Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New and Recent Titles

1) Hickey, Leo J.. The Forest Primeval: The Geologic History of Wood and Petrified Forests. 2003 (2010). Yale University Press. Paperback: 62 pages. Price: $14.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Wood—perhaps no natural material has been used longer by man, and none seems more suited to human tastes and needs. Its properties are the result of a long evolutionary history as an integral part of the earth's forests. This story describes what it is, explores how it is put together, and recounts the story of wood from its origin, giving us new insights into this familiar material all around us, as well as into the petrified wood that occurs so abundantly in the fossil record.
RECOMMENDATION: A good general introduction on the subject.

2) Hulbert, Richard C., Jr. (editor). The Fossil Vertebrates of Florida. 2001. University Press of Florida. Hardbound: 350 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Illustrated with hundreds of photographs and drawings, this authoritative yet readable book describes the fossil vertebrates found in Florida—many unique to the state--and summarizes more than 100 years of paleontological discoveries and research. It bridges the sometimes disconnected worlds of the professional paleontologist and the avocational collector and hobbyist.
     Florida has the richest vertebrate fossil record of any state east of the Mississippi, extending back 45 million years. Beginning with an introduction to vertebrate anatomy, Richard Hulbert describes the geological history of the state and the history of vertebrate life in it. He then addresses such questions as what animals lived in Florida, how they are related to one another and to living animals, when they first appeared and when many of them became extinct, what they ate, and what they tell us about past environments.
     All types of vertebrates are covered, including sharks and other fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. In addition to exceptionally detailed illustrations (many published for the first time), the book includes a comprehensive list of every verified fossil species ever collected in Florida.
RECOMMENDATION: A very good reference on vertebrate fossils of Florida.

3) Marks, Cynthia S. and George E. Marks. Bats of Florida. 2006. University Press of Florida. Paperback: 176 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Florida is home to 20 of the more than 1,000 bat species worldwide. Cynthia and George Marks have created an informative guide that captures both the mystique--and the true nature--of the feared and revered bat. They carefully describe each of Florida's bat species, including its foraging methods, range, roosting habitat, reproductive behaviors, and echolocation--the process by which bats use sonar to navigate and capture insects in the night sky. This first book dedicated solely to bats in Florida features color photographs of each species, along with numerous black-and-white photographs, drawings, tables, charts, range maps, and an illustrated key for identifying Florida species.
     Cynthia and George Marks have more than 15 years' experience working with the state's flying mammals and have cared for and rehabilitated hundreds of injured and orphaned bats. Founders of the Florida Bat Conservancy in 1994, they also help building owners safely remove bat colonies from their premises. Their book offers an objective view of bats and human health, dispelling misunderstandings and separating realistic concerns from exaggerated fears. Bats of Florida also reveals the intriguing stories behind the unoccupied bat tower at Sugarloaf Key and the successfully occupied University of Florida bat house, the largest sanctuary of its kind in North America. Describing how, when, and where to watch for bats, the authors also advise how to conduct bat walks.
     For anyone curious about these fascinating creatures of the night, Bats of Florida provides a thorough, authoritative, well-illustrated guide to their life and lore.
RECOMMENDATION: Anyone interested in the bats of North America will want this book!

4) Sinibaldi, Robert W.. What Your Fossils Can Tell You: Vertebrate Morphology, Pathology, and Cultural Modification. 2010. University Press of Florida. Hardbound: 369 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Written primarily for the avid amateur and beginning paleontologist, What Your Fossils Can Tell You offers both experienced and novice fossil hunters and collectors the information needed to correctly identify and interpret the significance of their discoveries.
     Professionals in the field may also use this book as a pictorial resource to assist them in bridging the fields of pathology and archaeology as they relate to paleontology. Amateur fossil hunters are presented with the tools they need to recognize significant finds and knowledge of how to collect vertebrate fossils responsibly and legally.
     Robert Sinibaldi, in informal collaboration with a number of fossil experts, has compiled materials with a wide appeal. He explains many of the complex bumps, grooves, markings, and other anomalies that occur on fossil bones and teeth. A wealth of photographs helps readers visually identify these features and apply related concepts to their personal collections. Along with many common specimens, scores of unique fossil items appear here in print for the first time.
RECOMMENDATION: A good introduction on the topic.

5) Volpe, Rosemary. The Age of Reptiles: The Art and Science of Rudolph Zallinger's Great Dinosaur Mural at Yale (2nd edition). 2010. Yale Peabody Museum. Spiralbound: 76 pages. Price: $24.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Rudolph Zallinger’s 110-foot (33.5-meter) fresca secco painting of The Age of Reptiles is one of the largest natural history murals in the world. Completed in 1947, it is an overview of prehistoric life told through the principal features and concepts of The Age of Reptiles. The mural has defined our view of the prehistoric world, and continues to teach, inform and spark the imagination of thousands of visitors that walk through the Yale Peabody Museum’s Great Hall each year, as well as to admirers around the world over through countless reproductions in publications and textbooks.
     This second edition of the Peabody’s guide to Zallinger’s masterwork is a compilation of earlier material and new information—including Vincent Scully’s classic essay on the mural’s place in the history of art—contributed by the staff and scientists of the Yale Peabody Museum. Filled with full color illustrations throughout, the concealed spiral paperback includes updated descriptions and identifying illustrations of the animals and plants depicted in the mural keyed to a 12 page foldout full-color poster that is bound into the book.
      Rudolph Zallinger (1919–1995) was an American-based artist notable for his mural The Age of Reptiles (1947) at Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History and for the popular illustration known as March of Progress (1965), one of the world's most recognizable scientific images.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in paleontological art.

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