Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New Titles



1) Hallett, Mark and Mathew J. Wedel. The Sauropod Dinosaurs: Life in the Age of Giants. 2016. Johns Hopkins University Press. Hardbound: 320 pages. Price: $39.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: From The Land Before Time to Jurassic Park, images of fantastically large, long-necked, plant-eating dinosaurs have captured our imaginations. These are the sauropods: centerpieces of museums and gentle giants of the distant past. Imagine what it must have been like to crest a hill and see in the valley below not just one sauropod, but an entire herd, feeding its way across the landscape.
     The most massive land animals ever to have lived, sauropods roamed widely across the continents through most of the "Age of Dinosaurs" from about 220 to 65 million years ago. They reached incredible sizes, giving rise to the question: Why were they so big? Early guesses suggested that they gained protection from predators by virtue of their size, which also allowed them to reach the tops of trees in order to eat leaves and conifer needles. More recent hypotheses hold that they needed a long and complicated digestive tract due to their consumption of low-nutrient food sources: size was an offshoot of that need. Whatever the explanation, there is little doubt that natural selection produced something extraordinary when the Sauropoda diversified into a wide variety of species. This book combines majestic artwork and the best of paleontological research to resurrect the lives of sauropods. The Sauropod Dinosaurs shows how these amazing creatures raised and defended their young, traveled in groups, and interacted with the rich diversity of Mesozoic plants and animals. Beautiful enough to sit on the coffee table, the book also serves as the best reference available on these bygone giants. Anyone with a passion for dinosaurs or prehistoric life will cherish this once-in-a-generation masterpiece.
     The book includes the following features:· Over 200 full-color illustrations· More than 100 color photographs from museums, field sites, and collections around the world· Thoughtfully placed drawings and charts· Clearly written text reviewed by major sauropod researchers· Descriptions of the latest sauropod concepts and discoveries· A field guide to major groups of sauropods· Detailed skeletal reconstructions and anatomical restorations· A comprehensive glossary.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated overview on the subject.


2) Hayes, Louise and Philippe Henry. Alligators of Texas. 2016. Texas A&M University Press. Flexibound: 227 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Found only in the United States, the American alligator ranges in Texas through 120 counties, from the Sabine River to the Rio Grande, across a swath of river drainages and coastal marshes that include both the backwater swamps of the Big Thicket and the urban bayous of greater Houston.
     From its beginning in a pile of eggs buried in a meticulously constructed nest to its possible end as an alligator burger or a pair of boots, an alligator’s habitat preferences sometimes coincide with the favorite haunts of boaters, hunters, and coastal residents.
     In Alligators of Texas, biologist Louise Hayes and photographer Philippe Henry bring readers up close to this cryptic reptile’s food choices, parenting skills, communication techniques, and responses to natural events such as freezes and hurricanes. They also relate some Texas “alligator tales”; discuss alligator farming, hunting, and live capturing; and examine how people can successfully co-exist with this predator. They end by telling readers where they can view alligators, both in the wild and in captivity.
     Although not as often, as easily, or perhaps as happily observed as white-tailed deer or armadillos, the American alligator is an iconic Texas animal, and knowing more about its life and habits can help Texans better understand its rightful place in the landscape.
RECOMMENDATION: A detailed treatment of the species.

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