by Riley Black
Author: Riley Black
Publication Date: St. Martin’s Press, April 26, 2022
Rating: 4 (1 being non-technical, 10 being scientific paper)
Rating description: The narrative is very easy to follow as it paces through geologic time. It flows like a prehistoric nature documentary while still informing and educating. Riley Black does a great job introducing what concepts mean without taking away from the flow of the story.
Fun Fact: Morturneria is a type of plesiosaur, a swimming reptile. Plesiosaurs spent most of their time underwater but still needed to swim to the surface to get air to fill their lungs. Morturneria is featured in one of the first few chapters of this book.
Summary: The Last Days of the Dinosaurs chronologically follows the destruction and aftermath of the K-Pg extinction, or the demise of the dinosaurs. In segments of geologic time, Black gives us an up close and personal look at how the creatures who call the Hell Creek formation home are impacted by the asteroid strike. The cataclysmic events of climactic turmoil and ecologic overturn scar the landscape for thousands of years. The Last Days of the Dinosaurs zooms outward from the day of impact to show the transition of Hell Creek from dinosaur territory to the stomping grounds of early mammals, and alludes to the beginning of the Age of Mammals.
Published works/projects: Riley Black was the writer of Laelaps, her sci-comm blog for several years. Her first book was Written in Stone, which speaks to the importance of paleontology and what we can learn about ourselves from it. This theme carries over to her other works, such as My Beloved Brontosaurus (my personal favorite) and one of her most recent publications, The Last Days of the Dinosaurs. Riley Black is a very active part of the scientific community, from writing article