CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 1 . . . . September 6, 2002
Monique Keiran, author of Albertosaurus: Death of a Predator, has worked and taught at Drumheller, Alberta' s world-renowned Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology for many years. In her new book, she recounts the surprising discovery, the excavation, and mounting of a full fossilized skeleton of a small meat eating dinosaur named Ornithomimus, a member of the class known as Ornithomimids, which means "bird mimic." This class of dinosaurs shared many characteristics of modern birds and is believed to be the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds. Kieran explains what unknown secrets may be revealed to the scientists studying life in the Cretaceous era, and she dramatically reconstructs the struggles the relatively small toothless dinosaur faced in a world populated with the huge predatory Tyrannosaurus Rex and Albertosaurus. Because their bones are fragile, a discovery of an intact skeleton is very rare, and Keiran describes the scientists' cautious excavation and preservation of the delicate fossilized creature. By analyzing the fossil remains, she explains how the paleontologists can determine what food the dinosaur consumed, its age, its intelligence, how fast the dinosaur could run to avoid being eaten and even speculate as to the reason it died. Students of all ages will be thrilled and intrigued by the stories Keiran tells in her "Bird-Mimic Chronicles." She vividly portrays Ornithomimus's hunting techniques, its mating rituals, and how it might have used its speed and intelligence to avoid its enemies. As well, her fantastic photographs of the Alberta Badlands, where the skeleton was discovered, contrast scientific speculations of life 74-76 million years go with the barren eroded landscapes seen today. Generally speaking, however, this book will be most useful for older keen students who want to delve more deeply into the world of paleontology, and for teachers who want a more sophisticated understanding of dinosaur life. Although Kieran writes clearly, in fact clearer than many other scientific writers, the text's language and treatment of modern theories of Ornithomimus evolution are detailed and complex.
Ian Stewart teaches in Winnipeg No.1 School Division.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.