Resurrecting the Shark by Susan Ewing

Resurrecting the Shark: A Scientific Obsession and the Mavericks Who Solved the Mystery of a 270-Million-Year-Old Fossil - Susan Ewing

TITLE:  Resurrecting the Shark: A Scientific Obsession and the Mavericks Who Solved the Mystery of a 270-Million-Year-Old Fossil

AUTHOR:  Susan Ewing

 

Helicoprion was an unusual looking Paleozoic shark-type creature, with a circular saw of teeth centered in its lower jaw—a feature unseen in the shark world before or since.  For about ten million years this creature swam the shallow seas around the supercontinent Pangaea as the apex predator of its time.  Susan Ewing describes the journey of discovery of this fascinating creature, from the first fossil finds to the revolutionary insights into the appearance and eating habits of  Helicoprion and how the tooth whorl functioned.

This book was interesting, however all the scientific findings and information relating to Helicoprion was overwhelmed with excessive biographical detail of everybody (and their acquaintances) that had even vague connections with with the Helicoprion fossils.  In addition, the narrative was somewhat disjointed with explanatory sections being inserted into the biography sections.  The first half of the book was slow, with the story of Helicoprion picking up in the second half.  This is where most of the science, fossil analysis and results are discussed, with the description of the scientists' mystery solving escapades positively enlivening.

The book includes many pretty colour illustrations, however these are all dumped at the end of the book with no reference to their relevant place in the text and no indication in the text that there is a useful diagram that fits in that spot.  I don't know if this is applicable to the e-book only or also to the hardcover edition.  References are supplied in the end notes in that horrible format so common these days.

In short:  too much biography, too little science.

 

NOTE:  The book states that there are four augmented reality models, viewable with the "Resurrecting the Shark" app, available on Google Play.  However, this app is apparently not compatible with any of the android tablets/phones that various family members possess, at least one of which is brand new.