Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs: Evolution, Extinction, and the Future of Our Planet

Donald R. Prothero, Author . Columbia Univ. $29.50 (274p) ISBN 978-0-231-14660-9

Prothero, a prolific paleontologist (From Greenhouse to Icehouse ) at Occidental College, says the goal for his new book is simply “to inject the human side of the profession into the story of the research topics” he has worked on during his 40-year career—to show science as a human quest, not just dry conclusions. While the goal is admirable, the result is disappointing, largely because, unlike his previous books, this one doesn't have a central theme: it touches on a range of questions paleontologists have addressed and tentatively answered, such as how dinosaurs could have lived in the Earth's polar regions (as fossil evidence suggests). Prothero's constant shifting of focus makes it difficult to grasp all of the technical content, while the overwhelming minutiae he provides makes you feel like you are viewing an endless series of photographs from a friend's summer vacation. While small sections are powerful—such as a discussion of how “global warming might paradoxically trigger the next ice age” and do so incredibly rapidly—the book never gels into a coherent whole. Photos, illus. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/08/2009
Release date: 06/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-231-51832-1
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