manner that the entire family will enjoy listening to.
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Markeret
UnderMyAppleTree | 3 andre anmeldelser | Feb 9, 2018 |
In Why Dinosaurs Matter Kenneth Lacovara has an infectious boyish enthusiasm combined with veteran professional knowledge. One wonders how he arrived so late in his career without becoming, well, a dinosaur as so often happens with age. In this brief TED book he addresses someone who maybe hasn't thought much about dinosaurs lately and tells us some cool new things that make dinosaurs seem fresh again. He also communicates big concepts like geological time which requires a nimble imagination and guide to really appreciate - try as I might I still have trouble with holistically understanding anything beyond a few thousand years.

Some things I learned include most if not all dinosaurs have been discovered in lowland areas since that is where sedimentary rock formed, a requirement for fossil creation. Thus alpine dinosaurs are completely unknown but which surely existed. One of the most common types was the duck-billed dinosaur, a grazing herbivore with teeth able to grind any vegetation into pulp, they was everywhere. And dinosaurs are differentiated from other lizard-like animals (crocodiles, turtles) by an ability to rapidly propel forward - thus birds are dinosaurian because they can quickly take flight and dart about, or run like the Ostrich.
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Markeret
Stbalbach | 3 andre anmeldelser | Oct 17, 2017 |
We are the asteroid

Kenneth Lacovara is a storyteller. In Why Dinosaurs Matter, he has woven together the importance of dinosaurs in the census of species, as well as stringing together the story of their discovery and popularization, beginning less than 200 years ago. It is a fast, easy read, and should turn any bored teenager into a thrill-seeking paleontologist – like Kenneth Lacovara.

Lacovara is no slouch in the field. He discovered the Dreadnoughtus, currently the largest dinosaur ever found, at 85 feet in length and 130,000 pounds in heft. They are his life’s work and passion.

Because most dinosaur bones and fossils are found in sedimentary formations near ancient lowlands and seashores, we know nothing about highland dinosaurs, those adapted to the hills, forests and mountains. The closest we’ve come are the wooly mammoths of Siberia, hardly dinosaur class. Like every other being, then, now and forever, dinosaurs were perfectly adapted to their specific environment. They were not trapped, diseased, or too inflexible to survive. Stuff happened, and species turnover is constant. Lacovara spends a lot of (too much) time batting away the pejorative adjective dinosaur in our culture.

This little book is purely top line – all the accomplishments and milestones without the frustrations, fighting, wrong turns and failures. That helps it move quickly and positively. Unusually for a TED talk, there is a climax, a very dramatic one. Lacovara describes in fine detail the repercussions of the asteroid hitting the earth – that doomed the dinosaurs after 165 million years. He shows how interconnected everything is, such that every aspect of the aftermath affected a far greater number of things elsewhere. From the heat blast (three minutes in a pizza oven) to the tsunamis that pushed into North America in the complete darkness of the suddenly permanent night, and the consequent lack of phytoplankton that starved nearly every aquatic creature in the chain, it made for a nearly instantaneous fifth extinction.

As I read, I kept thinking this is the wrong format, and the thought got more and more pronounced as I read. This is clearly a case for a graphic novel format. It is so visual, with fossils, sedimentary layers, uplifted cliffs, dinosaur bones, dinosaurs themselves, and all the scientists who brought them into mainstream thought (including historically critical paintings and sculptures) – that words alone are a wasted opportunity. That there are no photographs at all in this book is aggravating – though there is the occasional drawing of a stylized dreadnoughtus here and there. As it stands, you will absolutely need a computer and a search engine set to Images to see what he’s talking about. Dinosaurs you never heard of, for example (we now discover new ones weekly!). Lacovara’s message, almost inevitably, is that we have only just discovered the immensity of what we don’t know, yet we’re plowing ahead full throttle into the sixth extinction. Now knowing what the fifth was like, we really don’t want to do that.

David Wineberg
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1 stem
Markeret
DavidWineberg | 3 andre anmeldelser | Aug 23, 2017 |

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