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RE: Request for suggested reading material
For restorations of Mesozoic environments, see:
Dinosaurs: A Global View (Hardcover)
by Sylvia J. Czerkas & Stephen A. Czerkas
The lavish illustrations are by Douglas Henderson, Mark Hallett, and John
Sibbick. Labeled outline drawings in the index identify plants illustrated.
This is a beautiful coffee table book -- just take the text with a mouthful
Any book illustrated by Douglas Henderson does a beautiful job of depicting
dinosaurs within the appropriate ecological context, although his pastel
renderings are sometimes richer in atmosphere than detail. See many
examples at http://gallery.in-tch.com/~earthhistory/index.html .
Feathered Dinosaurs of China
by Gregory C. Wenzel (Illustrator)
This kid's story book shows many of the animals (and a few of the plants)
from the famous feathered dinosaur locale.
You can also see a nicely modeled Liaoning Forest diorama featuring 49 plant
and animal species at http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/dinosaurs/diorama/ and
<http://www.jasonbrougham.com/>. (Note: not all of these organisms were
contemporaneous). E-mail me privately for an internal link to additional
pictures and info.
Chinese renderings of the Chinese feathered dinosaur ecosystems can be seen
at http://www.sinodino.com/data/2006/0530/article_275.htm with Chinese text,
or in English at
The single best English language resource on the feathered dinosaur fossil
ecosystems is the beautifully produced, pricey import:
Chang, Meemann, editor, The Jehol Biota: The Emergence of Feathered
Dinosaurs, Beaked Birds, and Flowering Plants. Shanghai Scientific and
Technical Publishers, 2003.
If you can find -- and afford -- this book, you will see that it features
plenty of fossil photos as well as restorations and good text.
The reason I stress the Jehol biota -- the term for the collection of
fossilized organisms represented in the "feathered dinosaur" beds of Early
Cretaceous northeastern China -- is that it is claimed that it gives us the
most detailed picture of any terrestrial Mesozoic ecosystems. The Jehol
formations have yielded an unprecedented number and variety of fossil
specimens which preserve remarkable details. You could do a lot worse than
to study the output of the Yixian and Jiufotang Formations (and the somewhat
older Daohugou Beds); and the numerous articles and beautifully produced
books and restorations have gone a long way in helping us understand what
the world was like in China approximately 125 million years ago. IMHO
Dino Guy Ralph
Docent at the California Academy of Sciences
Dinosaur and Fossil Education
Member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology