Название: Sea Dragons: Predators of the Prehistoric Oceans
Автор: Richard Ellis
Издательство: University Press of Kansas
Размер: 11.3 MB
Ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs and mosasaurs, oh, my! The prehistoric oceans and shallow seas that covered most of present-day North America and Europe were rife with such now-extinct monsters. They evolved from land reptiles that returned to the water, but they didn't all coexist: the ichthyosaurs, looking a lot like dolphins and most docile of the group, first appeared about 250 million years ago, followed by the plesiosaurs, which looked like swimming velociraptors; pliosaurs, first cousins to the plesiosaurs and able to take on a shark bigger than a great white; and finally the mosasaurs, almost 60 feet in length. Pliosaurs and mosasaurs went extinct at the same time as the last terrestrial dinosaurs, 65 million years ago. Acclaimed illustrator and author Ellis (The Empty Ocean) conducts an exhaustive and generously illustrated survey of what paleontologists know about these monsters of the deep. Many species are known only from a partial skeleton or two, so many questions remain, such as, how did they propel themselves though the water (some scientists guess that plesiosaurs propelled themselves like penguins or dolphins) and what does the gravel found near some fossils mean (perhaps the sea dragons used it for ballast, like modern-day crocodiles, or perhaps they used it in gizzard-like structures, like the chicken). One of the biggest unanswered questions about dinosaurs is what their skin looked like, but Ellis applies his imagination and extensive knowledge of maritime animals skillfully in the grayscale drawings that bring these creatures back to life. Casual dinosaur fans may find the dense detail tough going, but die-hard Jurassic buffs will want this for their collections.