Rise & Reign of the Mammals

The fallout of the extinction event that ended the era of the dinosaurs and ushered in a wholly different world is one that has garnered countless examinations, some more fantastical than factual. The following list includes books that take a wholly scientific (and eminently readable) approach to the time in and after the fall of the dinosaurs. 

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Beasts Before Us: The Untold Story of Mammal Origins and Evolution

Charting the mammal lineage, Synapsida, beginning when mammals split from reptiles over 300 million years ago. “Beasts Before Us” places mammal evolution as not tiny creatures that showed up after the dinosaurs had disappeared, but rather existing both long before, during, and after, always changing along the way in order to ultimately survive.  You can also check out this title as an eBook on OverDrive/Libby.

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

Focusing on one geographic area (the appropriately named Hell Creek, which is in present-day Montana), Black describes the immediate days surrounding the disaster that wiped out most of life at the time. Readers will follow in the steps of specific dinosaurs, including, of course, a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The book shifts well beyond the asteroid impact, looking at how life in Hell Creek evolves over millions of years. Some of these mammals we would recognize today, but many are lost to time just as the dinosaurs are. You can also check out this title as an eBook on OverDrive/Libby or as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby.

Otherlands: A Journey Through Earth’s Extinct Worlds

Halliday focuses on sixteen individual fossil sites to paint out a vibrant portrait of how Earth used to be. Included within “Otherlands” is the science that shows how our current geology, including the Great Barrier Reef, can certainly change dramatically, just as it has in the past. You can also check out this title as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby.

The Rise and Reign of the Mammals: A New History, From the Shadow of the Dinosaurs to Us

Brusatte begins “The Rise and Reign of the Mammals” with how he finished his first book, “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs”: the time of the dinosaurs has ended and a new type of life begins to proliferate. As Brusatte charts the path of mammals as they reshape the world that had been ruled by the much larger dinosaurs of the past. You can also check out this title as an eBook on OverDrive/Libby or as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby.