Top 2015 Academic Palaeontology Books

These are my top 5 academic palaeontology and historical geology books for 2015. Featured this year: ammonites, climate evolution, and birds. Personal reviews available on request!

See the rest of this year’s book recommendations here!

This book’s four major sections offer a fresh cross-disciplinary overview of biodiversity and the Earth’s history. Among many other concepts, they reveal the massive diversity of eukaryotes, explain the geological processes behind fossilisation, and provide an eye-opening account of the relatively short period of human evolution in the context of Earth’s 4.6 billion-year history.


Themes treated are biostratigraphy, paleoecology, paleoenvironment, paleobiogeography, evolution, phylogeny, and ontogeny. Advances such as an explosion of new information about ammonites, new technologies such as isotopic analysis, tomography and virtual paleontology in general, as well as continuous discovery of new fossil finds have given us the opportunity to present a comprehensive and timely “state of the art” compilation. Moreover, it also points the way for future studies to further enhance our understanding of this endlessly fascinating group of organisms.


The book takes a unique approach to the subject providing a description of the greenhouse and icehouse worlds of the past 450 million years since land plants emerged, ignoring major earlier glaciations like that of Snowball Earth, which occurred around 600 million years ago in a world free of land plants. It describes the evolution of thinking in palaeoclimatology and introduces the main players in the field and how their ideas were received and, in many cases, subsequently modified. It records the arguments and discussions about the merits of different ideas along the way. It also includes several notes made from the author s own personal involvement in palaeoclimatological and palaeoceanographic studies, and from his experience of working alongside several of the major players in these fields in recent years.


Themes treated are biostratigraphy, paleoecology, paleoenvironment, paleobiogeography, evolution, phylogeny, and ontogeny. Advances such as an explosion of new information about ammonites, new technologies such as isotopic analysis, tomography and virtual paleontology in general, as well as continuous discovery of new fossil finds have given us the opportunity to present a comprehensive and timely “state of the art” compilation. Moreover, it also points the way for future studies to further enhance our understanding of this endlessly fascinating group of organisms.


Chatterjee takes us to where long-hidden bird fossils dwell. His compelling, occasionally controversial, revelations―accompanied by spectacular illustrations―are a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in the evolution of “the feathered dinosaurs,” from vertebrate paleontologists and ornithologists to naturalists and birders.


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