Postcards from a Paleontologist
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Dinosaur Impressions by Philippe Taquet
Book DescriptionDinosaur Impressions is the engaging account of thirty years of travel and paleontological exploration by Philippe Taquet, one of the world's most noted paleontologists. In this 1998 book, Dr Taquet takes the reader on a surprisingly far-flung tour ranging from the Provence countryside to the Niger desert, from the Brazilian bush to the Mongolian Steppes, and from the Laos jungle to the Moroccan mountains in search of dinosaur bones and what they have to tell us about a vanished world. With wry humor and lively anecdotes, Dr Taquet retraces the history of paleontological research along the way discussing the latest theories of dinosaur existence and extinction. Dinosaur Impressions provides a unique, thoughtful perspective not often encountered in English-speaking works. This insightful, first-hand account of an exceptional career is also a travelogue par excellence that will enthrall enthusiasts and general readers alike.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780521779302
(228mm x 152mm x 15mm)
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 28-Aug-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Philippe Taquet
Dinosaur Impressions, Hardback (September 1998)» View all books by Philippe Taquet
A popular 1998 account of paleontological exploration, written with lively anecdotes and wry humour.
UK Kirkus Review » A first-hand account of the work of the palaeontologist Philippe Taquet, Dinosaur Impressions evokes Conan Doyle's The Lost World in its sheer love of adventure. Taquet, though now director of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, has been first and foremost a dinosaur explorer. He has ranged from the Niger deserts to Brazilian and Laotian jungles, the mountains of Morocco and the steppes of Mongolia in search of great finds. As he recounts his adventures in colourful detail, he brings us up to date on the recent history and thinking in the field of dinosaurs. Originally written and published in French in 1994, the book has been lovingly translated by one of Taquet's American colleagues. This is a splendid find for dinosaur or archaeology aficionados, or anyone looking for a good true adventure story. The Cambridge Concise History of Astronomy (Kirkus UK)
US Kirkus Review » Lively, vivid, bracingly enthusiastic - these tales of paleontological field days and discoveries from Taquet, director of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, give a sharp taste of what spurred him to say yes to the question: "Do you take paleontology as your spouse and promise to serve her faithfully for the rest of your days?" Taquet is a paleontologist's paleontologist: he combs the archives of the Earth, liberates fossils, and reconstructs the creatures using intellectual sweat and an open mind, guided by intuition, experience, flair, and luck. Here he acts as an elder statesman - avuncular, discriminating, with lots of old chestnuts to share - passing on some of the fruits of his life's passion. Seven of the chapters involve accounts of expeditions he participated in. Still wet behind his Sorbonne-trained ears, he went to Niger and the spectacular, newly discovered dinosaur boneyard at Gadoufaoua; he chased dinosaur eggs in Mongolia; he followed on the heels of J.-H. Hoffet in pursuit of the Laotian sacred buffalo (he had to make propitiatory offerings to the guardian genies and was given an armed escort). Just as riveting as these accounts are his explanations of the process of deciphering and restoring bones, the naming of new species and genera, speculations on evolutionary lines. His tour of paleoichnology (the study of dinosaur footprints) would make Sherlock Holmes proud, as Taquet reveals scads of details that remain hidden to the untutored eye. And, in the all-too-rare spirit of collegiality and attribution, he liberally sprinkles the book with intelligent summaries of the work and theories of other paleontologists: Jack Homer, John Ostrom, Henry Fairfield Osborn, Robert Bakker, and an army of others. Taquet is a good storyteller, his lessons as easy to consume as shucked oysters, and the thrill he finds in his work is catching. (Kirkus Reviews)
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