29 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
I don't know much about Mesozoic birds aside from what I know about feathered dinosaurs, so when I saw "A Field Guide to Mesozoic Birds and Other Winged Dinosaurs" on Amazon.com, I knew I had to buy it. The author Matthew Martyniuk is an illustrator and educator specializing in early birds. As you might expect from the title, the format of this books is a "field guide," very much like the type used by birdwatchers. There is about 40 pages of introductory material: Bird Ancestry, The Origin of Feathers, Restoring Mesozoic Birds, etc. Then we get to the field guide itself. For about 200 species, this book lists the common name, the scientific name, the location and time (e.g. 80 Myr. ago), size, characteristics, and something about the expected lifestyle. This material is fairly detailed and very up to date.
Of course, Mesozoic birds do not have a common name the way living birds do (e.g. "blue-footed booby"), so for the field guide, one must use the translation of the scientific name: "Sinornithosaurus millenni" becomes "Millennial Chinese Bird Lizard." For each bird there is a silhouette against the outline of a man for scale and a picture of the bird restored as a living animal, some with some striking colors.
A lot of animals we think of as classic dinosaurs, for example Deinonychus and Oviraptor, are restored as birds, fully covered in long, sometimes brightly colored feathers. This is within the realm of plausibility, certainly--who can say where feathered dinosaurs end and birds begin, but it is a departure of what is normally done in most paleoart.
Appendices include the list of excluded species (for which the remains are not sufficient to say much) and cladistic definitions of the bird groups.
Certainly, this book will help you with the names of Mesozoic birds, and learn who is in what group, who has teeth and who doesn't. On the other hand, if the idea is "science" rather than "art", the "field guide" format is not helpful. Feathers are preserved for only a few dozen dinosaur/bird specimens, and we can guess the feather coloration for at best a handful based on the shape of melanosomes in their preserved feathers. The restorations correctly show the shape of the beak, the length of the neck, and the length of the legs. However, the length of the feathers and the coloration for the large majority of the birds in this book is pure fantasy, and there is no obvious way to guess the level of reliability of the restoration from the picture alone. Moreover, having only the restoration works against us learning something interesting about the differences between bird groups. For example, if one wanted to see the difference between enantiornithines ("opposite birds") and early "true birds," one would have to look at the details of the skeleton, in this case the joint between the scapula and coracoid.
So I would look elsewhere for a treatise on early birds. As with "All Yesterdays", this book is expensive ($37) for a small paperback.