By Peter Ward

ISBN-10: 0309100615

ISBN-13: 9780309100618

For sixty five million years dinosaurs governed the Earth – until eventually a perilous asteroid compelled their extinction. yet what money owed for the wonderful durability of dinosaurs? A popular scientist now presents a startling rationalization that's rewriting the heritage of the Age of Dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs are beautiful impressive creatures. actual existence monsters that experience the ability to fascinate us. And they’re fiery Hollywood finishing basically serves to make their tale that rather more dramatic. yet fossil proof demonstrates that dinosaurs survived a number of mass extinctions, likely unaffected by way of catastrophes that decimated so much different existence on the earth. What may possibly clarify their uncanny skill to suffer during the a long time?

Biologist and earth scientist Peter Ward now bills for the amazing indestructibility of dinosaurs through connecting their strange respiratory procedure with their skill to conform to Earth’s altering surroundings – a approach that was once finally bequeathed to their descendants, birds. by way of tracing the evolutionary course again via time, slowly yet intentionally connecting the dots from birds to dinosaurs, Ward describes the original kind of respiring shared by means of those far away relations – and demonstrates how this easy yet outstanding attribute offers the elusive clarification to a question that has up to now stumped scientists.

Nothing wanting progressive in its daring presentation of an remarkable conception, this can be a tale of technology on the fringe of discovery. Ward is an exceptional advisor to the method of medical detection. Audacious and cutting edge in his considering, meticulous and punctiliously particular in his learn, just a scientist of his quality is able to telling this wonderful tale.

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Additional resources for Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere

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It is the lack of oxygen that precludes animal life. It is not just the sand that covers a reducing, anoxic world. Water itself can be virtually devoid of dissolved oxygen. Today there are large regions of the Gulf of Mexico that are composed of water volumes essentially lacking in oxygen, and the Black Sea in Asia, between Turkey and the old Soviet Union, is the largest known water body that has oxygen at very low levels. In both areas animal life is rare or absent, depending on the level of dissolved oxygen in the water.

Much of the Mesozoic was like this, and those of us who have collected Mesozoic marine rocks can attest to how widespread the dark anoxic ocean sediments from those times are. Usually such strata are fossil-free. 18 OUT OF THIN AIR OXYGEN IN WATER AND AIR Because animals are obligated to harvest oxygen from the atmosphere or from a watery medium, they are affected by the varying concentrations of oxygen in air and water. There is no way that sufficient oxygen can be gained by eating food or drinking liquid with oxygen contained in it.

The amount of oxygen depends in part on the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. At times of lowoxygen, all the oceans will similarly have little oxygen in them. However, since the amount of oxygen that can dissolve into seawater is also affected by temperature, as shown in the previous chapter, warm oceans might have little oxygen in them everywhere but in a narrow surface zone, despite there being high-oxygen levels in the atmosphere. For instance, this condition exists in the modern Black Sea.

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Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere by Peter Ward

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