Aug 5, 2010

The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs

by Tim Gardom and Angela Milner

This last of the dinosaur books I've been reading is my favorite. It's just so fascinating, and so well presented. The text, while of course being very factual, is also written in a reader-friendly fashion and there's even bits of humor here and there! The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs tells you all sorts of things you don't get from the other books. Like how detailed, long and tedious the work of paleontologists actually is- one chapter takes the reader through the work of presenting a single specimen, from removing it from the dig site, cleaning, figuring out how the skeleton fits together, comparing it to other known species and finally presenting it to the public and the scientific community. There's a lot of work involved! I'm always wondering how scientists learned things like how well a certain dinosaur could smell, or at what age it died, and this book explains a lot about the detective work (so to speak) that gains that knowledge. I also really liked the parts that explained dinosaur physiology by comparing them to present-day animals, and the section on how dinosaurs have been depicted by media and artists, capturing the imagination of so many (but often misrepresenting things like which dinosaurs co-existed). Other really intriguing chapters cover things like how scientists have figured out some aspects of dinosaurs' social lives, the history of early dinosaur fossil discoveries, and a layout of evidence on how dinosaurs evolved into birds. All really amazing stuff. The pages are illustrated with photographs of dig sites and museum exhibits, diagrams, drawings, paintings and models (both computer-generated and sculptures). This is a really rich reference source and fascinating reading as well. A great book to wrap up my week of dinosaur reading!

Rating: 4/5 ........ 144 pages, 2006

More opinions at: Dinosaur Books and Facts

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