Hunting for Dinosaurs
This book, written by the woman leader of three successive paleontological expeditions organized by the Warsaw Academy of Sciences to probe sections of the Gobi Desert for fossil remains of dinosaurs, describes her adventures and those of her team members – both Polish and Mongolian – in an entertaining and informative manner.
The Gobi Desert, an inhospitable and lonely environment for human visitors, harbors a wealth of evidence concerning the changes in the fauna at the end of the Cretaceous and the beginning of the Tertiary eras, supporting the author's hypothesis that the supremacy of the dinosaurs, which reigned throughout the 155 million years of the Mesozoic era, was broken by changes in physical features of climate and terrain, which ultimately brought about the extinction of these majestic animals.
Mme. Kielan-Jaworowska describes in detail the painstaking preparations for the expedition, her impressions on first arriving in the arid regions to be investigated, and her success in locating and retrieving a large number of fossil remains which were to contribute substantially to the art and science of paleontology. Her team had to work against time and against great odds. Their equipment was, by modern standards, remarkably primitive; for example, there was no radio communication between various groups going in different directions. All messages had to be delivered by hand or left in prearranged locations. The water shortage at times became critical, for water was needed not only for personal use but also for the engines and above all for preserving the material found. Yet the entire group kept up its high spirits, and the author succeeds in making the environment seem almost attractive.
A large number of photographs serve to dramatize the grandeur of the landscape, the dimensions of the huge skeletons unearthed, and the trials and triumphs of daily life in the expedition camps. The language, rendered in a lively fashion from the Polish original, retains its excitement and youthful vigor.