First the authors explore two events that scientists believe effectively exterminated many of Earth's inhabitants -- including the dinosaurs. Researchers who favor a more gradual theory of extinction posit that a cataclysmic series of volcanic eruptions is responsible. Others see the culprit as an Earth-rending asteroid crash near what is now the Yucatan Peninsula.
Translating the terminology and tools of paleontological detective work as they go, Dingus and Rowe explain why most researchers now believe that birds and other dinosaurs sprung from the same ancient ancestor. The dinosaurs did not die out; they "were merely defined out of existence". The key to solving the mystery of their whereabouts is one of science's most powerful theories -- evolution. The descendants of dinosaurs are, in fact, flying, hopping, perching, and building nests in our very modern midst.
Full of vivid scenes of death and discovery, beautiful and terrible beasts, and explosions that block out the sun, The Mistaken Extinction is a 65-million-year-old evolutionary murder mystery with a fascination that has yet to die out.