Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Life in the Triassic
Nicholas Fraser and Douglas Henderson
Distribution: World
Publication date: 2/3/2009
ISBN: 978-0-253-01345-3
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2007 University Press Books selected for public and secondary school libraries.
Before the Age of Dinosaurs there was an age in Earth’s history known as the Triassic. It was a world of truly fantastic creatures, a genetic stew of the ancient and the modern. During this time the Earth took its first steps toward the creation of modern terrestrial ecosystems. This incredibly exciting period is brought vividly to life in the words of paleontologist Nicholas Fraser and the consummate artistry of Douglas Henderson. Together they have created a book in which the riches of Triassic life are presented with clarity, scientific accuracy, and imaginative recreation. Every lover of the life of the past will treasure Dawn of the Dinosaurs.

Author Bio

Nicholas Fraser is Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology and Director of Research and Collections at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. He lives in Martinsville, Virginia.

Douglas Henderson’s work has appeared in several national and international touring exhibits as well as numerous magazines and books, including the children’s books Living with Dinosaurs, Dinosaur Tree, Dinosaur Ghosts, and, more recently, Asteroid Impact. He lives in Whitehall, Montana.


"Forget Jurassic Park—the really interesting dinosaur story happened during the 'Triassic Park' era, a period 251–199 million years ago that followed life's biggest extinction event. If you want to know the whys and wherefores, this is the book for you. . ." —BBC Wildlife

"Fraser (curator, vertebrate paleontology, Virginia Museum of Natural History) has prepared a serious work on Triassic paleontology . . . A refreshing approach in a market saturated with 'just so' stories and sanitized tales of evolution." —Choice

"The text, by Nicholas Fraser . . . pulls off the balancing act between providing reliable information and a comprehensible story that is easily understood by non-academics. . . . [an} impressive book." —Lab Times

". . . [T]here is a widespread perception that most Triassic terrestrial environments were parched deserts that were almost devoid of life. . . . Nick Fraser's book is a welcome antidote to this situation, providing the most comprehensive account of life, and death, in the Triassic that is currently available to a popular audience." —Geological Magazine , Volume 146/1 - 2009

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Table of Contents

I. The End of an Era: The Early Triassic
1. Setting the Stage: The Paleogeography and Climate of the Triassic World
2. A Brief Phylogeny of Triassic Fishes and Tetrapods
3. Starting Out in the Triassic
II. A Comfortable Middle Age: The Middle Triassic
4. A Hint of the Sea
5. No Midlife Crisis
III. A Time of Change: The Early Late Triassic
6. Marginal Creatures in a Marginal World
7. The Enigmas of Texas and the U.S. Southwest
8. Life in the Sand Dunes? The Elgin Reptiles
9. Life in the Deep South: The Late Triassic of Gondwana
IV. The Birth of Modern Terrestrial Ecosystems
10. Pitfalls in Paleontology: The British Fissure Deposits
11. Time to Go Our Separate Ways: The Newark Supergroup
12. A Catastrophic Finale? The Mode and Tempo of Faunal Change
Appendix 1. Global Biostratigraphy and Age Correlation of Triassic Fossil Assemblages
Appendix 2. Bare Bones Sedimentology
Appendix 3. The Anatomy of a Tetrapod
Appendix 4. Names, Grades, and Clades