How can paleontologists know what a living dinosaur was like more
than a hundred million years ago, particularly when only partial
skeletons remain? Focusing on one large carnivorous dinosaur,
Acrocanthosaurus (""high-spined lizard""), paleontologist Kenneth
Carpenter explains the process, pairing scholarly findings with
more than 75 color illustrations to reconstruct ""Acro"" before
readers' eyes. In Acrocanthosaurus Inside and Out, he offers the
most complete portrait possible of this fascinating dinosaur's
appearance, biology, and behavior. Acrocanthosaurus - similar in
size to its later cousin Tyrannosaurus rex, but studded with large
spines - roamed what is now the south-central United States 110 to
115 million years ago, during the Early Cretaceous. Carpenter
worked on the most complete of the Acrocanthosaurus skeletons
(nicknamed ""Fran"") that has been found. Here he describes the
techniques that tell us about Acro's biological makeup, movements,
and habits. Studies of joints reveal the range of possible motion,
while bumps, ridges, and scars on the bones show where muscles,
ligaments, and tendons attached. CT scans allow us to peer into the
braincase, while microscopes afford a cross-sectional view of
bones. These findings in turn offer an idea of how Acro stalked and
ate its prey. Scientific evidence beyond the fossils provides
avenues for further inquiry: What does the sedimentary rock
encasing Fran's bones tell us about Acro's environment? What does
our knowledge of Acro's distant relatives, such as crocodilians and
birds, imply about its heart and other soft tissues? Can our
understanding of other animals explain Acro's huge spines?
Carpenter distills all this information into a clear, accessible,
engaging account that will appeal to general readers and scholars
alike. As the first book-length work on Acrocanthosaurus, this
volume introduces a prehistoric giant that once stalked Texas and
Oklahoma and offers a rare, firsthand glimpse into the trials and
triumphs of paleontology.
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