Humans have been stumbling upon the petrified remains of ancient animals since prehistoric times, leading to tales of giant dogs, deadly dragons, tree deities, sea serpents, and all manner of strange and marvelous creatures.
In this richly illustrated book, David Bainbridge recounts how legends like these gradually gave rise to the modern science of paleontology, and how this pioneering discipline has reshaped our view of the natural world.
Bainbridge takes readers from ancient Greece to the 18th century, when paleontology began to coalesce into the scientific field we know today, and discusses how contemporary paleontologists use cutting-edge technologies to flesh out the discoveries of past and present.
He brings to life the stories and people behind some of the greatest fossil finds of all time, and explains how paleontology has long straddled the spheres of science and art.
Bainbridge also looks to the future of the discipline, discussing how the rapid recovery of DNA and other genetic material from the fossil record promises to revolutionize our understanding of the origins and evolution of ancient life.