Fossil Atlas, Fishes
By Karl Albert Frickhinger
Pub. Date: 1996
Publisher: M e r g u s
Format: Paperback, 1088pp
Size: 81 MB
Frickhinger is the founder of a specialized pharmaceutical company in Germany and a lifelong student of paleontology. His latest book, Fossil Atlas: Fishes, translated from the German, is a massive work of scholarship. According to the author, fish fossils have not been well surveyed in paleontological reference works. Attempting to remedy this neglect, he visited 60 leading paleontology museums in Europe, Australia, South Africa, Russia, and the U.S. as well as 18 private collections. Taking hundreds of photographs and consulting with numerous experts, he compiled this atlas, which will be of interest to scientists, students, museum curators, and amateur fossil collectors.
The introductory pages include interesting expositions on collecting, photography, evolution, external features of fishes, and systematics. European and English fossil-classification systems differ, so with the help of several experts Frickhinger developed his own system for this book to detail the various classes, orders, and families. The text of the book is arranged in the order of this classification system.
The top of the page of a typical one-page entry notes class, order, and family. A color photograph illustrates each entry, and a caption describes the size of the fish, where the fossil was discovered, and what museum now owns it. Genus information is given with a citation to a printed authority and a list of synonymous names. Geological range is provided (e.g., Middle Devonian, Middle Miocene), geographic distribution is noted, and a features section describes the anatomy of the fossil fish. A remarks section notes miscellaneous facts (e.g., freshwater, predator). Lastly, recent relatives are noted, and a line drawing shows the reconstructed fish. About 900 color photographs illustrate the text. Most cover approximately one-half page, but occasionally a full-page photograph accompanies an entry. Also, throughout the text are small color photographs of living fish. A bibliography lists the monographs and journals cited in entries. Concluding the volume are five indexes: by name, order, formations, localities, and recent relatives.
There are several large reference works on fossils but nothing comparable to this specialized work. The number of entries, organization, and photograph quality make this a significant paleontologic reference that academic and public libraries should consider adding to their collections.