Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, Richard L. Cifelli, and Zhe-Xi Luo, Mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs Origins, Evolution, and Structure Columbia University Press, New York, 2004, 630 pp., $195 (hard cover). ISBN 0-231-11918-6.
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Language, or actually differences in languages, can have a powerful influence upon the way we perceive a concept. Science is no exception. Take for example the phrase in English, “the first two-thirds.” For any native English speaker this makes perfect sense and needs no further explanation. Not so, if English is a “second” language. If there is a “first two-thirds,” what about the “second two-thirds?” Such was posited to me by one of the authors of “Mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs,” Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska. For those who may not know, “Mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs” is not Dr. Kielan-Jaworowska's first foray into a book-length treatment of the, yes, dare I say, esoteric world of Mesozoic mammals. Given that her first effort was over 25 years ago (1979), for those of us who find these beasts irresistible, such a new treatment is long overdue.
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