Prehistoric Life: The Definitive Visual History of Life on Earth

Prehistoric Life: The Definitive Visual History of Life on Earth

by DK


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Prehistoric Life 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Dinosaurkid More than 1 year ago
Having studied dinosaurs casually since I was a kid eons ago, I couldn't resist investing in Prehistoric Life. The images consist of fantastic photos of actual artifacts (fossils, skeletons), beautifully colored pictures and illustrations, and concise descriptions that seem scientifically sound to this Ph.D. chemist and contain a lot of new information and discoveries. The book is divided into a general section "Young Earth" which covers the formation of the planet, plate techtonics, mass extinctions and fossil formation and key fossil sites, "Life on Earth" which consists of a detailed collection of plant, invertebrate and vertebrate life divided by geologic period, which is presented after a brief overview that shows the land masses at the time and a timeline that shows the major events of that period in chronological order. The third and final major section of the book is "The Rise of the Humans" which covers the evolution of homo sapiens from human relatives and ancestors to the origins of modern humans, including chapters on migration, hunter-gathering, cave art and the ice age. The volume contains a glossary, dinosaur list, index and acknowledgements. I haven't decided yet how I will systematically read and enjoy this book because there is so much to it. Since I was most familiar with early sea life (trilobites, shelled organisms, fishes, etc.) through dinosaurs and mammals, I started there, picking images more or less at random, reading the captions, and following threads to answer any random questions that occurred. For example, I had read about Roy Chapman Andrews decades ago, best known for his field trips to Mongolia and the Gobi Desert where he discovered the first dinosaur eggs, and protoceratops (one of the small horned primitive ceratopsians). Prehistoric Life had a drawing of protoceratops, an acknowledgement of several different species and possible sexual variations, a photograph of the fossilized eggs found in the Gobi that were originally thought to be from Protoceratops, but are now assigned to Oviraptor (who had been thought to only be stealing eggs), and a photo of Andrews, who "is thought to be the inspiration for the movie character Indiana Jones." A second example--as a kid, I seem to remember having a plastic dinosaur that was identfied as kronosaurus, one of the plesiosaurs. Prehistoric Life shows that Kronosaurus was not as large as originally thought, and actually had a relatively short neck. On the same page is Elasmosaurus, which had an enormously long neck which, according to the text, had also been changed from what was origninally thought since the head had been mistakenly attached to the end of the tail. Most images of creatures show the size relative to man, the date within the geological period that it lived, where it lived (USA), and the approximate size (length). These two examples illustrate the ability of this book to answer my questions as they occurred, correct old misinformation with the most current scientific data, and raise possible new points of interest (Andrews = Indiana Jones?). I've just begun to explore the section on humans, but I expect the same result. There is an excellent human family tree that shows the skulls of most of the major ancestors of humans, defines the time line and relationships between each of the species. Many of these human ancestors are then discussed individually, with significant detail. Highly recommende
royinjersey More than 1 year ago
DK books are usually well organized, well illustrated and good browsing/reading. This is the best of several DK publications I have seen about dinosaurs/prehistoric life - their most thorough. It is one of the best of many books I have on this subject. Also useful and very interesting for students/younger readers. A definite reommend!
scubasteve111 More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing, it's really detailed and has tons of pictures on every page. It's absolutely amazing, the only down sides are this: 1. Many of the animals names are very hard to pronounce and the book doesn't teach you how to pronounce them and some of the organisms are hard to find on the net. 2. The book is very heavy, it's about 7 pounds so it may take time getting used to. Aside from that, this book is highly recommend for any science or paleontologist , paleobonist, evolutionist or any dinosaur fan old or young.
mrwhiteout More than 1 year ago
this is a great starter book. i bought it cause it was useful to mean. i always wanted a book on dinosaurs and human evolution. it was simple. i bought another one like for my little brother
hyarrowen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Surely one of the best books produced by high-quality publisher Dorling Kindersley, this history of life on Earth covers the fossil record from earliest times to the present day. Each geological period is given an overview, stunning photographs of the fossils for each phylum that was around at the time, and reconstructions of what the landscape might have looked like. Windows on a lost world indeed ¿ some of those scenes look decidedly alien! There's a lot of information, but the layout is never too 'busy' or confusing ¿ and, very importantly, dinosaurs are given full weight, with a completele list of non-avian genera. I have to admit that this is a weighty volume... but it's a truly beautiful book, and one which I will be buying as soon as I've saved the money!(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A-Z to prehistorics. Good reference for kids.
johnsanmateoca More than 1 year ago
Quite complete survey from bacteria, plants, dinosaurs, mammals, etc. I wish there were more drawings intead of boring looking fossils. Some of the drawings look familiar and may have come from previous DK books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Luv2ReadDA More than 1 year ago
I have seen many books organized as this one is. I think it is a very good read and would be useful in a classroom setting. Very well illustrated and key points are noted next to the illustrations. Doesn't bog you down with a inside scientific jargon, but offers enough information to explain the points illustrated.
anitaproject More than 1 year ago
A veritable who's who of prehistoric life, huge in scope if a bit sparse in detail. Each chapter is a geologic era and is subdivided into plant life, invertebrates, and vertebrates both aquatic and land dwelling. Each plant or creature is illustrated with an artists rendering or photograph and a short descriptive paragraph, so the entire book reads a little like a catalog. The book does, however give a wonderful picture of the variety and complexity of life throughout the history of our planet, and serves as an excellent general reference.
Bio_fan More than 1 year ago
I had been wanting this book for a while since I am majoring in Biology. Once I received it I was thrilled! Not only does it seem like I should have payed way more for it, but it is also a great value because of the sheer size of it. It is well over 200 pages and the organization is very well done. The book is divided into the periods of time over Earth's vast history. It starts with a simple yet comprehensive overview of how life on Earth started and goes on to break into periods of life. In each period, they have divided the sections by a brief overview of the period and what was going on in Earth at the time. Then they discuss the invertebrates, vertebrates and microscopic life that was on Earth during the period. Each section is very thorough but not to the point where it reads like a textbook. Instead DK has provided little snipets about several organisms each with a picture and description. One feature I absolutely love is that they put a little symbol next to each organism letting you know how big it was compared to the size of a human hand or a full standing human. This really helps you visualize the size without having to rely on measurements alone. Most pictures are fossils, but there are also a lot of computer-made artwork showing what some organisms would have looked like when they were in existence. I love this part! Fossils are cool, but digital art is even cooler! I haven't read through the whole book yet, but I intend to. Right now I am reading it in order, as opposed to flipping around. It has so many interesting facts and includes so many organisms, it's like having the Museum of Natural History compiled in a book! If you don't like reading everything like me, you can always easily flip to whatever period you are interested in with their well-organized table of contents. They also include "see this page" references while discussing something relevant to lead you to the right page. I just love reading it in order because that way I can see how life on Earth progressed and diversified through time. This is a great book for any student, but especially those studying biology! I have read many things that help me with what I am learning. I would recommend this to anyone though. Our planet's history, essentially our species history, is so interesting and so complex. This book is like having the entire fossil record at your hands! It is a must for all studying the science of life!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice design of material; handsome presentation.
whynotTB More than 1 year ago
I thought it was a very good book with very nice pictures but it'll take forever to read there is just so much information and the price was very good for a book of this nature.
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Truenorth More than 1 year ago
So, apparently Barnes & Noble wants me to write a review of a book that I pre-ordered which isn't even released yet. I won't have the book for another two months. Way to go B&N.