Predators of the Prehistoric Oceans
In the days when dinosaurs dominated the earth, their marine counterparts—every bit as big and ferocious—reigned supreme in prehistoric seas. In this entrancing book, Richard Ellis, one of the worlds foremost writers on the denizens of the deep, takes us back to the Mesozoic era to resurrect the fascinating lives of these giant seagoing reptiles.
Working from the fossil record, Ellis explores the natural history of these fierce predators, speculates on their habits, and tells how they eventually became extinct—or did they? He traces the 200-million-year history of the great ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and mosasaurs who swam the ancient oceans—and who, according to some, may even still frequent the likes of Loch Ness.
“A must read for any dinosaur aficionado.”
—Christian Science Monitor
“A wonderful grab bag of a book [that] will appeal to paleontologists and to people who never saw a taxonomic puzzle they could resist. It also might entice the child or teenager who, by contemplating the book’s murky wonders, may be drawn into the exhilarating exploration of the natural world. . . . The drawings are delightful.”
—Los Angeles TimesSee all reviews...
“Ellis is Americas foremost writer on marine research. [Here] he conducts an exhaustive and generously illustrated survey of what paleontologists know about these monsters of the deep [and] skillfully applies his imagination and extensive knowledge of maritime animals [to] bring them back to life.”
“Fires the imagination and invites rumination on great mysteries.”
“Flashy . . . and fun to browse.”
—Journal of Scientific Exploration
“The only popular science book devoted to covering major groups of extinct marine reptiles in a cohesive style.”
“This work will appeal not only to biologists and paleontologists, but to anyone interested in giant reptiles.”
“Giant marine reptiles ruled the oceans when their distant cousins the dinosaurs ruled the land. Despite their wonderful strangeness, these sea monsters have been overlooked in the modern dinosaur frenzy. . . . Ellis’s drawings show the wonderful variety of the creatures, and the text is overflowing with facts.”
“Ellis has written the paleohistorical equivalent of Jaws. Modern-day sharks are anchovies compared to the monstrous great reptiles of prehistoric seas, most of which were bigger, faster, more powerful, omnivorous, and better armed.”
—Peter Benchley, author of Jaws and Shark Trouble
“With this book, Richard Ellis complements his previously published works on living marine creatures with a riveting account of those long-necked, sharp-toothed, and in some cases, armor-plated giants of the 100-million-year-old seas. His exploration of the past brilliantly showcases creatures more astonishing than any Loch Ness Monster we can dream up.”
—Michael Novacek, Provost of Science and Curator of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History and author of Time Traveler: In Search of Dinosaurs and Other Fossils from Montana to Mongolia
“Dinosaurs were the most magnificent creatures that ever walked the earth and remain a subject of enduring fascination, as witnessed by the highly popular Jurassic Park. Elliss vivid and delightfully illustrated book chronicles a lesser-known but equally magnificent group of these extraordinary mega fauna—the remarkable giants that swam the great Mesozoic seas.”
—Sir Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey
“This is really the first book to present a detailed summary of the history of ideas on marine reptile paleontology. Its also very readable and accessible, which is one of Ellis’s trademarks as a writer.”
—Michael Caldwell, curator of higher vertebrates at the University of Alberta Museum of Paleontology and associate editor of Journal of Vertebrate PaleontologySee fewer reviews...
Picture if you will seventy-foot dragons with foot-long serrated teeth, or an animal that looked like a crocodile crossed with a shark the size of a small yacht. With its impossibly long neck, Plesiosaurus conybeari has been compared to a giant snake threaded through the body of a turtle. At a length of nearly sixty feet, Mosasaurus hoffmanni boasted powerful jaws and teeth that could crunch up even the hardest-shelled giant sea turtle. And Kronosaurus queenslandicus, perhaps the most formidable of the lot, had a skull nine feet long—more than twice that of Tyrannosaurus Rex—with teeth to match.
The first book about these amazing animals in nearly a century, Sea Dragons draws upon the most recent scientific research to vividly reconstruct their lives and habitats. Their fossils have been found all over the world—in Europe, Australia, Japan, and even Kansas—in lands that once lay on the floors of Jurassic and Triassic seas. Along the way, the book also provides intriguing insights into and entertaining tales about the work, discoveries, and competing theories that compose the fascinating world of vertebrate paleontology.
Ellis also graces his text with a set of incomparable illustrations. Widely hailed as our foremost artist of marine natural history, he depicts vividly how these creatures probably appeared and, through these likenesses, invites us to speculate on their locomotion, their predatory habits, their very lifestyles.
A genuine book of marvels and wonders, Sea Dragons will certainly stir ones curiosity about our planets prehistoric past.