The Last Days of the Dinosaurs: An Asteroid, Extinction, and the Beginning of Our World

St. Martin’s. Apr. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9781250271044. $28.99. NAT HIST
Black (Written in Stone) combines science information with beautiful prose, providing snapshots of various dinosaurs just before, during, and after the asteroid impact. That asteroid was a seven-mile-wide rock from space that was pulled into Earth’s solar system by the Sun. The impact of this rock ends the reign of dinosaurs and begins a new age of mammals. The book focuses on the fossils of Hell Creek, Montana, but Black’s history also travels to Asia and deep beneath the ocean. Readers encounter plant-eating Edmontosaurus and its nemesis Tyrannosaurus rex, as well as armor-plated Ankylosaurus. All of these creatures are destroyed by the cosmic catastrophe Black brings to life with vivid detail. She describes the immediate reverberations of the impact, as well as providing snapshots of life the day after, a month later, one year later, one thousand years later, and onwards. She also explains how certain animals, like burrowing mammals, avian dinosaurs, and insects survived. Like Steve Brusatte’s Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, Black offers a compelling look at the final days of dinosaurs and the aftereffects of the asteroid impact.
VERDICT A real-life, natural history page-turning drama that is necessary reading for almost anyone interested in the history of life.
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