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The Lion Above the Door
The Lion Above the Door

BOOK OF THE MONTH - From Onjali Q. Rauf, the award-winning author of The Boy at the Back of the Class, comes an incredible story about missing histories and the concept of a universal family, told with humour and heart.

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Guest Blog from Ben Garrod

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The Extinct series by Professor Ben Garrod is a must-read for curious minds, especially those with an interest in science or natural history.

These illustrated, non-fiction books for readers 9+ explore the science of extinction. From the super-strange to the super-ferocious, we meet some of the weird and wonderful creatures we have lost in mass extinctions. 

Wiped out by asteroids, mega-volcanoes, clashing continents or climate change, these incredible animals used to swim, stalk, slither or walk our planet, long before humans existed. 

The Extinct series is brought to life by spectacular colour illustrations by palaeo-artist Gabriel Ugueto.

Toppsta
2021-09-22
Guest Blog from Ben Garrod
Illustrations from Dunkleosteus and Hallucigenia

Our readers give the books five stars:

"We learnt a lot of new facts and have begged our teachers to buy the next books in the Extinct series."
AllYear6, aged 10-11

"This book is amazing and the illustrations are spectacular! If you are interested in science, you will love this book, and I want to read the rest of the books in this series!"
Bweemz, aged 11

"one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read."
Azathoth789, aged 13

"This book is amazing, it tells you all about extinction and goes into details not covered in my school lessons so far. The illustrations are also detailed but also easy to understand... I love it!"
Ad575, aged 11

"The explanations and glossary are so detailed as are the illustrations. They’re so good, I’m looking at buying the rest of the series for my school library. The children are fascinated by this."
MrsP512, Teacher

"I had not expected this book to be so interesting - that my son didn’t put it down at all once he started reading it. That is an excellent thing to be said about a non-fiction book."
Parent of ChildGenius, aged 12

To find out more, check out Ben's guest blog about his fascinating study of extinction below, along with some of Gabriel Ugueto's wonderful illustrations.

Plus, you can download some awesome colouring sheets of these other-worldly creatures here.

Toppsta
2021-09-22
Guest Blog from Ben Garrod

guest blog by prof. ben garrod

For as long as there has been life on Earth, there has been extinction. Given enough time, every species will, one day, go extinct. 

Right now, approximately one million species are threatened with extinction, because of our actions and their impacts upon the planet. But humans and climate change can't be responsible for every single loss, surely? 

The word ‘extinction’ often makes us think first of dinosaurs, because they’re probably the group we most associate as having gone through the extinction process. Second, we often think that if something has gone extinct it was not quite up to the job, and possibly even deserved to disappear. 

Both thoughts are wrong. Dinosaurs are certainly not the only group to have faced extinction, and going extinct is a completely natural part of the cycle of a species. It has nothing to do with how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ it is. If you’re interested, dinosaurs dominated the planet for over 160 million years before the infamous asteroid struck. 

Toppsta
2021-09-22
Guest Blog from Ben Garrod
Tyrannosaurus rex and a herd of Edmontosaurus

Because extinction has been present since the first life-forms existed, then an almost incomprehensible number have been lost. While it may be difficult to get your head around how many, researchers estimate that upto 99 per cent, or five billion of the species that have ever lived, have gone extinct. 

As a rule, a species has about 10 million years of evolving - eating, chasing, playing, building nests and even going to the moon maybe, before it goes extinct. Some last longer; some for less time. Every species evolves to be perfectly suited to a particular ecosystem or habitat, and acts in a way that will help it survive and have young. 


Toppsta
2021-09-22
Guest Blog from Ben Garrod
Marine habitats, then and now.

Extinction happens when a species can no longer survive in its ecological niche. Lots of different things can cause extinction, some more natural than others. While some extinctions kill off a single species, others cause the loss of thousands or even millions of species at once, making extinction among the most complex, interesting and important areas of study in science. 

Toppsta
2021-09-22
Guest Blog from Ben Garrod
Some of the species which have faced mass extinction

Extinction creates opportunities for some species and groups of species, but it is undeniably destructive and has the power to change the face of the planet. The story of life on Earth has been punctuated by devastating mass extinctions, where at least 75 per cent – and as much as 95 per cent – of life has been wiped out. Scientists disagree on how many mass extinctions Earth has been through, with the number ranging from five to around twenty. 

Some, such as the huge asteroid which marked the end of the reign of the dinosaurs nearly 66 million years ago, are well-studied and fairly well understood. We know, for example that a 10km wide asteroid crashed into the Earth at 72,000km per hour, in the sea just north of where Mexico is now, releasing more than a billion times the energy of an atomic bomb. The impacts of this would have been instant and catastrophic, liquifying rock for kilometres around and creating a terrifying wave of heat which was so hot, scientists have estimated you would have been able to feel it from 1500km away. 

Thousands of wildfires rapidly burned habitats for hundreds of kilometres in every direction, before huge tsunamis rolled out across the world’s oceans. After the immediate consequences, hot dust and pulverised rock from the impact site choked our atmosphere and created a global ‘pizza oven’ effect, before blocking sunlight from reaching the planet. Food chains in every possible habitat were wrecked. 

This is just one mass extinction, but there have been others. Some killed more species, some fewer. Some were caused by impossibly large parts of our planet transforming into deadly lava fields, others were bizarrely caused by the evolution of plants. Some happened quickly, others over hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of years. But, life always found a way through.


Toppsta
2021-09-22
Guest Blog from Ben Garrod

We’ve lost a range of incredible examples of evolution- from oceanwide pioneers such as the trilobites, which survived for over 250 million years, and the world’s most famous dinosaur, Tyrannosaurus rex, to megalodon, the largest and most powerful shark ever, and the truly iconic thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, which died out just 85 years ago this September. My Extinct series is the story of these superstars, and all the other species lost. It is also a call to arms to everyone, and especially young readers, to help equip them with the understanding and knowledge to tackle the global extinction crisis we are heading into.


Toppsta
2021-09-22
Guest Blog from Ben Garrod
Pelagic trilobites with giant cephalopods

While extinction is a natural process that generates biodiversity, this will be the first mass extinction event in the last 3.5 billion years that has been caused by one species. Us. Our best chance is to understand the science of extinction and fight as hard as we can to avoid creating our very own Earth-changing extinction event. 

Prof Ben Garrod

Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Science Engagement, University of East Anglia

8 September 2021


Toppsta
2021-09-22
Guest Blog from Ben Garrod

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Book pages Placeholder Book

Tyrannosaurus Rex

TV scientist Ben Garrod presents the biggest extinction events ever, told from the point of view of evolution's superstars, the most incredible animals ever to swim, stalk, slither or walk our planet. Whether you're 9 or 90, his unique exploration of the most destructive, yet most creative, force in nature makes top level science fun.

Here are the superstars of the story of life, from the super-weird to the super-ferocious. Usually a species has 10 million years or so of evolving, eating, chasing, playing, maybe doing homework, or even going to the moon before it goes extinct.

Tyrannosaurus Rex , the most famous and the most misunderstood superstar in the story life! This mightiest of dinosaurs - massive, green and scaly - or, as we now know, massive and partially feathered, with a keen sense of hearing, smell and great vision dominated the Cretaceous landscape. Everyone knows about the giant asteroid which struck Earth 66 million years ago ending the Age of the Dinsoaurs. Or did it?

Collect all eight books about animals we have lost in mass extinctions caused by asteroids or mega-volcanoes, clashing continents and climate change.

Also includes:
* Past brought to full-colour life by palaeoartist Gabriel Ugueto
* Ask an Expert contributions from leading scientists
* Glossary and pronunciation guide

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21st September 2021

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Featured Book
The Lion Above the Door
The Lion Above the Door

BOOK OF THE MONTH - From Onjali Q. Rauf, the award-winning author of The Boy at the Back of the Class, comes an incredible story about missing histories and the concept of a universal family, told with humour and heart.

View book
Featured Books