Thursday, September 30, 2010

When Fish Got Feet, When Bugs Were Big, and Big Cats!

Bonner, Hannah. When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Long Before Dinosaurs. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2009.
When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Long Before DinosaursChronologically the first of two books by Bonner, When Fish Got Feet... explores the rise of fish in the Silurian and Devonian periods with wonderful comics, cartoons and illustrations. She takes difficult material, such as the rise and fall of the very fish classes (Sharks! Acanthodians! Placoderms! Bony Fish!) and makes it accessible to a younger audience. Even as an adult I really enjoyed this book and it gave me some wonderful ideas on future things to learn about!

Bonner, Hannah. When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Before Dinosaurs. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2004.
When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life before DinosaursThe second book chronologically, (though the first published) When Bugs Were Big takes a look at the Carboniferous and Permian periods. This span includes the movement to land by insects and tetrapods, the changing world, and the mass extinction that would give way to the Mesozoic and the age of the Dinosaurs. Once again Bonner has created a text that explains the timeperiod in a fun, illustrated way.


Turner, Alan and Mauricio Anton. The Big Cats and Their Fossil Relatives. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.
The Big Cats and Their Fossil RelativesBig Cats is a book in a very similar vein to "Dogs," and it even includes illustrations by the same artist, Mauricio Anton. In this text Turner looks only at the big cats- Lions, Tigers, Leopards, etc.- and explains where they came from, who their now-extinct ancestors were, and how and why they have the specific adaptations that they possess. It gives a clear picture of the evolution of Big Cats, and explains nearly every function of their anatomy and how it corresponds to their social, mating, and hunting behaviors. This book is not "light reading" but if you have an interest in feline evolution and physiology, definately take a look. It also has some exceptionally beautiful illustrations and plates by Anton that help to visualize these creatures of the past.

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