The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
Brusatte traces the evolution of dinosaurs from their inauspicious start as small shadow dwellers—themselves the beneficiaries of a mass extinction caused by volcanic eruptions at the beginning of the Triassic period—into the dominant array of species every wide-eyed child memorizes today, T. rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus, and more. This gifted scientist and writer re-creates the dinosaurs’ peak during the Jurassic and Cretaceous, when thousands of species thrived, and winged and feathered dinosaurs, the prehistoric ancestors of modern birds, emerged. The story continues to the end of the Cretaceous period, when a giant asteroid or comet struck the planet and nearly every dinosaur species (but not all) died out, in the most extraordinary extinction event in earth’s history, one full of lessons for today as we confront a “sixth extinction.”Brusatte also recalls compelling stories from his globe-trotting expeditions during one of the most exciting eras in dinosaur research—which he calls “a new golden age of discovery”—and offers thrilling accounts of some of the remarkable findings he and his colleagues have made, including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs; monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex; and paradigm-shifting feathered raptors from China.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs Details

TitleThe Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
Author
ReleaseApr 24th, 2018
PublisherWilliam Morrow
ISBN-139780062490452
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Science, History, Animals, Dinosaurs, Environment, Nature

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    I love dinosaurs. I have an early memory of being at nursery school and always running straight for the plastic dinosaurs at playtime. I was a dinosaur hog. The Land Before Time was one of my favourite movies. I watched Jurassic Park and had a recurring nightmare about a T.Rex trying to attack our house.They are so fascinating. Unbelievably huge reptiles that roamed the entire planet. Not only that, but it's so strange that we regard them as something of a failed species. Dinosaurs were around f I love dinosaurs. I have an early memory of being at nursery school and always running straight for the plastic dinosaurs at playtime. I was a dinosaur hog. The Land Before Time was one of my favourite movies. I watched Jurassic Park and had a recurring nightmare about a T.Rex trying to attack our house.They are so fascinating. Unbelievably huge reptiles that roamed the entire planet. Not only that, but it's so strange that we regard them as something of a failed species. Dinosaurs were around for 150 million years. The homo genus is only about 2.5 million years old, and homo sapiens have been around for a measly 300,000 years. Perhaps less. You think we have another 150 million years in us?So, yeah, I love dinosaurs.Problem is, I just couldn't stand Brusatte's writing. He obviously knows his stuff about dinosaurs, but I thought he made the potentially fascinating information very dry. And that's just when he's sticking to the subject. It gets far worse when he goes on long tangents about himself, name-dropping the people he's met and worked with. Unless it's a female paleontologist, in which case: who? You mean whatsisname's wife?I usually like it when non-fiction writers put a little something of themselves into their writing. It adds some personality and pulls you along for the journey, such as in Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. But it helps if the writer isn't, um, annoying. Brusatte just comes across as a self-important nerd. There's too much about him, and it isn't enjoyable to read.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Will Byrnes
    January 1, 1970
    Image from the Smithsonian Hope A Tyrannosaurus Rex is a thing with feathers. ----- Emily Dickinson Steve Brusatte Wait, what? You’re kidding, right? Say it ain’t so. Well, there is some disagreement about this among paleontologists, but, according to Steve Brusatte, while they may not have matched up to Marc Bolan in a boa, and the feathers in question were maybe more like porcupine quills than the fluffy sort of plumage one might find on, say, an ostrich, those things poking out of the T. rex Image from the Smithsonian Hope A Tyrannosaurus Rex is a thing with feathers. ----- Emily Dickinson Steve Brusatte Wait, what? You’re kidding, right? Say it ain’t so. Well, there is some disagreement about this among paleontologists, but, according to Steve Brusatte, while they may not have matched up to Marc Bolan in a boa, and the feathers in question were maybe more like porcupine quills than the fluffy sort of plumage one might find on, say, an ostrich, those things poking out of the T. rex’s body were indeed feathers. And if you think the notion of a 40-foot, seven-ton eating machine, with ginormous, dagger-like, railroad-spike-size teeth bearing down on you, is scary, consider this. They travelled in packs. Sweet dreams! I have to confess that after reading this chapter, I did indeed have at least one dream that night that included multiple representatives of the T. Rex family. Not a wonderful image to induce one back to the land of Nod, after having bolted suddenly upright from REM sleep in fight-or-FLIGHT mode. Hello, lunch - Image from The Real T-Rex BBC special – this one from the MirrorBut I promise, not all the revelations in The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs will make you reach for some extra alcoholic or pharmaceutical sleep inducement. What we know about dinosaurs has continued to evolve, at an accelerating rate. Some revelations in the book are surprising and delightful, like the fact that new dinosaur species are being discovered at the rate of about one a week, and that this has been going on a while. There is a lot of catching up to be done since we mastered the basic few, Triceratops, T-Rex, Brontosaurus, Archaeopteryx, Stegasaurus, Dimetrodon, and the usual gang of idiots. Much bigger gang to keep track of these days. [I strongly urge you to check out Brusatte’s U of Edinburgh lecture, linked in EXTRA STUFF, for some very decisively feathered other members of the T. rex family. Fluffy indeed!] Steve Brusatte - looking for Triassic vertebrate footprints in a quarry in Poland – image from palaeocast.com (Sorry, dear. I could have sworn I dropped the engagement ring right here!)Dinosaurs had a pretty long reign as kings/queens of the hill, but they had to begin sometime. Once upon a time all the land was one, linked from north to south, called Pangea. Monster monsoons raked much of the Earth, blistering heat, deserts, jungles, except of course at the poles, which were relatively balmy. This time, from about 300 to about 250 million years ago (mya) is called The Permian Period. Then, boys and girls, the earth split a seam. All that hot material that is constantly coursing through the earth found a way out and spewed forth. Not a good time to be an earthling. It is referred to as The Permian Extinction. 90% of all life was wiped out, by lava flows, fire, global warming, airborne particles blocking the sun, and thus a dramatic, if temporary end to photosynthesis, which killed off most plant life. And the ensuing acidification of water did seriously unpleasant things to aqueous life. But, after things settled down again, which took a while, a new class of critters came to dominate, dinosaurs. Yay! From Pangea to now – image from LiveScience.comThe Permian period was followed by the Triassic, from 250 to 200 mya, fifty million years of nature gone wild (I have that videotape in the attic, I think). Over the course of the Triassic, things on the land started to look like the world we know today. But the continents would have to drift for many millions of years yet before they would resemble our current landmass configuration. The first true dinos showed up around 230 to 240 mya. But they did not have the planet to themselves. There were reptiles, fish, birds, insects, even mammals, small ones, around at the time.Metoposaurus, Kermit’s g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-grandma, was an amphibian the size of a Buick, with a coffee-table-sized head, and, unlike those little critters you had to work with in bio lab, these pups had hundreds of very sharp teeth. It hung out by water’s edge to capture anything straying too close. Mostly fish, but watch your ankles.There is interesting material in here about what came before the dinosaurs, (dinosauromorphs, yes, really) and where the line is drawn (arbitrarily) between dino and pre-dino. You, here, you, over there. Like Middle East borders. Brusatte walks us through the timeline of the dinos, from conditions being established at the end of the Permian, their arrival in the Triassic, to their sudden farewell at the end of the Cretaceous. Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous. Go ahead, repeat that a few times. It’s the sequence of periods Brusatte covers here. The first three come in at around 50 million years each, with the Cretaceous hanging on for about 80. The last three, taken together, comprise what is known as the Mesozoic Era, aka The Age of the Dinosaurs. (Which makes no sense to me. Shouldn’t it be The Era of the Dinosaurs? Or the Mesozoic Age? It’s so confusing.) He shows what changed geologically, and how the changes allowed this or that lifeform to arise. (often by wiping out the competition). He also takes us along with him to dig sites around the planet, Scotland, Portugal, Poland, The American Southwest, South America, China, and more, and introduces us to some of the foremost scientists in the field.The characters in Brusatte’s tale are not all of the ancient sort. He populates each chapter with modern specimens notable for their diversity and sometimes colorful plumage. While they may all be brilliant scientists, many could easily be classified as Anates Impar. It would not be a huge stretch to imagine them populating a nerdish Cantina scene. Here are Brusatte’s description of three of them. There are many more. You can spot Thomas Carr, now a professor at Wisconsin’s Carthage College, from a mile away. He has the fashion sense of a 1970s preacher and some of the mannerisms of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. Thomas always wears black velvet suits, usually with a black or dark red shirt underneath. He has long bushy sideburns and a mop of light hair. A silver skull ring adorns his hand. He’s easily consumed by things and has a long-running obsession with absinthe and the Doors. That and tyrannosaurs.Thomas Carr - image from his Twitter pageBaron Franz Nopcsa von Felso-Szilvas…was literally an aristocrat who dug up dinosaur bones. He seems like the invention of a mad novelist, a character so outlandish, so ridiculous, that he must be a trick of fiction. But he was very real—a flamboyant dandy and a tragic genius, whose exploits hunting dinosaurs in Transylvania were brief respites from the insanity of the rest of his life…[he had] expertise in espionage, linguistics, cultural anthropology, paleontology, motorbiking, [geology, and god knows what else].The Baron - image from Albanianphotograpy.comJingmai [O’Connor] calls herself a Paleontologista—fitting given her fashionista style of leopard-print Lycra, piercings, and tattoos, all of which are at home in the club but stand out (in a good way) among the plaid-and-beard crowd that dominates academia…she’s also the world’s number-one expert on those first birds that broke the bounds of Earth to fly above their dinosaur ancestors.Jingmai O’Connor - image from her Twitter pageBrusatte also shamelessly namedrops every A-list paleontologist he has encountered. Of course, it sounds like those encounters were substantial, so I guess it’s ok, but… I was reminded a bit of Bill Clinton’s memoir, in which it seemed that every person he mentioned had either changed his life or was a close personal friend. In a way, the book constitutes a this-is-your-life look at Brusatte’s paleontology career (boy meets bone?), with appearances by many of the people he had learned from or worked with. (they are legion) In addition to the studies mentioned in the book, he is the author of a widely taught textbook, Dinosaur Paleobiology. He is the paleo expert in residence on Walking with Dinosaurs (so much better than the sequel, Fleeing from Dinosaurs) on the BBC. One of the things that has allowed modern paleontologists to make and continue to make ground-breaking discoveries about Earth’s former tenants is the major advance in technology at their disposal. It’s a lot easier, for example, to see inside a fossilized skull to measure the size and shape of internal cavities with the help of a CT scanner than it was before they were available.A new dinosaur, feathered, winged Zhenyuanlong from China - image from The ConversationYou will learn some fascinating new information about dinos, some of it startling. This includes how sauropods managed those looooooong necks, why wild diversification happened when it did, why it took dinosaurs as long as it did to get large and take over. There is a fascinating bit on how some dinosaurs can pack an extra punch by getting air while they breathe in and out, surprising intel on how some of the critters you thought were dinosaurs aren’t, and directions on where you can look to see actual living dinosaurs today. He punctures some of the notions from the Jurassic Park movies. If trapped by a T-Rex, for instance, do not remain motionless. Rex has binocular vision and can see you perfectly well, whether you are sitting down in a port-o-san or hiding in or under a vehicle. Wave buh-bye.If you do not know what this is from you need to get out moreSpeaking of un-fond farewells, Brusatte take us up to and through the biggest bang of them all, on Earth anyway, 66 mya. His description of the horror that marked the end of the dinosaurs is graphic, and disturbing. It was the worst day in the history of our planet. A few hours of unimaginable violence that undid more than 150 million years of evolution and set life on a new course. T. rex was there to see it. Look, up in the sky. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…Oh, shitArtwork by Donald E. DavisBrusatte has written an eminently readable pop-science history of the dinosaurs, with accessible info on geology, biology, and the work of paleontologists, who are laboring tirelessly (and maybe obsessively) to find out the answers to questions that are as old as humanity’s awareness of the erstwhile inhabitants of our planet. This is one of those books that should be in every household. You do not need to be a scientist to get a lot out of it. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, bubbling with the enthusiasm of its author, will be an enjoyable and enlightening read for homo sapiens of all ages from pre-teen through fossil. Learning more about Earth’s illustrious, impressive, sometimes terrifying, and sometimes adorable former tenants never gets old. Really, who doesn’t love dinosaurs?Review posted – April 13, 2018Publication date – April 24, 2018December 2018 - Dinosaurs may no longer rule the earth, but The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs rules the 2018 Goodreads Choice Award for Science. Reached for comment, a spokesman for Mr. Brusatte offered the following response.=============================EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author’s personal and Twitter pagesEpisode 37 of Palaeocast features Steve talking about Therapods and Birds - December 1, 2014 – 44:00A presentation by Brusatte, who is a wonderful speaker, on Tyrannosaur Discoveries, at the U of Edinburgh – Watch this, really. Great stuff. In the above, Brusatte talks about feathered dinos, among other things. Meet Yutyrannus huali, (artist’s interpretation) a feathered tyrannosaur from China (but you can call him Fluffy) – image from The ConversationA fun article from the BBC - Legendary dinosaurs that we all imagine completely wrong - By Josh Gabbatiss - 3/21/16NY Times – April 4, 2018 - Brusatte is keeping busy, publishing, with his team, a new study about the presence of dinos in Scotland, specifically in the Isle of Skye. In Footprints on Scotland’s Isle of Skye, Signs of a Dinosaur Playground - by Nicholas St. FleurThis image of a sauropod print accompanied the above article – from the University of EdinburghAn interesting lecture (33 minutes) on how paleontologists research dinosaurian social behavior and what they have found - Social Behaviour in Dinosaurs - with David Hone Hone's delivery has a sing-song rhythm that can be a bit soporific, but the content is fascinating. Of particular interest is the basis for juvenile clustering.May, 2018 - Smithsonian Magazine - So much is going on in China, paleontologically, not all of it wonderful, as wonderful new resources are found and explored - The Great Chinese Dinosaur Boom - by Richard ConniffThis cluster of dinosaur egg fossils, on display at the Tianyu Museum, dates back 70 million years to the late Cretaceous era - shot by Stefen Chow - text and image from above articleIt reminds me of that scene in the first Alien film when they discover the nesting site-----May 29, 2018 - Check out Ira Flatow's effervescent review in the NY Times - When the Dinosaurs Reigned-----June 2, 2018 - National Geographic - Wonderful, informative interview with Brusatte by Simon Worrall - Why Today is the Golden Age for Dinosaur Discoveries-----December 17, 2018 - Feathers and Fur Fly Over Pterosaur Fossil Finding - By Nicholas St. FleurAn artist’s rendering of a short-tailed pterosaur from above article - from Yuan Zhang/Nature Ecology & Evolution-----February 21, 2019 - NY Times - Tiny Tyrannosaur Hints at How T. Rex Became King - by Nicholas St. FleurA new species of dinosaur, a tiny relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex, called Moros intrepidus, lived 96 million years ago and its fossils were found in central Utah. - Credit Jorge Gonzalez - image and text from above article================================STUFFINGIf you are one of those for whom the reference did not bang a gong, Marc Bolan was the leader of a band named T.Rex. He was one of the progenitors of what was called Glam Rock.Anates Impar - really? You could not do a Google translate? It means Odd Ducks, ok. Sheesh. Really, don’t make me explain everything again, or I’ll have to take points off your final grade. And if you do not know what “the Cantina scene” is, look it up or don’t come back. Yes, now. Run!This flamboyantly feathered Rex image is from Deviant Art – Yeah, I doubt it looked like this too, but a fun image I wanted to shareFull disclosure: - Ok, I stole the final line of the review from my illustrious book goddess. I only steal from the best. Thank you, dearest.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    Another ambivalent three stars for a book that has two strands of highly varying success in my opinion.The good part of the book is the clear and vivid writing about dinosaurs. I particularly liked learning new things about dinosaur-like creatures that lived among them but happen to fall outside the classification, and reasons why dinosaurs could evolve to be absolutely gigantic (those big sauropods) or fly. I liked reading about the nomenclature of new and unusual finds (it's not all Latin anym Another ambivalent three stars for a book that has two strands of highly varying success in my opinion.The good part of the book is the clear and vivid writing about dinosaurs. I particularly liked learning new things about dinosaur-like creatures that lived among them but happen to fall outside the classification, and reasons why dinosaurs could evolve to be absolutely gigantic (those big sauropods) or fly. I liked reading about the nomenclature of new and unusual finds (it's not all Latin anymore). The section on the immediate aftermath of the asteroid strike is gripping and horrifying. ("But what fell from the sky was not water. It was beads of glass and chunks of rock, each one scalding hot.")The bad part is the writing about the author's personal experiences as he grew from an annoying, precocious teen (which he freely admits he was) into a working paleontologist. Frankly he comes off as more than a little self-satisfied--a sighting of the Jerkus brillianticus, if you will. His mentors and collaborators are uniformly amazing and brilliant and are described in a way that makes nearly all of them sound dull and interchangeable, an endless parade of brilliant bearded dudes drinking beer in exotic locales that are mainly described in terms of their nattering locals and unpleasant weather. (If you think I've used the word "brilliant" a lot in this paragraph, you won't believe this book!) Though he names several women paleontologists in these pages, he rarely seems to work with any of them, and notes with apparent enjoyment crass jokes at bars and commentary about their physiques from a speaker at an international conference. The personal recollections strike a disagreeable note that undercuts one of the goals of the book, which is to show how cool it would be to be a paleontologist.Bottom line: Read this, while holding your nose a little bit, if you're interested in dinosaurs.Review copy received from Edelweiss.Edited to add: I am going to close the comments on this, since no one seems capable of talking about dinosaurs, but the question of examples from the book was a fair one. This review was very hard to write since the review copies specifically ask you only to quote from the finished book, which did not exist yet, so I was avoiding direct quotes. However, I have patiently waited for a library copy and spot checked a few passages that I could find by searching my Kindle copy for specific terms. Two of the most objectionable parts that I would have quoted have been changed. In the midst of a favorable description of a hedonistic conference in Argentina (steak, drinking, dancing, etc.), the review copy mentions "an outrageous quip about the physical qualities of the foreign women in attendance." On page 42 of the finished book, the text now reads "an outrageous quip about some of the foreigners in attendance"--which makes the edit fairly obvious because the resulting sentence doesn't make a lot of sense. On page 346 of the final book, what had originally said "crass inside jokes" was edited to "inside jokes." (I hope the publisher will forgive the forbidden quoting here.)I'm guessing the editor jumped in here, and kudos to them for doing so, but it doesn't change my overall feeling about the book. Three stars is not one star, folks! The book had some good parts (the information about the dinosaurs) and some bad parts (where the author talks about himself). This is hardly scintillating memoir from someone who thinks that "he never lets his students pay for beer" (finished book pg. 289) makes someone a really cool and interesting person. If you think so too, you can read this book without even holding your nose as I originally suggested. If you don't, you can still read it.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the parts about dinosaurs. Fun facts, history, evidence and speculation on behavior, recent discoveries, distribution as the continents divided and spread out. It's a compact assessable update on dinosaurs large and small. Oh, just another coelophysis, no this is something new!I tuned out the sections of the author's personal experience. I wasn't interested. Based on other GR reviews, that's probably for the best.
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  • ☽¸¸.I am¸¸.•*¨ The ¸¸.•*¨*Phoenix¨*•♫♪ ☾
    January 1, 1970
    If, like me, you were a kid during the Jurassic Park era, you know that the new generations have an interest in dinosaurs which is ten hundred times less than we had in the 1990s. At the time, dinosaurs were everywhere: on TV, on our first computers, in video games, even in cereal boxes. Sometimes I can't help but being flabbergasted by the notion that today's kindergartners don't know what a dyplodocus is, or exactly how tall and heavy a brontosaurus was. Of course, my notions about dinosaurs a If, like me, you were a kid during the Jurassic Park era, you know that the new generations have an interest in dinosaurs which is ten hundred times less than we had in the 1990s. At the time, dinosaurs were everywhere: on TV, on our first computers, in video games, even in cereal boxes. Sometimes I can't help but being flabbergasted by the notion that today's kindergartners don't know what a dyplodocus is, or exactly how tall and heavy a brontosaurus was. Of course, my notions about dinosaurs also stopped growing after a couple of years, with the result that the last time I updated them, little Tim was still complaining about how crazy the theory that some of them may have learned how to fly was.Brusatte literally tells us that seagulls are dinosaurs, which is cool I mean, I was so sad when they all died in that tragic accident with the meteor and mass destruction and stuff. But that is not the only reason why I am glad I read this book. Not all scientists are writers, and even less are good writers. Just because your mind literally overflows with knowledge, doesn't mean that you are also good at sharing it with others. This book, in my opinion, shows that Brusatte is not only good at his job, but also at making other people interested in what he has to say: last time a book about dinosaurs became so famous, there were only two Jurassic park movies.This book is not as much the history of dinosaurs as it is the story of how that history has been discovered: inside it, paleontologists are nothing less than detectives who use everything in their power to reconstruct events that happened hundreds of millions of years ago.I enjoyed being engrossed in this book, but two things always prevent me from liking any "pop science" book at a five star level, and I found them in this one as well.First is the idealization of the character of the scientist: in these books, professors are nothing less than real life Indiana Jones, with brains as big as a star ship and looks like Captain America. Their personalities are always charming and they have more fan girls than a rockstar.I understand that part of the reason for doing so is to keep the public interested, but part of it is genuine fanboying and blind adoration from the writer. Unfortunately, having studied and then worked in a University for almost ten years and having been in close contact with some of these superstar professors, I found out that these people are, for the majority, very different from how the public perceives them. Their flamboyant style and eccentric personality are often the result of a self-absorbed, narcissistic and sometimes borderline sociopathic personality. You can spend a couple of interesting dinners with them and being completely fascinated by their discoveries, you can listen to their speeches for hours, but don't try to marry one of them... not that I have a personal experience with that of course 😂 (jk, I totally do).The second issue is that many of these scientific writers tend to present their discoveries, and in general the state of the art in a specific field as it is today, as the ultimate science Truth that finally answered all the questions we had in the past surrounding a specific topic. In reality, within ten years we will probably read a new book on these topics that will completely change everything that is said here, and that will also be presented as Truth. Let's never forget that every scientific theory, as revolutionary and clear as it can be, is exactly what it is: a theory, and every knowledge is temporary.This book was one of the best, most interesting pieces of non-fiction I read this year. I recommend it to anyone who has or had interests in this topic, and also to anyone who wants to get started on dinosaurs! But remember guys:
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  • Jenna
    January 1, 1970
    Unlike many people, I've never been fascinated by dinosaurs. I don't recall learning about them as a child, though perhaps I did and my interest wasn't piqued enough to remember. I think my only exposure to them was via the cartoon The Flintstones. I didn't get much of a science education as a child but as an adult, science (all areas that I've learned about) is one of my favourite subjects and my favourite type of book to read. So it's a bit odd that I didn't feel compelled to read or learn abo Unlike many people, I've never been fascinated by dinosaurs. I don't recall learning about them as a child, though perhaps I did and my interest wasn't piqued enough to remember. I think my only exposure to them was via the cartoon The Flintstones. I didn't get much of a science education as a child but as an adult, science (all areas that I've learned about) is one of my favourite subjects and my favourite type of book to read. So it's a bit odd that I didn't feel compelled to read or learn about dinosaurs -- until now. Prior to its publication whilst preparing a book order for my library and reading about it, I knew it was one I would want to read. When it arrived and I saw its cover, I was entranced and almost bumped it ahead in my TBR list. It's better to prolong the anticipation of something good though, so I waited until it came up next in my TBR list, to read it. Wow oh wow! I can see why this won the Goodreads Choice Award 2018 for Science!The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World is an utterly fascinating and absorbing read! Stephen Brusatte is a paleontologist who specializes in the evolution of dinosaurs. In this book, he brings his vast knowledge of all things dinosaur to us. With the latest research at his fingertips, he discusses how and why dinosaurs came to rule the Earth. He details the evolution and anatomy of many of the species (in my prior ignorance, I assumed there were only around 25 or so species, most notably T. Rex and Brontosaurus. I was amazed to learn that we know of over 700 different species of dinosaurs! Incredible!!) I had no clue that most dinosaurs probably had feathers, or that they came in a rainbow of colours, sometimes iridescent, and we can tell from fossils what those colours were -- even though the fossils themselves lack pigment. We learn that wings probably first evolved as a display feature to attract mates and frighten enemies, and only gradually and accidentally evolved into something that would enable flight. We learn that a teenage T. Rex would have gained on average 5 pounds a day in order to reach its vast size. I hope they weren't as weight conscious as humans teens!Mr. Brussatte doesn't just tell us about dinosaurs, but also about the world they thrived in, so very different from the earth humans have always called home. There is so much information on Pangea, its climate and eventual breaking apart that I found extremely interesting. He paints such a vivid picture of the world the dinosaurs inhabited. He tells the story of what the dinosaurs would have experienced in the moments after the asteroid or comet struck 65 million year ago, ending the Cretaceous period.... and the reign of the dinosaurs. He tells us why and how these great and diverse creatures went extinct except for birds, and why some mammals survived when the dinosaurs could not. He tells us the story of how a scientist named Walter Alvarez figured out that an asteroid or comet had struck the earth and was responsible for the dinosaurs' extinction. It was all so very captivating!These topics and so many others are discussed in this book and I think it will be of interest to many people. It's written for the lay person and one (obviously) does not need to have prior knowledge of dinosaurs in order to understand and enjoy this book. I went from no interest in and little knowledge of these creatures to now wanting to become an amateur fossil hunter! Kudos to Stephen Brusatte for writing such a brilliant book!
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  • Robin Bonne
    January 1, 1970
    5/5 for the informational sections about dinosaurs. 1/5 for the autobiographical sections about the author’s academic/research career in which he comes off as a sexist narcissist. Gross. Overall, read the sections about the dinosaurs and skip the parts about his personal experiences. I listened to the audiobook so I couldn’t skim the awful, masturbatory memoir stuff, which I found unfortunate. Every time he mentions a scientist, he turns it into a self-congratulating name drop. I wish the author 5/5 for the informational sections about dinosaurs. 1/5 for the autobiographical sections about the author’s academic/research career in which he comes off as a sexist narcissist. Gross. Overall, read the sections about the dinosaurs and skip the parts about his personal experiences. I listened to the audiobook so I couldn’t skim the awful, masturbatory memoir stuff, which I found unfortunate. Every time he mentions a scientist, he turns it into a self-congratulating name drop. I wish the author had focused on the dinosaurs because that was the most interesting part and what I picked the book up to learn.
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  • ✨ jamieson ✨
    January 1, 1970
    I was a dinosaur obsessed kid. I watched the entire Land Before Time series, many many times, and would rewatch BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs so often that I can still quote large segments of it verbatim despite not having watched it for over a decade. I didn't know about this book until it won the Goodreads Choice Award for best non-fiction in 2018, and I knew I had to read it. Even though my obsession with Dinosaurs has faded, I still find the humongous animals that roamed the earth we stand on I was a dinosaur obsessed kid. I watched the entire Land Before Time series, many many times, and would rewatch BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs so often that I can still quote large segments of it verbatim despite not having watched it for over a decade. I didn't know about this book until it won the Goodreads Choice Award for best non-fiction in 2018, and I knew I had to read it. Even though my obsession with Dinosaurs has faded, I still find the humongous animals that roamed the earth we stand on right now so freakin fascinating. They seem so alien and out of this world, its hard to really fully process they very much were alive and thriving 150 million years ago. The information in this book was definitely interesting - when it related to the Dinosaurs. Research indicating Dinosaurs had feathers, information on new species such as a bad winged Dinosaur, crucial to understanding how Dinosaurs evolved into todays birds, explanations of how we know what colours Dinosaurs are, and conclusive proof that it was an asteroid that wiped out the Dinosaurs for good. But that was kind of outweighed by the author - who was often incredibly annoying and injected his own story and relationships into the story way too often. He's like that guy in your class who is absolutely desperate for everyone to know he is, in fact, the smartest person in the room. The way he name dropped colleagues was not only annoying, but also confusing, as all the names got jumbled into one (and I was expected to remember them despite only being mentioned once 500 pages ago). The sexism also was a bit off-putting, especially one section that made me actually cringe - where the author gleefully recounts a palaeontologist event where the speaker spent his time talking about the bodies of female palaeontologists and talking about how many he had slept with. It reeked of the awkward nerdy boy in high school who said awful things about women to try and sound cooler but just ended up sounding like a dick everyone hated. If you want to know about Dinosaurs, including so much emerging research you definitely would not have heard about before I do recommend this - but go into it with a huge grain of salt because the author was A Lot in my opinion. I couldn't skip his personal stories on the audiobook, but I would do that if you're reading physically.Now, enjoy this picture of T-Rex drawn with the feathers they absolutely had
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  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to William Morrow for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest reviewI never liked dinosaurs. There I said it. As a young boy, I hated anything that could be associated with "boys", "men" or "masculinity". Not in a sexist way. I just had undiagnosed gender dysphoria. But that's not what I am here to talk about today.Even though I don't have much interest in dinosaurs, I still enjoyed this book. Mind you, that isn't because I understood a single word of what he was saying but becau Many thanks to William Morrow for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest reviewI never liked dinosaurs. There I said it. As a young boy, I hated anything that could be associated with "boys", "men" or "masculinity". Not in a sexist way. I just had undiagnosed gender dysphoria. But that's not what I am here to talk about today.Even though I don't have much interest in dinosaurs, I still enjoyed this book. Mind you, that isn't because I understood a single word of what he was saying but because I could feel the pure joy and passion. It was almost like the author was sitting across from me, trying to explain to me the wonders of his world, smiling and stumbling over his words as one does when they are ecstatic. That said, I was disappointed that I really didn't learn much because I couldn't understand what he was saying. Maybe it was me. Maybe not. I almost felt like I was missing something. Like, I had missed a class or seminar or previous book. Even so, I loved his writing style. He was funny, light-hearted and used creative metaphors and clever wording.| Goodreads | Blog | Twitch | Pinterest | Buy this book
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  • William2
    January 1, 1970
    Fun 🦖 dinosaur 🦕 hunting tales old and new told in a light and airy style. A decent explanation of the shaky advent of dinosaurs in the early Triassic, which I didn’t know. Then around 220 million years ago, we move into the splitting up of Pangea and the long season of volcanic activity, say, 20,000,000 years, during which many non-dino species were wiped out. This was the big opportunity dinosaurs had been waiting for. What the book provides is the long chronology of dinosaurs and their appear Fun 🦖 dinosaur 🦕 hunting tales old and new told in a light and airy style. A decent explanation of the shaky advent of dinosaurs in the early Triassic, which I didn’t know. Then around 220 million years ago, we move into the splitting up of Pangea and the long season of volcanic activity, say, 20,000,000 years, during which many non-dino species were wiped out. This was the big opportunity dinosaurs had been waiting for. What the book provides is the long chronology of dinosaurs and their appearance and development over 240 million years. A number of vexing questions are addressed, like how could the largest of the dinosaurs have managed life at such titanic size? The brontosaurus for instance? One key reason was their exceedingly long necks which permitted them to reach higher into trees; Brusatte says it permitted them to eat the “huge meals necessary to put on excessive weight.” Second, was their astonishing ability to grow from “guinea-pig size hatchlings to airplane-size adults in only about 30 or 40 years.” The third feature was the development of a special new kind of lung. This unidirectional lung, seen today only in birds, was able to inhale air, yes, but also to save a little air and pass it back across the lung again on exhalation. This extra breathing efficiency made it possible for the animals to keep their large body masses cool. As part of the lungs the dinosaurs had a system of air sacs throughout their bodies. We know this because “...many bones of the chest cavity have big openings, called pneumatic fenestrae, where the air sacs extend deep inside. They are exactly the same structures in modern birds, and they can only be made with air sacs. The air sacs also have the added benefit of lightening the skeleton “when they invade bone. In fact they hollow out the bone, so that it still has a strong outer shell but is much more light weight... The vertebra were so engulfed by air sacs that they were little more than honeycombs, featherweight but still strong. And that’s advantage four: The air sacs allowed sauropods to have a skeleton that was both sturdy and the light enough to move around.”A fascinating if brief picture of dino-era predation is also given, which shows all the mechanisms of selection working superbly hundreds of millions of years before Charles Darwin came along to articulate them. They vanished after the Cretatious extinction event 66 million years ago when a meteor impact made the 112-mile wide Chicxulub crater (see Walter Álvarez) in the Gulf of Mexico.This might be the right guy to serve us in the stead of Stephen Jay Gould. There’s no one even remotely like SJG but Mr. Brusatte might be a viable substitute. If he’s going to fill those shoes though, he’s going to have to read widely in areas of interest that have nothing to do with paleontology; this as a means of developing his own inimitable encyclopedic style—which should remain light and airy. (Why can’t all my male authors look as nice as this one?)I read on…
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  • Jaya
    January 1, 1970
    Dinosaurs!For me that word is enough to at least flip through the pages of a book. Brusatte's work can be easily considered as a layman's guide to dinosaurs. Really enjoyed the almost casual and anecdotal narrative by the author, made me feel less dumb for not knowing anything "scientific" about the species. Quite remarkable how fast I finished reading this one, considering that I take lot more time reading non-fics. It was definitely a hard-to-put-down/away kind of a book. I liked how the autho Dinosaurs!For me that word is enough to at least flip through the pages of a book. Brusatte's work can be easily considered as a layman's guide to dinosaurs. Really enjoyed the almost casual and anecdotal narrative by the author, made me feel less dumb for not knowing anything "scientific" about the species. Quite remarkable how fast I finished reading this one, considering that I take lot more time reading non-fics. It was definitely a hard-to-put-down/away kind of a book. I liked how the author busted a few myths about dinosaurs as have been portrayed in popular culture by stating reasons and explanations carried out through research done in the recent past. Extra points for the numerous illustrations and images of the locations and species that were mentioned.All this mention of dinos made me reminiscent of a day I spent last year with these species :DThat's a T-rex btw :)And adding this place as a definite MUST-VISIT for my next trip... Bottom image is of the Yale Peabody Museum, courtesy Google
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  • Joseph
    January 1, 1970
    Amazon audible edition of the book read by Patrick Lawlor.Well done history with some of the dirty laundry of the fossil collecting world. New, at least to me, information on dinosaur biology including how their lungs worked (like birds), lightweight bones, and feathers and pre-feathers. Well done science on a level that most can follow.
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  • Clif Hostetler
    January 1, 1970
    This book not only provides an overview of the current state of dinosaur research but also a history of paleontology and the characters who have worked in the field. It is a rapidly expanding field. Right now is the golden age of dinosaur research. Somebody, somewhere around the world, is finding a new species of dinosaur now, on average, once a week. So that’s 50-some new species a year, and that’s not a new bone or a new skeleton, that’s a totally new type of dinosaur that we never knew existe This book not only provides an overview of the current state of dinosaur research but also a history of paleontology and the characters who have worked in the field. It is a rapidly expanding field. Right now is the golden age of dinosaur research. Somebody, somewhere around the world, is finding a new species of dinosaur now, on average, once a week. So that’s 50-some new species a year, and that’s not a new bone or a new skeleton, that’s a totally new type of dinosaur that we never knew existed before.Prior to listening to this book, my knowledge of dinosaurs was based primarily on a smattering of news reports. Thus I previously had the impression that the bird-dinosaur relationship was a debatable hypothesis. But evidence now available seems quite convincing.The Liaoning fossils sealed the deal by verifying how many features are shared uniquely by birds and other theropods, not just feathers but also wishbones, three fingered hands that can fold against the body, and hundreds of other aspects of the skeleton. There are no other groups of animals, living or extinct, that share these things with birds or theropods. This must mean that birds came from theropods. Any other conclusion requires a whole lot of special pleading.Among the unique features shared by birds and dinosaurs is a respiratory system that provides highly efficient and light weight oxygen transfer system. No other species alive today has a respiratory system like this. To me this is the definitive proof of the relationship.Its amazing what can be deduced about dinosaurs by modern science. For example, dinosaurs had color. Through the use of melanosomes it has been inferred that feathered dinosaurs had a variety of colors which leads to the possibility that the feathers were developed for display purposes—peacock like—and subsequently turned into flying equipment through the evolutionary process.The author Brusatte leads the reader through the various stages of dinosaur evolution, beginning with the Triassic Period when their presence was not dominate. However a mass extinction caused by large and continuing volcanic eruptions cleared the way for dinosaurs to dominate during the following Jurassic Period. Brusatte devotes a whole chapter to the subject of T. Rex, the perfect “killing machine.” It is pointed out that their maximum life span was thirty years, and by the age of thirty they had a physic that would not allow them to run fast. Brusatte speculates that this may indicate that they hunted in packs because the T. Rex adolescents were lean and capable of running fast. The youth in the pack could catch the prey and the giant adults could move in for the kill. Measurements of the brain cavity show that, "Rex was roughly as smart as a chimp and more intelligent than dogs and cats.” From the skeletal structure around the brain paleontologist are able to determine that the Tyrannosaurus possessed heightened sensory abilities and relatively rapid and coordinated eye and head movements. This included an enhanced sense of smell. It also had an enhanced ability to sense low frequency sounds that would allow tyrannosaurs to track prey movements from long distances. The book provides an imagined description of what it would have been like to be alive on earth 66 million years ago at the time of the crash of the mighty meteor that ended the Jurassic Period killing off the dinosaurs except for birds. It appears that species that burrowed, had the freedom to fly, and could scavenge on dead organic material for several years after the meteor were the only ones that survived. No mammals at the time were larger than a modern badger. From this description I am convinced that if a similar sized meteor struck the earth now that it's highly questionable whether any humans could survive.The following is a link to an excerpt from this book:https://mailchi.mp/delanceyplace.com/...
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  • Michelle Curie
    January 1, 1970
    I love dinosaurs. How insane is it to think that millions ago, those creates roamed the same lands we inhabit today? It is an idea that has fascinated me as a kid watching Disney's Dinosaur and (of course) Jurassic Park as much as it does today as an adult, getting excited about books by paleontologists like Steve Brusatte. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is an absolute joy to read and now possibly my favorite book on the subject. Brusatte specialized in the anatomy and evolution of dinosaurs I love dinosaurs. How insane is it to think that millions ago, those creates roamed the same lands we inhabit today? It is an idea that has fascinated me as a kid watching Disney's Dinosaur and (of course) Jurassic Park as much as it does today as an adult, getting excited about books by paleontologists like Steve Brusatte. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is an absolute joy to read and now possibly my favorite book on the subject. Brusatte specialized in the anatomy and evolution of dinosaurs and uses this book to retell the story of those ancient creatures: from their first appearance in the Triassic era to them becoming dominant during the Jurassic Era only to eventually die out when an asteroid or comet hit the Earth. It is an approachable read and Brusatte is able to form a narrative that is both engaging and informative. This book particularly focusses on their evolutionary development, which I appreciated. We all know about evolution and how it operates, but I felt like reading this gave me a completely new understanding of how crucial and all-encompassing evolution is to all life on Earth. Even a tyrannosaurus rex didn't just pop up one day and decided to take the golden place at the top of the food chain, but could only become who he was after thousands of years' worth of development. Brusatte loosens the narrative up by adding personal stories, which are delightful if you are interested in paleontology as an academic field. He talks about various encounters with peers and his own heroes, their works and discoveries and thereby manages to evoke a vivid picture of what the world of paleontologists is like - including which questions of nature are yet to be answered. He also comes clean with some misconceptions we have about dinosaurs (yes, birds are dinosaurs, so technically they are not extinct and no, that iconic scene from Jurassic Park in which a T. rex chases the escaping jeep would certainly not have played out like that). This book is exciting. It made me realize how it is not just the stories we make up that are exciting. It is our own, real and breathing world that is.
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  • Petra
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fun look at the development and world of the dinosaurs. Stephen Brusatte stated the interesting recent finds regarding dinosaurs and speculated, from the evidence, what their world could have been like. The section of what happened when the asteroid hit Earth was frightening. Those poor beasts. There is some name dropping and a bit of "patting one self on the back" at one's brilliancy but then the top Scientists of all disciplines are brilliant, so perhaps that's an understood fact. No This is a fun look at the development and world of the dinosaurs. Stephen Brusatte stated the interesting recent finds regarding dinosaurs and speculated, from the evidence, what their world could have been like. The section of what happened when the asteroid hit Earth was frightening. Those poor beasts. There is some name dropping and a bit of "patting one self on the back" at one's brilliancy but then the top Scientists of all disciplines are brilliant, so perhaps that's an understood fact. Not annoying but noticeable throughout the book. All in all, I recommend this book if interested in the world that was at the time of dinosaurs. Lots of interesting information, told in an enjoyable, understandable way.
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  • Bfisher
    January 1, 1970
    The actual pop science part of this book is OK - a reasonably readable account of recent developments and discoveries in the sciences bearing of the history of the dinosaurs. If it had been edited to that level, it could have been a solid 3 stars.Unfortunately, there is a peculiar injection of personalities into this book, and unpleasant personalities at that - imagine a cross of Animal House with Raiders of the Lost Arc. I finished reading this book because of my interest in the science, but I The actual pop science part of this book is OK - a reasonably readable account of recent developments and discoveries in the sciences bearing of the history of the dinosaurs. If it had been edited to that level, it could have been a solid 3 stars.Unfortunately, there is a peculiar injection of personalities into this book, and unpleasant personalities at that - imagine a cross of Animal House with Raiders of the Lost Arc. I finished reading this book because of my interest in the science, but I had to grit my teeth frequently.
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  • Melissa Stewart
    January 1, 1970
    It’s not easy to put scientists’ current understanding of the whole dinosaur world into perspective, but this book accomplishes that feat beautifully. The narrative writing style is so friendly and accessible that readers can sit back and enjoy the ride as Brusatte takes us on a captivating chronological tour of the Mesozoic—the Age of Reptiles—beginning about 250 million years ago and ending 66 million years ago with the famous asteroid (or comet) impact that wiped out all the dinosaurs except It’s not easy to put scientists’ current understanding of the whole dinosaur world into perspective, but this book accomplishes that feat beautifully. The narrative writing style is so friendly and accessible that readers can sit back and enjoy the ride as Brusatte takes us on a captivating chronological tour of the Mesozoic—the Age of Reptiles—beginning about 250 million years ago and ending 66 million years ago with the famous asteroid (or comet) impact that wiped out all the dinosaurs except birds. I enjoyed learning about the dinosauromorphs—dinosaur-like reptiles that lived at the same time as early dinosaurs but are not considered part of the group. At one time, scientists used a half dozen anatomical traits to differentiate the two groups, but recent fossil finds suggest that the line between the two groups is extremely blurry. I was also interested in the discussion of carcharodontosaurs—ferocious carnivorous dinosaurs that had their heyday before tyrannosaurs rose to power. Not surprisingly, my favorite chapter focused on the mighty T. rex. It began with a dramatic narrative hunting scene and then highlighted how the work of scientists—men and women—from around the world has contributed to our understanding the mighty beast. The descriptions of recent cutting-edge techniques were especially vibrant and fascinating.The chapter about how the world changed following the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs (except birds) really puts the reader in the middle of the action. The carefully crafted you-are-there scene setting gave me a strong sense of what Earth was like and how horrible it would have been to experience it. I also enjoyed reading what we know about the transition from dinosaurs to modern day birds.Throughout the text, Brusatte includes engaging personal anecdotes that give readers a flavor of what life as a paleontologist is like. My favorites described some of the discoveries he and his colleagues have made in the field, such as recognizing a sauropod trackway on the Isle of Skye in Scotland and unearthing a trio of Triceratops (playfully named Homer, Bart, and Lisa after the “Simpsons” characters) at Hell Creek in Montana.Traditionally, paleontology has been a white, male world, and this book accurately represents that. But I was glad to see that Brusatte balances those sections by repeatedly drawing attention to the important work of female colleagues as well as the contributions of a diverse array of scientists from around the world. Finally, I appreciated Brusatte’s ability to poke fun at himself. One of my favorite narrative sections recounts how, as a teenager, he had the audacity to cold call Walter Alvarez—one of the world’s leading paleontologists. Amazingly, Alvarez took the call! Many years later, when Brusatte met his idol, Alvarez remembered speaking with him. Scenes like this helped me connect with the author and understand (and admire) the depth of his passion and enthusiasm for dinosaurs.
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  • K.J. Charles
    January 1, 1970
    A mostly very readable account of modern palaeontology, especially some of the incredibly clever ways people are researching them. Gives a really vivid picture of the Mesozoic world and its creatures as moving, eating, breeding things. Some great history of the science too, if a bit laddish at points in the insistent "hey we drink beer we definitely aren't nerds". I don't know whether at this point in human history it's comfortable or not to reflect that the earth has seen multiple animal kingdo A mostly very readable account of modern palaeontology, especially some of the incredibly clever ways people are researching them. Gives a really vivid picture of the Mesozoic world and its creatures as moving, eating, breeding things. Some great history of the science too, if a bit laddish at points in the insistent "hey we drink beer we definitely aren't nerds". I don't know whether at this point in human history it's comfortable or not to reflect that the earth has seen multiple animal kingdoms wiped out when soaring carbon dioxide turned the atmosphere into an oven. There's a kind of comfort in looking at it from a cosmic level, I guess?
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  • Zachary F.
    January 1, 1970
    Like many kids, I went through a major dinosaur phase. My bedroom was dinosaur-themed, I memorized a whole slew of lengthy Latinate species names with their corresponding attributes, and I toted around a humongous book of dinosaurs (entitled The Humongous Book of Dinosaurs ) until it was tattered and dog-eared. I'm not so obsessed now, but I still get excited when I imagine the fantastical menagerie of creatures that used to populate our planet, and I think it's kind of weird and sad that such Like many kids, I went through a major dinosaur phase. My bedroom was dinosaur-themed, I memorized a whole slew of lengthy Latinate species names with their corresponding attributes, and I toted around a humongous book of dinosaurs (entitled The Humongous Book of Dinosaurs ) until it was tattered and dog-eared. I'm not so obsessed now, but I still get excited when I imagine the fantastical menagerie of creatures that used to populate our planet, and I think it's kind of weird and sad that such a rich topic is considered by most adults to be kids' stuff—as if anything which isn't directly relevant to human life today isn't worth thinking about at all. Naturally, when I saw this beautiful new book (for adults!) at the library where I work, I had to pick it up.It ended up being kind of an odd read, because, while the subject matter was consistently fascinating enough to keep me turning pages all the way through, I found the voice and personality of the author to be just as consistently grating. The result was a strange sort of cognitive dissonance which I guess is similar to what people mean when they talk about their "guilty pleasures": at no point did I feel like it was a waste of time or want to stop reading, but I also spent the whole thing half-annoyed and acutely aware of the stuff I didn't like.Let's cover the positives first. As an overview of 150 million years or more of dinosaur evolution, from their earliest emergence to their eventual extinction (or rather near-extinction, since, as Brusatte is at pains to point out, modern birds are the dinos' direct descendants), the book does exactly what it's supposed to. Once-hazy (for me) details about the prehistoric timeline, the evolutionary family tree, and the mechanics of extinction came into clearer focus, and there were a lot of great factoids and details I never learned (and which, for that matter, probably weren't even known yet) during my childhood dino phase.*** A few facts that stuck with me :1) Brontosaurus is back to being a real dinosaur again (when I was a kid the consensus was that it wasn't), and there's little doubt now that a meteor/asteroid caused the Cretaceous extinction. (Back then you still heard that it was anyone's guess.)-2) In addition to the many dinosaurs which we now know had feathered appendages, there was at least one which actually had membranous wings like a bat. A feathered, lizardlike creature with bat wings? Sounds like a dragon if ever there was one. (Even if it was only the size of a pigeon.)-3) The dinosaurs first evolved when the supercontinent Pangea was more or less still in one piece, but by the time they died out tens of millions of years later the landmasses had drifted to almost their current positions. The geographically vague picture I think many of us have of the dinosaur age, with all the species living together in pretty much the same ecosystem, was basically reality in those early days, but later on when iconic dinos like T. Rex and triceratops were doing their thing there was just as much regional variation as with our modern animals. Those two species I just named actually lived exclusively in what's now western North America—in other words, even our conception of prehistoric megafauna has a serious U.S.-centric slant. (That's my own inference; Brusatte never delves into the sociopolitical implications.) In Europe, which during the Cretaceous was little more than a series of islands, there were actually miniature versions of all the bigger dinos running around instead!***So for that kind of info, this book is great. Brusatte even frames each chapter with a discussion of the major fossil discoveries and paleontological work that allow us to know such things without having been there, which I think is almost essential when writing about animals who are understood exclusively from their fossilized bones and byproducts. But it's also in these sections where Brusatte's more irritating characteristics are on full display, so with that I'll pivot to the negative.There's this trend I've noticed in pop science books where the author will try to draw the reader in and "humanize" the subject matter with personal anecdotes: "Here's an interesting experience I had that was related to the science thing I'm about to talk about, so now you have a reason to care about it too." Brusatte does this constantly, but the simple truth is that most people picking up a book called The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs probably don't need a dull story about that time you looked at some cool rocks in Poland or the total rager of a paleontology conference (his enthusiasm, not mine) you attended in Brazil a decade ago in order to be interested in the giant, flesh-eating, bird/reptile hybrids you've promised to describe to us. It just distracts from the real meat of the book.Even worse, Brusatte is a chronic name-dropper. It's not enough simply to shout out his influential colleagues, he's got to delineate exactly what professional relationship he shares with each of them, how well they get along (spoiler: he's best friends with everyone in the field), and more often than not the critical role he himself played in shaping their major discoveries. He wants very much to paint paleontologists as a cool and quirky bunch, with a word about everyone's fashion sense and personal hobbies and a frat boy fascination with their drinking habits, but the unfortunate result is that most of these apparently-brilliant scientific professionals end up coming off as the sort of try-hard "characters" you'd do your best to avoid at a party. And that's just the men. Women, on the rare occasion they're mentioned at all, are glossed over almost without a remark, and never receive the same hagiography as their male colleagues. Brusatte certainly isn’t solely responsible for the exclusion of women from the sciences, but for someone so eager to position himself as a major voice for his field, he sure doesn’t seem to mind the disparity much. (And that's not even getting into the cringey racial/nationalistic comments, e.g. ". . . he seemed to be a little darker than most of the Poles I knew. Tanned, almost. There was something vaguely sinister about him. . .") Even when dealing with the dinos themselves, Brusatte's writing leaves something to be desired. He's definitely readable and competent at the sentence level, but his tone throughout the book is so breezy and so full of high-powered adjectives that at times I wondered if he wasn't sacrificing accuracy for cheap excitement. Probably the most overt example of this is when he describes a particular fossilized creature two different times as "mule-sized," only to include a photo which makes it clear the thing was hardly as big as a golden retriever. Maybe an innocent mistake, but a worrying one in a book that purports to be laying down hard scientific fact. What's more, he absolutely loves all that old-timey, imperialism-tinged language about the dinos conquering and colonizing and ruling over their domain, which reaches its zenith in the eye-rollingly effusive chapter about T. Rex ("What feast befits the King?" "Like so many monarchs, Rex was a glutton.") I know he's trying to appeal to a popular audience here, but it's still jarring to see that kind of lens applied so earnestly and uncritically in 2018.In the end, Brusatte puts me in a weird position. Given the dearth of up-to-date dinosaur writing for the adult layperson, I'm glad someone stepped up to fill the niche. I just wish the someone in question had been, you know, anyone other than the guy who ended up doing it. My hope is that the success of this book will inspire a wave of new releases on prehistoric life. Until then I'll recommend Brusatte’s, but only with a long list of caveats.
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  • RM(Alwaysdaddygirl) Griffin (alwaysdaddyprincess)
    January 1, 1970
    This book is wonderful! I loved how this book was written that everyone can understand it. I feel that will help draw folks to the science world. I borrow this book from the library. However, I plan to buy it and will read this again. I learned so much! At the last moment, I decided to prolong finishing the book. This book is one that you do not want to end. All of my above reasons are why I give this book 5 stars. I recommend this book to science lovers, history lovers, and those that want to l This book is wonderful! I loved how this book was written that everyone can understand it. I feel that will help draw folks to the science world. I borrow this book from the library. However, I plan to buy it and will read this again. I learned so much! At the last moment, I decided to prolong finishing the book. This book is one that you do not want to end. All of my above reasons are why I give this book 5 stars. I recommend this book to science lovers, history lovers, and those that want to learn about dinosaurs. 🇺🇸🐾
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  • Lata
    January 1, 1970
    I caught the dino bug when I was probably seven years old, and have never stopped being utterly entranced by these amazing creatures. Much of what I learned as a child about the big lizards has since been refuted by new fossils, better analysis, and new research. Stephen Brusatte caught the dino bug when he was young and became a vertebrate paleontologist. His passion comes through loud and clear in this book, as he takes his readers from ancient history to the end of most dinosaurs on this plan I caught the dino bug when I was probably seven years old, and have never stopped being utterly entranced by these amazing creatures. Much of what I learned as a child about the big lizards has since been refuted by new fossils, better analysis, and new research. Stephen Brusatte caught the dino bug when he was young and became a vertebrate paleontologist. His passion comes through loud and clear in this book, as he takes his readers from ancient history to the end of most dinosaurs on this planet, starting with the biggest mass extinction on this planet at the end of the Permian age; this die-off made way for some unusual reptiles with a different body plan than many of their peers that proved to be amazingly successful for these reptiles and their countless descendants for millennia afterwards through the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous ages. Though I was already familiar with much that Brusatte covered, his writing style made the material approachable and easy to understand. There were not as many images as I would have liked; despite my familiarity with many of the creatures, it’s still hard to remember the little differences between similar individuals in a group, and more drawings would have been helpful.I particularly liked Brusatte's chapters on the Permian-Triassic transition, tyrannosaurs, birds, and the extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous especially. I am a fan of theropods, and Brusatte is clearly a huge fan of the tyrannosaurids. He tended to wax a little melodramatic about these carnivorous dinosaurs, but then it's a little hard not to be in awe of such terrifying beings. (Especially the huge carnivorous members of this group.)This book was a good refresher on many points about dinosaurs, and the author's writing style and obvious enthusiasm for the subject made this an enjoyable read.
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  • GoldGato
    January 1, 1970
    Those darn dinosaurs.If things had unfolded a little differently back then, who knows what the modern world would be like? It's like wondering what might have happened if the archduke was never shot.The whole these-were-the-coolest-beings-that-ever-roamed-the-earth moniker has always made me a dino fan. The amazing variations of these huge oddballs have always been intriguing and this book does its best to piece everything together. Which is a very good thing, because there have been so many new Those darn dinosaurs.If things had unfolded a little differently back then, who knows what the modern world would be like? It's like wondering what might have happened if the archduke was never shot.The whole these-were-the-coolest-beings-that-ever-roamed-the-earth moniker has always made me a dino fan. The amazing variations of these huge oddballs have always been intriguing and this book does its best to piece everything together. Which is a very good thing, because there have been so many new discoveries and new theories since I was a child that I lost track of which was the coolest dino (welcome back, Brontosaurus).Steve Brusatte is one of the world's eminent paleontologists whose other books, especially Field Guide to Dinosaurs, have made me a fan of his writing and his obvious enthusiasm for his work. Here, he charts the very beginnings of the dinosaur, even before they evolved. He starts with the Permian Extinction, which eliminated 95% of life on earth. Somehow, some little things survived and that eventually led the way for the bigger things to arrive later on. Right off, his description of the Great Dying kept me glued to the pages as the volcanoes spewed forth lava mud and carbon dioxide. How anything managed to live through all of that is simply amazing.As the dinosaurs grew, the earth was also changing, with the continents moving toward their current locations and the environment becoming a bit nicer. Well, nicer like walking outside at noon during an Alabama summer. The dinosaurs became larger and larger and ruled the world until the day that nasty asteroid slammed into Earth. Then, Brusatte relates what it must have felt like to wake up that day as a dino, thinking you were just going about your business as usual. Nope. Any dinosaur too close to the impact was vaporised while the ones further away endured boiling hot hail, mammoth earthquakes, renewed lava flows, loss of sun, loss of trees, and ergo, loss of life. The dinosaurs didn't all die at once, he states, but probably over a few hundred or few thousand years. Given the fact that they had been around for millions of years, the dinosaur extinction was relatively quick.The book doesn't just end with the catastrophic impact but instead continues with the rise of the birds, our current dinosaurs. All very fascinating. While there are some b&w illustrations at the beginning of each chapter, the book is mostly text with various photos of fossils and the paleontologists who discovered the dino fossils. That's because this book is as much a tribute to the men and women who found those dragon bones as it is to the dinosaur. I deducted a star for the continuous focus on the author (we get it, Steve, you like dinosaurs and you go on lots of expeditions). So pretty good book, but it forced me to check out another library book (The Great Dinosaur Discoveries) so I could see the actual illustrations of what these big brutes would have looked like.That darn asteroid.Book Season = Year Round (looking at the finches with suspicion)
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    It has been 20 years since my youngest son was 8-years old and obsessed with ‘all things dinosaur’. There have been amazing breakthroughs in our knowledge regarding dinosaurs; and with the advent of grandsons, it was clearly time for me to ‘up my game’!Brusatte has written a highly readable account of those new advances. He is an enthusiastic fossil hunter that takes the reader around the world from Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch “bursting with dinosaur bones”; to Hell Creek, Montana—a Triceratop It has been 20 years since my youngest son was 8-years old and obsessed with ‘all things dinosaur’. There have been amazing breakthroughs in our knowledge regarding dinosaurs; and with the advent of grandsons, it was clearly time for me to ‘up my game’!Brusatte has written a highly readable account of those new advances. He is an enthusiastic fossil hunter that takes the reader around the world from Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch “bursting with dinosaur bones”; to Hell Creek, Montana—a Triceratops graveyard; to China and its plethora of feather-covered fossils; and to Italy where a thin layer of iridium indicates that an asteroid hit the earth 66 million years ago.I admit that I enjoy reading about how paleontologists have determined that dinosaurs had feathers; that they were colored, and likely proved to be advantageous in attracting mates. And those dinosaurs that later became birds may have first used wing action to attract more attention, and just stumbled upon how wing action could result in gliding and eventually flying. It just takes a few millennia to make it happen.The number of new discoveries regarding dinosaurs over the past twenty years is mind-boggling. I look forward to learning more in the next twenty. Recommend.
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  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    As with most people I went through a dinosaur phase as a kid where I could list off a list of Latin and Greek scientific names of extinct reptiles that was around ten times longer than the list of politicians I'd ever heard of. I got to go through the same thing when my kids went through the phase as well and I got all caught up with things like Walking With Dinosaurs and its ilk. Which is all a round-about way of saying that I thought of myself as being fairly well-informed about paleontology, As with most people I went through a dinosaur phase as a kid where I could list off a list of Latin and Greek scientific names of extinct reptiles that was around ten times longer than the list of politicians I'd ever heard of. I got to go through the same thing when my kids went through the phase as well and I got all caught up with things like Walking With Dinosaurs and its ilk. Which is all a round-about way of saying that I thought of myself as being fairly well-informed about paleontology, at least from a pop-science perspective.This book did an excellent job of bringing that pop-science overview of the field much more up-to-date. For instance, I was aware that paleontology in China had been going off with some really exciting discoveries, but I had no idea how key that has been to the overall understanding of dinosaur lineage. There also appears to be some fairly exciting new thinking about the origin of dinosaurs and the early period of the Triassic that I was entirely unaware of.In short, this is a great book for establishing an up-to-date popular science-level overview of the dinosaur element of paleontology, all made that much more engaging by a series of personal anecdotes from the author and his own career and interaction with his peers.
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  • Peter Tillman
    January 1, 1970
    Off to a good start. I prefer to read pop-science books written by scientists, and Brusatte is a young, working vertebrate paleontologist at the Univ. of Edinburgh. Like all of us, he caught the dino bug when he was a kid. Unlike most, he made a career of it, and it's been an interesting one. Dino books are generally written by seniors, so it's fun to see one of the "young guns" take up the pen (or computer). Brusatte is an adequate writer, which is fine, since he's got some great stories to tel Off to a good start. I prefer to read pop-science books written by scientists, and Brusatte is a young, working vertebrate paleontologist at the Univ. of Edinburgh. Like all of us, he caught the dino bug when he was a kid. Unlike most, he made a career of it, and it's been an interesting one. Dino books are generally written by seniors, so it's fun to see one of the "young guns" take up the pen (or computer). Brusatte is an adequate writer, which is fine, since he's got some great stories to tell. And it's a great time for the field -- he says that lately, there's a new dino species described, on average, every week!The good quality continues, and I enjoyed the book, although I got dino-overload at times. He's a decent writer, but the prose gets purple, as in the Great Asteroid that (probably) killed off the dinosaurs (except for the birds!). His science is up-to-date, and I recommend the book, especially for dinosaur fans. 3.8 stars.Here's a nice sample, that is (I think) pretty much a chapter in the book:https://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...
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  • Krista
    January 1, 1970
    The rise and fall of the dinosaurs is an incredible story, of a time when giant beasts and other fantastic creatures made the world their own. They walked on the very ground below us, their fossils now entombed in rock – the clues that tell this story. To me, it's one of the greatest narratives in the history of our planet. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is thoroughly enjoyable pop science: author (and celebrated young paleontologist) Steve Brusatte uses his own learning journey to outline The rise and fall of the dinosaurs is an incredible story, of a time when giant beasts and other fantastic creatures made the world their own. They walked on the very ground below us, their fossils now entombed in rock – the clues that tell this story. To me, it's one of the greatest narratives in the history of our planet. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is thoroughly enjoyable pop science: author (and celebrated young paleontologist) Steve Brusatte uses his own learning journey to outline the exciting advances occurring today in his field (he calls this the “golden age” of paleontology, noting that new species of dinosaurs are discovered/described at the astounding rate of about one per week), and not only did I learn new and fascinating information from the deep history of our remarkable planet, but I found Brusatte's enthusiasm to be contagious. Who doesn't love dinosaurs? Totally accessible (but fact-filled) and balanced with personal stories (which I acknowledge might strain the patience of those of a more academic bent), it all worked for me.Early on, Brusatte – who is a Chancellor's Fellow in Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Edinburgh – refers to his “ebullient, wildly animated lecturing style”, and for the purposes of this review, I'd rather demonstrate this ebullience than attempt to list everything that Brusatte taught me. On the sauropods whose tracks he studied on the Scottish Isle of Skye: There's really no better way to say it: the sauropods that made their marks in that ancient Scottish lagoon were awesome creatures. Awesome in the literal sense of the word – impressive, daunting, inspiring awe. If I was handed a blank sheet of paper and pen and told to create a mythical beast, my imagination could never match what evolution created in sauropods. Brusatte devotes plenty of breathless space to the Tyrannosaurus rex – including debunking what Jurassic Park got wrong about the apex predators (turns out that their eyesight was perfectly sharp, but they couldn't have outrun a jeep) – and writes, “The seat of Rex's power was its head. It was a killing machine, torture chamber for its prey, and an evil mask all in one.” And after having repeatedly referred to T. Rex arms as “sad” and “pathetic”, Brusatte shares new research that has determined, based on strong shoulder extensors and elbow flexors, the Rex used these “short but strong arms to hold down struggling prey while the jaws did their bone-crunching thing. The arms were accessories to murder.” Murder! The writing gets amped up when T. Rex meets its favourite meal:Triceratops, like its archnemesis T. rex, is a dinosaur icon. In films and documentaries, it usually plays the gentle, sympathetic plant-eater, the perfect dramatic foil to the Tyrant King. Sherlock versus Moriarty, Batman versus the Joker, Trike versus Rex. But it's not all movie magic; no, these two dinosaurs truly would have been rivals 66 million years ago...The King needed immense amounts of flesh to fuel its metabolism; its three-horned comrade was fourteen tons of slow-moving prime steak. You can figure out what happened next.So, you either enjoy a professor writing like a teenaged dino-fanboy, or you don't. Interspersed with the timeline of dinosaur evolution, Brusatte outlines the history of fossil hunting from the “Bone Wars” (which saw 19th-century rivals Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh sending out teams of mercenaries to hunt for bones for their individual glory; in the pursuit of which they weren't above stealing, lying, and sabotaging each other's sites) to the academics of today. In addition to referring to individuals as the “hot shots” or “rock stars” or the “Rat Pack” of paleontology, Brusatte proves that paleontologists just might be a special breed unto themselves. Barnum Brown, the first celebrity paleontologist at the turn of the twentieth century, prospected for dino bones in high summer “decked out in his fur coat with his pickaxe slung over his shoulder”. Baron Franz Nopcsa von Felső-Szilvás – an adventurer, WWI spy, and the first paleobiologist – was a “flamboyant dandy and a tragic genius, whose exploits hunting dinosaurs in Transylvania were brief respites from the insanity of the rest of his life. Dracula, in all seriousness, has nothing on the Dinosaur Baron.” And as for Brusatte's modern day colleagues:Thomas Carr – my absinthe-drinking, Goth-dressing friend who studies T. rex – was with us on the expedition and was part of this team. Clad in khaki (it was far too hot for his usual all-black getup) and sucking down Gatorade by the gallon (absinthe was more of an indoor pursuit), he attacked the mudstones with his rock hammer (which he nicknamed Warrior) and his pickaxe (Warlord), exposing a number of new Triceratops bones.And working on the other side of the world in China, Brusatte describes another rising star: Jingmai (O'Connor) calls herself a paleontologista – fitting given her fashionista style of leopard-print Lycra, piercings, and tattoos, all of which are at home in the club but stand out (in a good way) among the plaid-and-beard crowd that dominates academia. A native of Southern California – half Irish, half-Chinese by blood – Jingmai is a Roman Candle of energy – delivering caustic one-liners one moment, speaking in eloquent paragraphs about politics the next, and then it's on to music or art or her own unique brand of Buddhist philosophy. Oh yes, and she’s also the world’s number-one expert on those first birds that broke the bounds of Earth to fly above their dinosaur ancestors. And speaking of the first birds: as uncomfortable as I find this book's cover art – depicting a wispily feathered T. rex confronting wispily feathered prey dinos – that's a mental-shift I'll need to force myself to make: Brusatte makes the incontrovertible case that all true dinosaurs (not crocs or other proto-reptiles) were in a direct line to modern day birds and shared many of the same body features (flow-through lungs, wishbones, and yes, feathers; there's a paleontologist working today who can even determine the colours of their plumage). But, if I can mentally shift the T. rex from the upright Barney-the-dinosaur stance depicted in my youth to the balanced-forward pose accepted today, I suppose I can eventually re-imagine it covered in feathers. After all of the enthusiasm Brusatte displays for the rise and evolutionary success of the dinosaurs, the final chapter on their sudden demise is urgently and tragically related:It was the worst day in the history of our planet. A few hours of unimaginable violence that undid more than 150 million years of evolution and set life on a new course. T. rex was there to see it.An impact from a meteorite (or possibly comet), hitting with the force of “a billion nuclear bombs' worth of energy”, caused the near total extinction of the earth's most successful and widespread species (excepting, of course, for those dinosaurs who survived to evolve into what we think of as birds). The good news is that this catastrophic event paved the wave for the rise of the mammals, and us; the bad news is that we're no more special than the dinosaurs, and catastrophes – including those of our own making – can strike at any time. If you like your pop science poppy, this is an entertaining and informative read.
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  • Gorab Jain
    January 1, 1970
    How I wish there was a time machine and I could go back and experience the dinosaurs live in action - off course from a safe spot!Reading through this book is that time machine.What I loved:- The science of deduction and simplistic narration, churning out facts from speculations.- How the changes in world geography gave way to the evolution of dinosaurs?- Why and how their bodies triggered and sustained the growth into giants?- The evolutionary purpose of various body parts.- The skin color and How I wish there was a time machine and I could go back and experience the dinosaurs live in action - off course from a safe spot!Reading through this book is that time machine.What I loved:- The science of deduction and simplistic narration, churning out facts from speculations.- How the changes in world geography gave way to the evolution of dinosaurs?- Why and how their bodies triggered and sustained the growth into giants?- The evolutionary purpose of various body parts.- The skin color and texture estimation from the fossils.- Dedicated chapter on TRex :)- All the possible causes of their extinction, and proven evidence to deduce the most plausible cause.- Last but not the least - directions to get to the living dinosaurs in today's world ;) [No kidding!]Even till date, more and more fossils containing newer species of dinosuars are getting discovered, giving phenomenal insights about them.Clubbed with the technological breakthroughs, this gets better by the day!Overall: Highly recommended!Reading this book will help to not only enhance the way you watch Jurassic movies, but also the way you observe the world around you.
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  • Renee Amberg
    January 1, 1970
    Nothing lasts forever. This book does a fantastic job at showing how elaborately complex and diverse our planet truly is. It puts perspective on “our” life and “our” Earth and how we really don’t know it all. All we have are the few pieces of evidence of a life completely different from our own. I really appreciate all the researchers and paleontologists who put their time and energy, (and sometimes their life) into helping us better understand these eras and species long gone. The end really ma Nothing lasts forever. This book does a fantastic job at showing how elaborately complex and diverse our planet truly is. It puts perspective on “our” life and “our” Earth and how we really don’t know it all. All we have are the few pieces of evidence of a life completely different from our own. I really appreciate all the researchers and paleontologists who put their time and energy, (and sometimes their life) into helping us better understand these eras and species long gone. The end really made me sad. Seeing these beautiful creatures end so abruptly (and in the way that it did) is such a shame. However, few of these creatures did leave their footprint to give future species, like us, proof and imagination of an insanely different time here on Earth. Just imagine all the things we don’t know because we don’t have proof, haven’t found it yet, or might have wrong. It’s surreal to think about. That said, I do wish the author talked less about the people who studied the fossils and more about the dinosaurs. I also wish he threw in more pictures of what he was explaining so I could get a picture of what he was discussing. I found myself with my phone in one hand and the book in the other, constantly looking up pictures of the dinosaurs he mentioned, the eras, and anything he named and just assumed the reader knew.
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  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    Even though I love dinosaurs, I don't really read science books...ever. So, I was surprised I liked this book, let alone finished it. It was quite informative, especially for those, like me, who haven't been able to keep up with all of the findings in this subject for the last couple of decades. I think I liked this book because it was part memoir as well as science. The author has a sense of humor, and is only three years older than me, so his pop culture and generation comments were right on p Even though I love dinosaurs, I don't really read science books...ever. So, I was surprised I liked this book, let alone finished it. It was quite informative, especially for those, like me, who haven't been able to keep up with all of the findings in this subject for the last couple of decades. I think I liked this book because it was part memoir as well as science. The author has a sense of humor, and is only three years older than me, so his pop culture and generation comments were right on par. He does mention the film Jurassic Park several times, though usually to disprove some of their science. I only had one complaint: No color pictures! I was surprised how much this bugged me, but as the author described such beautiful landscapes of where he was digging, and then only provided a black and white photograph, the beauty was lost on me. I realize it's cheaper to publish without color photos, and paleontologists most likely don't make bank, but the author is the "resident paleontologist for BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs" so I think color photographs isn't too much to ask. The illustrations were lovely though, even if they portrayed the dinos with feathers...I guess I can't deny a lot of dinosaurs had feathers anymore since I've now read this. Dinosaurs just don't seem as cool with them.I will just mention that I have my own personal opinion on evolution. This book talks a lot about the evolution of dinosaurs. I am religious, which probably has a lot to do with it, but I never quite agreed fully with the author on this subject.Overall, I recommend it!2018 challenge: A book with an animal in the title
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  • Girish
    January 1, 1970
    Phew! A pop history on Dinosaurs written by a Paleantologist is enough to trigger your curiosity and awaken the science geek in you. However, you do worry about a Ross Geller level book you will be stuck with for ages. Stephen Brusatte is more Douglas Adams than Ross Geller and he tells a story that is at once engaging and enlightening. Imagine a huge jigsaw puzzle that has to pieced together. The challenge is that the pieces are found years apart and you have dedicated science heroes who try to Phew! A pop history on Dinosaurs written by a Paleantologist is enough to trigger your curiosity and awaken the science geek in you. However, you do worry about a Ross Geller level book you will be stuck with for ages. Stephen Brusatte is more Douglas Adams than Ross Geller and he tells a story that is at once engaging and enlightening. Imagine a huge jigsaw puzzle that has to pieced together. The challenge is that the pieces are found years apart and you have dedicated science heroes who try to make the best image possible with the pieces they have. And the frustration that lasts for decades when you realise there are missing pieces. That has been the story of piecing together the history of one of the most fascinating creatures that inhabited the earth.What Brusatte has done is not just laying out the facts (and theories) but also a tribute to all the paleontologists who have played a part in building the current understanding. Starting from the Permian period fossils through the Triassic age till the Jurassic and Cretaceous - the author paints a picture that is hard to ignore of complex foodchains, rise of apex predators and the entire evolution journey on fast forward. The journey is mapped through the work of paleontologists, geologists and collectors whose stories, quirks and anecdotes too are part of this book. The history of Dinosaurs cannot be narrated without the history of the planet and hence we get a lot of information on movement of continent, rise of oceans and rise of life in general.There is a chapter dedicated to Tyranosorus Rex (Tyrant King) which almost worships the larger than life (most lives, at least) predators. The author does not miss an opportunity to compare notes and point errata to the Jurassic Park movie, which is the introduction to most of us who are googling images today. The linkage to birds apart, the single mass extinction theory that brought an end to cretareous is more like the dominant theory that most paleantologists subscribe to. He actually describes a meeting of paleantologists in 2012 to discuss the validity of the theory where everyone agreed. This is only what we know.. so far.. A good book that presents facts actually allows you to understand the origin of popular theories without judging them - like the science of Phrenology which took off in the same period classifying human beings from different continents as different species. Today we grow uncomfortable knowing that gave grounds to Eugenics and later persecution of races in terms of superiority. Scientists are impervious to the implications of truth. The book makes you ask a lot more questions and for that reason alone, I loved it. A joyride!
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