Books: Bugs from the Past

There are many excellent books on insects and biology for people of all ages. In a series of up-coming posts, I’d like to suggest a few books that interested readers and teachers should check out at their local library or bookstore.

My first suggestion is Paleo Bugs: Survival of the Creepiest by Timothy J. Bradley.  Published in 2008, this books is aimed at grades 3-7, but fascinating for all readers. Every page is filled with fascinating illustrations and information. The text is organized in boxes, so younger readers can get the most important or interesting information fast, while more details are available for those who want to explore them.

Paleo Bugs highlights several cool arthropods from the fossil record (sadly not any true bugs), starting with Cambrian creatures that are probably arthropods, but are so weird and wonderful it’s hard to know what they are. Anomalocaris was a predator that deserves to be as well known as T. rex. And you have to love a creature like Opabinia with a trunk like an elephant and five eyes! Creatures like Sanctacaris are just as other-worldly, but are confidently members of surviving arthropods groups. The book then describes later arthropods, such as trilobites, sea scorpions, and the 7-foot-long millipede Arthropleura. Kids who might not get quite the excitement out of “creepy” things, can still appreciate the early butterflies, Archaeolepis and Prodryas.

Throughout Paleo Bugs Bradley also provides information on the evolution of insects and arthropod anatomy and ecology as well as details of global changes in ecosystems. It makes for an exciting reconstruction of ancient worlds.

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