Encyclopedia Britannica Illustrated Science Library 2009 – Reptiles and dinosaurs

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Encyclopedia Britannica Illustrated
Science Library 2009 – Reptiles and dinosaurs
Edition 2009
pages 56

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Encyclopedia Britannica Illustrated
Science Library 2009 – Reptiles and dinosaurs

?Because of their frightening
appearances, snakes, dragons, and crocodiles are found in the legends
and myths of peoples throughout the world. In sculptures, paintings, and masks used for
various ceremonies, many of these animals are represented as good or bad gods
or are associated with magical powers. The snake is usually linked
to the primordial waters from which life was created. In Asia, it is
said that nagas (sacred serpents) are descended from Kasyapa, the
father of all life. Consequently, it is common during popular festivals for
both men and women to dance disguised with masks that represent these
animals in order to frighten away evil spirits and seek protection. Certain
Papuan peoples believe that crocodiles have special powers,
and in Europe, mythical winged dragons that breathe fire are
viewed as the guardians of treasures. Throughout
history, these animals have been both feared
and respected, objects of fascination and passion. The
purpose of this book is to reveal, in detail, what reptiles are
really like. Here you will find clear, precise information about the appearance and
behavior of reptiles, including dinosaurs a group of reptiles that dominated the globe
for millions of years. This fascinating book, which features specially prepared
illustrations and images, will reveal details about these creatures as if they were alive
on these pages. Did you know that reptiles were the
first vertebrates to become totally independent of aquatic
environments? This was made possible by the emergence of the amniotic egg. Its
shell and membranes enabled reptilian young to develop on land without the need
to return to water. Today there are about 8,200 classified species of reptiles in a
,wide variety of shapes and sizes. These species include turtles, lizards, snakes
crocodiles, and tuataras. Clues about the lives of many of these animals can be
found by examining their feet. Different species use their feet to scale walls, climb
slender stalks, or run across loose, hot sand dunes. Some reptiles live
underground, while others prefer the surface. Since their body temperature is
variable, reptiles tend to spend many hours in the sun exposed to direct solar
.rays and infrared radiation released from heated surfaces