A Sea without Fish

A Sea without Fish

Life in the Ordovician Sea of the Cincinnati Region
Steven M Holland, Richard Arnold Davis and David L Meyer
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/04/2009
Format: Hardback 102 b&w photos, 14 color photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-35198-2
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The region around Cincinnati, Ohio, is known throughout the world for the abundant and beautiful fossils found in limestones and shales that were deposited as sediments on the sea floor during the Ordovician Period, about 450 million years ago—some 250 million years before the dinosaurs lived. In Ordovician time, the shallow sea that covered much of what is now the North American continent teemed with marine life. The Cincinnati area has yielded some of the world's most abundant and best-preserved fossils of invertebrate animals such as trilobites, bryozoans, brachiopods, molluscs, echinoderms, and graptolites. So famous are the Ordovician fossils and rocks of the Cincinnati region that geologists use the term "Cincinnatian" for strata of the same age all over North America. This book synthesizes more than 150 years of research on this fossil treasure-trove, describing and illustrating the fossils, the life habits of the animals represented, their communities, and living relatives, as well as the nature of the rock strata in which they are found and the environmental conditions of the ancient sea.

Author Bio

David L. Meyer is Professor of Geology at the University of Cincinnati. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Richard Arnold Davis is Professor of Biology and Geology at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Steven M. Holland is Professor of Geology at the University of Georgia, Athens. He lives in Athens, Georgia.


“The authors provide a comprehensive view of the grand panorama of Ordovician paleontology in the Cincinnati region. This volume belongs in the libraries of those interested in the Ordovician Period, the geology and paleontology of the Cincinnati area, and the history of science.”
 — David J. Bottjer, Professor of Earth and Biological Sciences, University of Southern California

“Paleontology is all about roots. A Sea Without Fish is an excellent example of how the history of a discipline and the history of life in the Cincinnati area come together to provide a fascinating, clear understanding about how our knowledge of fossils of the region has evolved. . . .This is an attractive, well-written, and beautifully illustrated book describing the geology and paleontology of one of the best-known and most fossiliferous regions of the world. The book belongs in the personal library of all those interested in paleontology and in college and university libraries.Spring 2010”
 — Northwest Ohio History

“A Sea without Fish is superbly written, richly illustrated, up-to-date, fairly thorough, and downright entertaining in places. . . . [It] is a fantastic book. Casual collectors will learn something; advanced collectors and geology students will learn something; even professionals will learn something, guaranteed.October, 2010”
 — Rocks & Minerals

“A Sea without Fish is a lavishly illustrated introduction to a marvelous underwater realm preserved in the 450-million-year-old fossils of the Cincinnatian.March 30, 2009”
 — SirReadaLot.org

“A thorough introduction to the abundant and beautiful rocks, fossils, and ancient sea-dwelling animals of the Cincinnati, Ohio region found in limestones and shales deposited on the sea floor about 450 million years ago.”

“In this excellent introduction to the Cincinnatian fossil beds, A Sea without Fish offers a fascinating glimpse of a long-extinct ecosystem. . . . interesting, well-written, and profusely illustrated . . . Highly recommended. August 2009”
 — Choice

“Anyone with an interest in the life found during the Ordovician period will want this book!March 2009”
 — Birdbooker Report 5 (blog)

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Table of Contents

List of Repositories of Fossils Illustrated in This Book
1. Introduction
2. Science in the Hinterland: The Cincinnati School of Paleontology
3. Naming and Classifying Organisms
4. Rocks, Fossils, and Time
5. Algae: The Base of the Food Chain
6. Poriferans and Cnidarians: Sponges, Corals, and Jellyfish
7. Bryozoans: "Twigs and Bones"
8. Brachiopods: The Other Bivalves
9. Molluscs: Hard but with a Soft Center
10. Annelids and Wormlike Fossils
11. Arthropods: Trilobites and Other legged Creatures
12. Echinoderms: A World Unto Themselves
13. Graptolites and Conodonts: Our Closest Relatives?
14. Trace Fossils: Tracks, Trails, and Burrows
15. Paleoeography and Paleoenvironment, by Steven M. Holland
16. Life in The Cincinnatian Sea
Appendix 1: Resources
Appendix 2: Individuals and Institutions Associated with the Cincinnati Region
References Cited