Ancient Creatures Review

“Salem Press has published a single-volume work entitled Ancient Creatures that concentrates
on “the 100 most studied prehistoric creatures in educational curricula today.” Edited by Spencer G.
Lucas, this book offers individual articles on each creature covered as well as critical essays that focus
on topics like biological classifications, major eras in paleontology, extinctions, fossilization, and
dinosaur intelligence.

Of course the bulk of the volume is devoted to articles that discuss the prehistoric creatures
themselves from the Allosaurus to Zephyrosaurus. These essays are grouped together by eras ranging
from the Permian to Middle Jurassic to the Late Cretaceous. Each essay starts with an introduction
followed by a discussion of the creature’s biological classification, anatomy, intelligence, reproduction
and population, diet, behavior, habitat, and current research. The essays are informative and answer key
questions about these ancient creatures in a factual and well organized fashion. One of the highlights of
the book is the illustrations and sidebars that not only give readers an idea of what the creatures may
have looked like, but also provides visuals that offer information on measurement and size,
classification, fossil location, time periods and key vocabulary. Each entry also has a solid bibliography
of books, journal articles, and Websites that students will find useful in expanding their research.

Ancient Creatures will appeal to the upper division high school students and undergraduates for
which it was designed. Logically organized and accessible with informed essays reflecting current
theories based on the fossil record, this volume discusses the prehistoric creatures that most students are
most interested in. While some libraries may want to place it in reference, it is equally appropriate for
circulating collections. Given the online access provided by Salem to libraries purchasing their print
titles, utilizing the eBook as the reference copy while placing the print version in circulation is a good
- Against the Grain, June 2015 Issue