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The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life

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The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life

The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life

Writer(s)
Publisher
BBC Books (UK)
Firefly Books (USA)
Release Date
6 October 2005 (UK)
4 February 2006 (USA)
Format
Hardback Book, 216 Pages
Price
£16.99
ISBN
Complete-prehistoric-lif007

USA cover.

The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life is an encyclopedia featuring 111 of the prehistoric animals from the Walking With... series, as well as an additional one. It accompanies Walking with Monsters to Walking with Beasts.

Contents

Introduction

Part One > The Rise of Life

  • The Precambrian
    • Archaean eon (4600-2500 MYA)
    • Proterozoic eon (2500-543 MYA)
  • The Palaeozoic Era
    • Cambrian period (543-490 MYA)
    • Ordovician period (490-443 MYA)
    • Silurian period (443-417 MYA)
    • Devonian period (417-354 MYA)
    • Carboniferous period (354-290 MYA)
    • Permian period (290-248 MYA)

Part Two > The Age of Reptiles

  • The Mesozoic Era
    • Triassic period (248-206 MYA)
    • Jurassic period (206-144 MYA)
    • Cretaceous period (144-65 MYA)

Part Three > The Age of Beasts

  • The Cenozoic Era
    • Palaeocene epoch (65-55 MYA)
    • Eocene epoch (55-34 MYA)
    • Oligocene epoch (34-24 MYA)
    • Miocene epoch (24-5 MYA)
    • Pliocene epoch (5-1.8 MYA)
    • Pleistocene epoch (1.8 MYA-10,000 YA)

Timescale of the Earth

Tree of Life

Acknowledgements and Picture Credits

Index

Character pages

Cambrian (543 - 490 million years ago)

Ordovician (490 - 443 million years ago)

Silurian (443 - 417 million years ago)

Devonian (417 - 354 million years ago)

Carboniferous (354 - 290 million years ago)

Permian (290 - 248 million years ago)

Triassic (248 - 206 million years ago)

Jurassic (206 - 144 million years ago)

Cretaceous (144 - 65 million years ago)

Paleocene (65 - 55 million years ago)

Eocene (55 - 34 million years ago)

Oligocene (34 - 24 million years ago)

Miocene (24 - 5 million years ago)

Pliocene (5 - 1.8 million years ago)

Pleistocene (1.8 million years ago - 10,000 years ago)

Scientific errors

  • On page 209, on the family tree, Pteranodon is incorrectly placed in the crocodilian family branch.
  • Also in the family tree, Nothosaurus is placed on a separate branch from the one labeled Nothosaurs.
  • The family tree also claims that the carnivores descended from the creodonts. However, this is a grossly outdated theory. Rather, the carnivores more likely descended from the miacids.
  • The family tree shows that apes first appeared in the Oligocene Epoch, while the oldest known ape, Proconsul, dates back to the later Miocene Epoch.
  • Cameroceras is repeatedly misspelled as "Cameraceras". This is probably just an accident.
  • Coelophysis is repeatedly misclassified as a Coelurosaur, while it was actually a much more primitive dinosaur - a coelophysid.
  • On page 64, it is said that nothosaurs laid eggs. However, it is now generally agreed that they gave live birrth like their relatives, the plesiosaurs.
  • On page 65, Cymbospondylus is dubbed the largest ichthyosaur of all time. In fact, the creature was not even half the size of Shastsaurus,[1] which is the largest known marine reptile. Interestingly, the book version of Chased by Sea Monsters states that the largest ichthyosaur is either Shonisaurus or an undescribed genus.
  • On page 112, Leaellynasaura is said to be an ornithopod. However, it may have been a more primitive ornithischian dinosaur that does not fit in any of the known families. This is however, controversial.
  • On page 127, it is said that there is no evidence for Velociraptor having feathers. However, quill knobs have been found in association with the creature's skeleton, showing that its arms, at least, were feathered. However, this discovery was made after the book was published.
  • On page 137, it is said that Tyrannosaurus means "terrible reptile". However, this is what the term dinosaur means. Tyrannosaurus means "tyrant lizard".
  • On page 138, it is said that Torosaurus means "bull reptile". However, this is a common misconception. It actually means "perforated reptile".
  • On page 188, Smilodon is said to have died out 100,000 years ago. However, it is known to have survived until 11,000 years ago.[4][5]
  • On page 190, the closest living relative to Phorusrhacos is said to be the secretary bird. That would actually be the seriema.[6]
  • On page 196, Megaloceros is said to reach antlerspan up to 3 meters (10 ft.) while, in fact, specimens with 4 meters (13.1 ft.) are not uncommon.
  • On page 197, the Cave Lion is depicted with a much shorter tail than it had in real life.
  • On page 201, it is said that a population of pygmy mammoths survived on an island off the east coast of Russia until about 6,000 years ago. In fact, this time estimate is only accurate about the population on the Alaskan Saint Paul island than the real last sanctuary, the Wrangel Island, where the most recent remains are as young as 3,700 years old.
  • In the silhouette of Tarbosaurus the human is smaller than the one of Tyrannosaurus rex in real life they would be the same size. It was probably just a accident. 
  • The size comparison images of some animals are erroneous, such as Meganeura, Ornitholestes (both too big), Megatherium and Megaloceros (both too small). Also, the silhouette used for Tarbosaurus(actually a stock image that has been used in older books) depicts the animal standing in a like a modern kangaroo, instead of with its backbone parallel to the ground. Also, an old stock image of Eryops was used for the size comparison model for Proterogyrinus, although Eryops had a more rounded skull than Proterogyrinus. Lastly, the silhouette of Indricotherium is actually that of a calf, as you can tell by its proportions.
  • On the Velociraptor page, it is mentioned that Jurassic Park came out in 1992, when it actually came out a year later.

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