Thursday, May 10, 2007
My Favorite Dinosaur Book
This is one of those books that’s great in a dozen different ways.
Just about everything anyone would ever want to know about dinosaurs is at least touched on in one way or another in this book. It’s a great survey of paleontology in general.
Some of the most interesting topics in paleontology are covered in great detail. The hot blooded versus cold blooded debate. The linkage between contemporary birds and dinosaurs. The questions surrounding various extinctions throughout the epochs.
Also some relatively obscure and very interesting topics are covered in depth. What dinosaur tracks tell us about how the animals’ shoulders were structured and how that compares to contemporary animals. Predator and prey ratios and what that tells us about lifestyles of the creatures. Odd precursors to the dinosaurs and how their characteristics evolved into dinosaurs.
Throughout the book Bakker writes with a blend of erudition and anecdote that makes reading fun. He is obviously passionate about dinosaurs and their world(s) and he shares both his knowledge of them and his love for them on almost every page.
Finally, like many non-fiction books which really stand out, this book is illustrated by the author. The illustrations are black and white, but they are all beautiful, dramatic and startlingly realistic.