Over the past six years Michael Novacek, the Provost of Science at the American Museum of Natural History, has led a team of international scientists to the Gobi Desert on the greatest dinosaur expedition of the late 20th century.
Closed to the West since the 1920's, the remote sands of Mongolia's Gobi Desert constitute the richest fossil site in the world. In Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs, Novacek invites the reader along with his team as he recounts the day-to-day drama of field exploration and discusses the remarkable discoveries that he and his colleagues unearthed, fossil finds that have helped to reshape our understanding of the dinosaur and early mammal era.
Interweaving the adventure of field research with chapters that bring the reader up to date on contemporary dinosaur theory and science, Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs brings the excitement of scientific discovery to life.
In 1990, a team of paleontologists from the American Museum of Natural History and the Mongolian State Museum began to explore the Gobi Desert for fossils; nearly 70 years had elapsed since the last American expedition, under Roy Chapman Andrews. Team leader Novacek, provost of science and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the American museum recounts six years of fieldwork in a paleontological paradise. The banner year was 1993, when the team found a trove of dinosaurs, eggs, nests and early mammals, some new to science. It is an exciting story of adventure and discovery. The Gobi Desert is one of the earth's most hostile environments, with sandstorms and extreme heat, causing dehydration and exhaustion. Novacek interweaves chapters on the expedition with discussions of the importance of the fossil record; he takes us into the Cretaceous (140 million to 65 million years ago) in brief vignettes. In addition to his account of the expedition, Novacek has given us a brilliant introduction to paleontology. (Sept.)