Weekly Best Seller List

These are the best-selling books for the past week.

 

jacket Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman by Jeremy Adelman
jacket
No Joke: Making Jewish Humor
by Ruth R. Wisse
jacket Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy by Mark P. Witton
jacket Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson
jacket The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward B. Burger & Michael Starbird
jacket College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be by Andrew Delbanco
jacket The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order by Benn Steil
jacket Presidential Leadership and the Creation of the American Era by Joseph S. Nye, Jr.
jacket QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter by Richard P. Feynman
jacket The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup Noam Wasserman

Exclusive Sampler from Pterosaurs by Mark P. Witton

We highly recommend downloading or opening the source PDF for the sampler, available here: http://blog.press.princeton.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/PterosaursSampler.pdf

The embedded PDF below does not properly display the beauty of the cover, but you can still get a sense of the awesome content of the book. Happy Reading!

Want to learn more about this book? Check it out here: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9967.html

Mark Witton explains exactly what is in his new book, Pterosaurs

Pterosaurs is meant to provide an interesting read for researchers and diehard enthusiasts, while still being approachable for those who are yet to really acquaint themselves with flying reptiles. If you’re familiar with the Unwin and Wellnhofer books, you know the tone I’ve aimed for. (Those interested in reading a sample of the text will want to download the first chapter from Princeton University Press, and check out an early draft [essentially unchanged in the published text] of Chapter 17.) Pterosaurs is, of course, more up to date than either of these books. Only seven years passing between this book and the last, but the differences are quite pronounced. Despite both Unwin’s and Wellnhofer’s books dating very well, whole groups of pterosaurs have been discovered since their publications (e.g. ‘boreopterids’, chaoyangopterids, wukongopterids, and many more in the case of Wellnhofer’s tome) and ideas of pterosaur lifestyles and habits have changed considerably. It’s of small significance in this field of three modern pterosaur books but, by default, Pterosaurs is the most up to date synthesis on these animals currently available.

Thalassodromeus sethi, a pterosaur with a most unfortunate name, showing a baby Brazilian spinosaur that the food chain works both ways. One of my favourite paintings from Witton (2013).

Pterosaurs is meant to combine the best aspects of preceding pterosaur books into one package, putting Unwin’s terrific introduction to the group together with Wellnhofer’s coverage of all pterosaur species and important fossils. This results in nine chapters covering the broad-strokes of pterosaur research: the history of their discovery, evolutionary origins, osteology, soft-tissues, locomotion (flight and terrestrial locomotion are discussed separately), palaeoecology and extinction. The other 16 chapters focus on specific pterosaur groups, each featuring a history of discovery, distribution maps, overviews of anatomy (including soft-tissues, where known) and discussions of palaeoecology. These latter chapters broadly follow the phylogenetic scheme of Lü et al. (2010) but, because that will not please everyone, alternative taxonomic proposals are mentioned and discussed where relevant (though hopefully not at expense of readability!). Attempts to present different sides to contentious issues are continual throughout the book. As readers will discover, there is still a lot to learn about these animals and it would be foolish to present only a single view as ‘right’ when pterosaur science continues to evolve and change. The drive to give everyone fair hearing resulted in a reference list of over 500 works and, hopefully, this will make the book a useful starting point for students new to pterosaurs and wanting to hit the primary literature. (Incidentally, Lü Junchang needs to take a bow as probably the most prolific modern pterosaur worker, his portion of the citation list dwarfing virtually everyone else’s despite only beginning in the mid-nineties. Way to go, JC!)

 

Read the complete post over at Mark’s blog: http://markwitton-com.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/pterosaurs-natural-history-evolution.html

 

 

bookjacket

Pterosaurs
Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy
Mark P. Witton