10 Great Books on (D)inosaurs

Dinosaur-IncognitoDinosaurs Incognito: Speaking of the Dead Unconventionally by John A Anton

When dinosaurs were first unearthed in the 19th century, they were reconstructed as lethargic beasts, a stigma associated with ectothermy. This perception prevailed for 150 years. Then John Ostrom rocked the foundations of dinosaur paleontology in the late 1960s. He uncovered evidence that dinosaurs lived dynamic lives, a trait associated with “endothermy” (i.e., warm-bloodedness). Significant scientific advancements were made by ensuing generations of paleontologists following in Ostrom’s footsteps. But now there is reason to suspect that dinosaurs were incredible frauds. Dinosaurs Incognito proposes that dinosaurs were ectotherms and exposes how these clever beasts managed to pull off their endothermic charade by presenting them in intriguing ways that both challenges conventional doctrine and encourages alternate thought. The reader is also introduced to a special axiom regarding morphology, provocative new ideas concerning the nitty-gritty of dinosaur life, and some entertaining anecdotes for good measure which are sure to make Dinosaurs Incognito a memorable experience for the general reader and scientist alike.

my-beloved-brontosaurusMy Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs by Brian Switek

Dinosaurs, with their awe-inspiring size, terrifying claws and teeth, and otherworldly abilities, occupy a sacred place in our childhoods. They loom over museum halls, thunder through movies, and are a fundamental part of our collective imagination. In My Beloved Brontosaurus, the dinosaur fanatic Brian Switek enriches the childlike sense of wonder these amazing creatures instill in us. Investigating the latest discoveries in paleontology, he breathes new life into old bones. Switek reunites us with these mysterious creatures as he visits desolate excavation sites and hallowed museum vaults, exploring everything from the sex life of Apatosaurus and T. rex’s feather-laden body to just why dinosaurs vanished. (And of course, on his journey, he celebrates the book’s titular hero, “Brontosaurus”—who suffered a second extinction when we learned he never existed at all—as a symbol of scientific progress.) With infectious enthusiasm, Switek questions what we’ve long held to be true about these beasts, weaving in stories from his obsession with dinosaurs, which started when he was just knee-high to a Stegosaurus. Endearing, surprising, and essential to our understanding of our own evolution and our place on Earth, My Beloved Brontosaurus is a book that dinosaur fans and anyone interested in scientific progress will cherish for years to come.

The Complete Dinosaur by Thomas R. Holtz, James O. Farlow, Michael K Brett-Surman, Thomas R Holtz, James O Farlow, Michael K. Brett-Surman and Bob Walters

What do we know about dinosaurs, and how do we know it? How did dinosaurs grow, move, eat, and reproduce? Were they warm-blooded or cold-blooded? How intelligent were they? How are the various groups of dinosaurs related to each other, and to other kinds of living and extinct vertebrates? What can the study of dinosaurs tell us about the process of evolution? And why did typical dinosaurs become extinct? All of these questions, and more, are addressed in the new, expanded, second edition of The Complete Dinosaur. Written by many of the world’s leading experts on the “fearfully great” reptiles, the book’s 45 chapters cover what we have learned about dinosaurs, from the earliest discoveries of dinosaurs to the most recent controversies. Where scientific contention exists, the editors have let the experts agree to disagree. Copiously illustrated and accessible to all readers from the enthusiastic amateur to the most learned professional paleontologist, The Complete Dinosaur is a feast for serious dinosaur lovers everywhere.

dinosaur-paleobiologyDinosaur Paleobiology by Stephen L. Brusatte

The study of dinosaurs has been experiencing a remarkable renaissance over the past few decades. Scientific understanding of dinosaur anatomy, biology, and evolution has advanced to such a degree that paleontologists often know more about 100-million-year-old dinosaurs than many species of living organisms. This book provides a contemporary review of dinosaur science intended for students, researchers, and dinosaur enthusiasts. It reviews the latest knowledge on dinosaur anatomy and phylogeny, how dinosaurs functioned as living animals, and the grand narrative of dinosaur evolution across the Mesozoic. A particular focus is on the fossil evidence and explicit methods that allow paleontologists to study dinosaurs in rigorous detail. Scientific knowledge of dinosaur biology and evolution is shifting fast, and this book aims to summarize current understanding of dinosaur science in a technical, but accessible, style, supplemented with vivid photographs and illustrations.

dinosaur-artDinosaur Art: The World’s Greatest Paleoart edited by Steve White

A paleoartist is an illustrator who specialises in the science and art of reconstructing ancient animals and their world.  In Dinosaur Art, ten of the top contemporary paleoartists reveal a selection of their work and exclusively discuss their working methods and distinct styles. Filled with breathtaking artwork – some never before seen – and cutting edge paleontology, this is a treasure trove for dinosaur enthusiasts, art lovers and budding illustrators.

 

 

how-do-dinosaurs-say-goodnightHow Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

In a few simple lines of verse on each spread, fathers and mothers are ready to put their youngsters to bed. But in this book, the youngsters are a wide variety of dinosaurs. And how do dinosaurs say good night? Filled with wonderful detail and humor, children and their parents will love the expressions and antics of the eleven different dinosaur children depicted here, and each species is spelled out somewhere in the young dinosaur’s bedroom. In the end, young dinosaurs behave a lot like people do: They give a big kiss, turn out the light, tuck in their tails, and whisper “good night.”

Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History by David E. Fastovsky and David B. Weishampel

From the authors of The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs comes an introduction to the study of dinosaurs for non-specialists designed to excite readers about science by using dinosaurs to illustrate and discuss geology, natural history and evolution. While focusing on dinosaurs it also uses them to convey other aspects of the natural sciences, including fundamental concepts in evolutionary biology, physiology, life history, and systematics. Considerable attention is devoted the nature of science itself: what it is, what it is not, and how science can be used to investigate particular kinds of questions. Dinosaurs is unique because it fills a gap between the glossy, fact-driven dinosaur books and the higher-level academic books, addressing the paleontology of dinosaurs exactly as professionals in the field do.

Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time by James Gurney

When James Gurney’s Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time first appeared in 1992, it was immediately hailed as a fully imagined world of the caliber of J. R. R. Tolkien’s. Gurney’s premise — of an undiscovered island where a race of mystical humans co-exists in harmony with intelligent dinosaurs — has been since reiterated over and over in numerous films and by scores of other writers. Now, Calla Editions brings Gurney’s spectacular artistry to a new generation in this 20th anniversary edition. Digitally re-rendered from the original transparencies, Gurney’s dramatic panoramas of Dinotopia and close-up character studies of its inhabitants — both human and saurian — take on new vitality. And as a tale of high adventure and discovery told as entries and sketches in journal form, Dinotopia presents a shipwrecked visitor’s glimpse into an imagined social order, a culture, and even a cooperative interspecies technology that will satisfy lovers of fantasy and science fiction of all persuasions. This edition includes a new Afterword written by author James Gurney as well as a special section of behind-the-scenes studies and maquettes he used in developing his paintings.

Dinosaur Lake by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

An ancient predator has been reborn in the caves beneath Crater Lake …and it’s hungry. Ex-cop Henry Shore has been Chief Park Ranger at Crater Lake National Park for eight years and he likes his park and his life the way it’s been. Safe. Tranquil. Predictable. But he’s about to be tested in so many ways. First the earthquakes begin…people begin to go missing…then there’s some mysterious water creature that’s taken up residence in the caves below Crater Lake and it’s not only growing in size, it’s aggressive and cunning…and very hungry. And it’s decided it likes human beings. To eat. And it can come up onto land. So Henry, with the help of his wife, Ann; a young paleontologist named Justin; and a band of brave men, must not only protect his park and his people from the monster but somehow find where it lives and destroy it…before it can kill again.

Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled: How do we know what dinosaurs really looked like? by Catherine Thimmesh

No human being has ever seen a triceratops or velociraptor or even the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex.They left behind only their impressive bones. So how can scientists know what color dinosaurs were? Or if their flesh was scaly or feathered? Could that fierce T.rex have been born with spots? In a first for young readers, the Sibert medalist Catherine Thimmesh introduces the incredible talents of the paleoartist, whose work reanimates gone-but-never-forgotten dinosaurs in giant full-color paintings that are as strikingly beautiful as they aim to be scientifically accurate, down to the smallest detail. Follow a paleoartist through the scientific process of ascertaining the appearance of various dinosaurs from millions of years ago to learn how science, art, and imagination combine to bring us face-to-face with the past.

Prehistoric Life: The Definitive Visual History of Life on Earth Hardcover by DK Publishing 

With an extensive catalog at its heart, Prehistoric Life profiles hundreds of fascinating species in incredible detail. The story starts in earnest 3.8 billion years ago, with the earliest-known form of life on Earth, a bacteria that still exists today, and journeys through action-packed millennia, charting the appearance of new life forms as well as devastating extinction events. Of course, the ever-popular and endlessly intriguing dinosaurs feature large, but Prehistoric Life gives you the whole picture, and the plants, invertebrates, amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals that are the ancestors of today’s species also populate its pages, making this book unprecedented in its coverage of prehistory. Specially commissioned artworks use cutting-edge technology to render species in breathtakingly realistic fashion, with astonishing images of prehistoric remains, such as skeletons and fossils, to complete the story. To put all the evidence in context, the concept of geological time is explored, as is the classification of species and how the evidence for their evolution is preserved and can be deciphered.

How to Build a Dinosaur: The New Science of Reverse Evolution by Jack Horner and James Gorman 

A world-renowned paleontologist reveals groundbreaking science that trumps science fiction: how to grow a living dinosaur. Over a decade after Jurassic Park, Jack Horner and his colleagues in molecular biology labs are in the process of building the technology to create a real dinosaur. Based on new research in evolutionary developmental biology on how a few select cells grow to create arms, legs, eyes, and brains that function together, Jack Horner takes the science a step further in a plan to “reverse evolution” and reveals the awesome, even frightening, power being acquired to recreate the prehistoric past. The key is the dinosaur’s genetic code that lives on in modern birds- even chickens. From cutting-edge biology labs to field digs underneath the Montana sun, How to Build a Dinosaur explains and enlightens an awesome new science.

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