Mass Extinction

Extinction and Evolution

by Niles Eldredge

Buffalo (NY): Firefly, 2014. 256 pages.

Reviewer Corwin Sullivan describes Extinction and Evolution as “a book in the Simpsonian tradition of evolutionary paleontology that is also indisputably ‘full of pictures of fossils’ ... .

Extinction and Radiation: How the Fall of Dinosaurs Led to the Rise of Mammals

by J. David Archibald
Baltimore (MD): The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011. 120 pages.

In Extinction and Radiation, according to reviewer P. David Polly, it is argued that “the patterns of extinction and survival through the Late Cretaceous and early Paleogene differed among groups of organisms, some of which died off prior to the collision and some of which were unaffected. These patterns thus cannot be entirely explained by a sudden impact.

Night Comes to the Cretaceous

by James Lawrence Powell
New York: W.H. Freeman & Company, 1998. 268 pages.

Engagingly telling the story of how the impact hypothesis revolutionized how scientists think about the end-Cretaceous extinction, Night Comes to the Cretaceous was praised by David Fastovsky as "clearly the best" of "the welter of whodunits explaining the extinctions (including the dinosaurs) at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) bounday 65 million years ago ...

The End of the Dinosaurs

by Charles Frankel
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. 236 pages.

From the publisher: "The End of the Dinosaurs gives a detailed account of the great massive extinction that rocked the Earth 65 million years ago, and focuses on the discovery of the culprit: the Chicxulub impact crater in Mexico. It recounts the birth of the cosmic hypothesis, the controversy that preceded its acceptance, the search for the crater, it discovery and ongoing exploration, and the effect of the giant impact on biosphere. Other mass extinctions in the fossil record are reviewed, as is the threat of asteroids and comets to our planet today.

T. rex and the Crater of Doom

by Walter Alvarez
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997. 236 pages.

A popular exposition of the hypotheses that the extinction of the dinosaurs was due to a meteor or comet impact, from one of the scientists who devised it — a not-to-be-missed classic. The reviewer for Scientific American praised it as "Engaging and witty.

Gorgon: Paleontology, Obsession, and the Greatest Catastrophe in Earth's History

by Peter D. Ward
New York: Penguin, 2005. 288 pages.

In Gorgon — its title a nod toward the gorgonopsids, cousins of the cynodonts from which mammals are descended, and casualties of the end-Permian extinction — Peter D. Ward combines paleontology with travelogue and memoir, examining his own "obsessive" interest in exploring the history of life as he recounts his fieldwork in the back country of South Africa. Pat Shipman described Gorgon as "a compelling and thoroughly readable account of science and scientists as they travel through space, time, ideas, and cultures ...

When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time

by Michael Benton
New York: Thames & Hudson, 2005. 336 pages.

About 250 million years ago, life underwent its greatest extinction event, with up to 96% of marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species becoming extinct. In When Life Nearly Died, Michael Benton presents the latest scientific research on the end-Permian extinction with accuracy and verve. Matt Ridley writes, "Unlike many palaeontologists, who are content to describe individual fossils, Benton also likes to think about big questions. He knows how to communicate with a general audience. ...

Extinctions in the History of Life

edited by Paul D. Taylor
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. 204 pages.

Extinctions in the History of Life is a collection of concise and clear essays intended to introduce students of biology and geology to the central issues of extinction. Contributors include Paul D. Taylor on extinction and the fossil record, J. William Schopf on extinctions in life's earliest history, Scott L. Wing on mass extinctions in plant evolution, David J. Bottjer on the beginning of the Mesozoic, Paul B. Wignall on causes of mass extinctions, and David Jablonski on the evolutionary role of mass extinctions.

Mass Extinctions and Their Aftermath

by Anthony Hallam and Paul B. Wignall
New York: Oxford University Press USA, 1997. 328 pages.

Mass Extinctions and Their Aftermath, published in 1997, was intended as the first systematic review of all the mass extinctions that have occurred in the history of life.