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An unmatched reference work distinguished by its erudition and beauty, this volume is an illustrated who's who of prehistoric life, a Baedeker of more than 500 million years of evolution on Earth. With entries for more than 600 species, each arranged in its evolutionary sequence, this book presents a panorama of enormous diversity, from predatory dinosaurs to primitive amphibians, from giant armored fish to woolly mammoths, sabertooth tigers and dire wolves. Each entry features a specially commissioned full color painting prepared according to the best research of today in close collaboration with world renowned paleontologists. The records of rocks--fossil bones, teeth, skin, hair and even footprints and nests--have been combined with knowledge of the anatomy and behavior of present day descendants to arrive at informed judgments about posture, color and other aspects of appearance. Lively and informative "biographies" of the creatures accompany these remarkable illustrations: how they moved, what they ate, where they ranged and the habitats and ecological niches they occupied. Comparisons are made wherever possible with familiar living animals, highlighting both the contrasts and similarities. Also included are articles on subjects such as the time scale of evolution, fossil formation and interpretation and convergent evolution.