Age of Reptiles, The
The Age of Reptiles Author Edwin H. Colbert Dover Publications, Inc. 31 East 2nd St. Mineola,NY11501 1997; 252 pages Paperback $9.95
The Age of Reptiles is an enlarged and corrected republication ofthe work originally published by W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, in 1965. Since the original publication, new paleontological discoveries have been made throughout the world, particularly to Paleozoic and Mesozoic tetrapods. A 2 3-page addendum has been added to this republication that addresses the large aspects of tetrapod taxonomy, plate tectonics and the distributions of these tetrapods. In addition, brief remarks are made concerning details on certain pages in the original text that required corrections or emendations.
The republication continues to be a readable book providing a concise, detailed review of the Age of Reptiles. The book provides a clearly written exposition ofthe years of reptilian dominance, the first wave of extinctions, the new ruling reptiles, the dominance of dinosaurs, and their rise and great extinction. Reptiles are not the only prehistoric animals discussed in the book. Also examined are the interrelationships between amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals and between all these animals and their environments. Considerable emphasis is placed on intercontinental migrations.
Colbert’sbookisenhancedby 15 tables, 87 figures, and 19 photographic plates. They each provide illumination to the ever-readable text. The evolving story is accessible to the casual reader yet valid and useful to the specialist. In a time when scholarly books tend to be voluminous in scope, it is refreshing to find a text focusing its scope within a manageable length. This is even more praiseworthy considering that the content of the book cuts across the fields of historical geology, vertebrate paleontology, and paleogeography.
The weakness of the book is in the addendum. The addendum is useful in providing a summary of changes to the earlier text and providing an updating of recent understanding of the evolution of tetrapods and of the continents and the oceans on which and in which they lived beginning 200 million years ago. It would have been more useful and coherent if the corrections and updates had been incorporated into the body of the text than placed at the end of the volume. Even so, The Age of Reptiles is an informative read particularly at the price.
Faculty of Education
University of Windsor
Copyright School Science and Mathematics Association, Incorporated Jan 2004
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