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Re: Dinosaur environments



 Comments on this below:

>>> David Krentz <ddkrentz@charter.net> 8/4/2010 12:24 AM >>>
Scott Sampson's book Dinosaur Odyssey tapped into the current zeitgeist of 
understanding working ecosystems and made it accessible as pop-sci.  He 
explains the paradigm shifts of science rooted in Reductionism to its current 
Great Story movement ( forgive me for making those assumptions, I'm not a 
scientist but what he is saying makes sense as to how I see the world).  It is 
great example of putting dinosaurs in not only in THIER environment, but in OUR 
world.  I reread the chapters on modern day Redwood forests just before I 
headed to the Redwood Coast for a scouting trip.  It certainly made the 
experience much more meaningful and somehow made those trees even BIGGER in 
stature.  It was OK if our dinosaurs looked small next to them!  On an artistic 
level it's the same thing Doug Henderson has done for years.

  On the interdisciplinary level, I couldn't agree more.  I first went to SVP 
in 1999 and again in 2008.  The content of the material being presented was 
vastly different in those few years.

  On another note, maybe Phil Currie and Eva need to write a book together!



Farlow:  Well...they sort of did.  Edited anyway.  And about my favorite 
dinosaur fauna:

P.J. Currie and E.B. Koppelhus (eds.), 2005.  _Dinosaur Provincial Park: A 
Spectacular Ancient Ecosystem Revealed_. Indiana University Press.

In my experience, as a rough generalization, mammal paleontologists are far 
more interested in interdisciplinary analysess of paleoecology than are the 
dinosaur folks.   At the risk of calling down the wrath of dinosaurologists on 
my head, I would say that mammalian paleoecologists are at least a decade ahead 
of the dinosaur crowd in the sophistication of their understanding of ecology.  
At SVP I frequently bail out of the dinosaur talks (I have a low tolerance for 
cladograms) to listen to the mammal talks. 

I suspect that the mammal folks are further along because there are still lots 
of living mammal species (although we are doing our best as a species to change 
that), so it's easier to make ecological interpretations about extinct forms.  
Ditto the plants in Cenozoic vs Mesozoic vegetations.  I would also hazard the 
guess that mammalian phylogeny is better understood, so the mammal folks don't 
get quite as excited about rearranging cladograms to accommodate new 
discoveries as dinosaur folks do.  I could be wrong about that, though.  

In any case,  if paleoecology is your thing, keep your eyes on Indiana U Press. 
 We have several books in the works dealing vertebrate paleoecology in their 
Life of the Past series--some dealing with dinosaurs, some with mammals.