‘Gangly-Looking House Cats’: The Humble Beginnings of Earth’s Most Dominant Species
THEY dominated the planet for around 150 million years but not before supervolcanoes scarred the planet leaving a Game of Thrones-style battle.
Dr Brusatte, 34, is widely recognised as one of the leading palaeontologists of his generation. Currently working at the University of Edinburgh, he has written over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers during his decade of research in the field and has also named and described more than 10 new species of dinosaurs.
Fossils are being unearthed at a dizzying rate, leading us to learn new things about our predecessors who were wiped from the face of the earth some 66 million years ago.
Dr Brusatte believes we’re in a “golden age of paleontology” and helps bring these recent (and not so recent) discoveries to life in a new book called The Rise And Fall Of The Dinosaurs: A New History Of A Lost World. The book aims to tell the incredible story of how we’ve pieced together the life and times of the dinosaur empire — a story which most adults may not be so familiar with.
“There are so many books about dinosaurs for children,” Dr Brusatte said. “But there aren’t so many books for adults, and that’s a shame.”
The book gives insight into the life of a palaeontologist in the field. It introduces readers to a cast of fossil hunters and details current research, both Dr Brusatte’s own and that of his colleagues.
It chronicles the paleontologist’s journey from a dinosaur-loving child to making some truly remarkable discoveries including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs, monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex and feathered raptor dinosaurs preserved in lava from China.
“You can never predict what the next discovery will be, and that makes palaeontology such an addictive pursuit,” he told news.com.au.
While he’s used to being surprised by what he digs up, he still has a couple of ideas about what he’d love to discover.
“For me, what I would love to find is the world’s oldest bird,” he said. “Birds evolved from small meat-eating dinosaurs, sometime in the Middle Jurassic. Every year my team and I head up to the Scottish Hebrides islands, where there are Middle Jurassic rocks, on the hunt for the first bird.”
If they ever do make that discovery, it might require another book.
The Rise And Fall Of The Dinosaurs by Dr Steve Brusatte, published by Macmillan. Available now.