Encyclopedia of Prehistory (Facts on File Library of World History)

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9780816045471: Encyclopedia of Prehistory (Facts on File Library of World History)

This reference provides a chronicle of the evolutionary history of the Earth, tracing the development of primitive man and wildlife, dinosaurs, and reptiles, as well as the origins of civilized society. More than 1500 illustrations - including clearly labelled diagrams, "field-guide" illustrations, and maps - help readers to grasp important concepts. Coverage includes: Our planet's origins which examines rocks, rivers, ice, and air, as well as the birth of the solar system; Prehistoric life which looks at fossils, plants, and trees, invertebrates, and reptiles, birds, and mammals; The age of dinosaurs which provides an A-Z section of the many types of dinosaurs and their physical characteristics, behaviour, extinction, and classification; and The first human which gives information on man's ancestors, primates, apes and man, man "upright", periods of evolution, international development, adaptation to climate and environmental changes, as well as life-like reconstructions of human skeletons.

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From Booklist:

Although its purpose is to "provide a concise, up-to-date key to the processes that forged our planet, and to the vast array of prehistoric animals, plants, and other organisms" that appeared and vanished, this volume also includes plenty of information about modern plants, animals, and geographic features. Typical Diagram Group charts and illustrations help tie old and new together.

Arrangement is in four sections ("The Evolving Earth," "Evolving Life," "Dinosaurs," and "The First Humans") that offer a chronological presentation. Within these sections, chapters are divided into one- or two-page spreads that address topics such as "How Lakes Form," "Jawless Fishes," "How Primates Began," and "Neanderthal Toolkits." The two-color drawings, charts, and diagrams are well labeled and very good for showing landforms, body parts, and relationships between modern and ancient organisms.

Current evolution and dinosaur theories are presented, often with "probably" and "may have" as qualifiers in the text. The chapter on "Dinosaur Life" states that "much of what we say and show is not proven fact, just plausibly inferred from careful scientific study and research." Specific sources aren't cited, but there are a few references provided at the end of the volume. Also listed are world museums and scientists, although neither listing is detailed or comprehensive. Younger students may the material is challenging reading. An example is this statement on chelonians: "They might be anapsids evolved from pareiasaurs, but molecular studies place them near crocodiles as reptiles that lost their diapsids' skull holes."

With some direction from librarians, users will find this work tremendously valuable, especially for the diagrams and charts. Drawings showing how land is shaped by ice, the difference between the monocot and dicot types of flowering plants, the evolution of the horse, and the like fill page after page. Keeping in mind the reading level, the fact that one-fifth of the pages deal with the ever-popular dinosaurs, and that there's nothing quite comparable, many school and public libraries will want to add this title. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Lambert, David, Diagram Group
Published by Facts on File (2002)
ISBN 10: 081604547X ISBN 13: 9780816045471
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Lambert, David; Group, Diagram
Published by Facts on File
ISBN 10: 081604547X ISBN 13: 9780816045471
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