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Feathered Dinosaurs: The Origin of Birds Hardcover – September 1, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0195372663 ISBN-10: 0195372662 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"With this handsome field guide you can spend an afternoon happily 'proto-birding' as it were, without leaving your living room."--Natural History


"This volume is thought-provoking and attractive, and anyone (of any age) interested in dinosaurs will enjoy looking at it."--ScienceBlogs


"The author and artist are to be congratulated on this superb book about the discoveries of feathered dinosaurs and their relationship to the origin of birds."--Zhonghe Zhou, Senior Research Fellow and Acting Director, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences


"An astonishing glimpse of the world of dinosaurs. Something you could never imagine."--Tim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers


"An unprecedented visual record of one of the most significant breakthroughs in the history of vertebrate paleontology--the discovery that a diversity of predatory dinosaurs were cloaked with feathers, perhaps just as colorful and fanciful as those of their living relatives."--Luis M. Chiappe, Director, The Dinosaur Institute, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles


About the Author


John Long is Head of Sciences for Museum Victoria, Australia. A renowned paleontologist, he has collected fossils in Antarctica, Africa, throughout Asia, and has worked extensively in North America, Europe, and in every part of Australia. He has written or co-authored some 24 books, and in 2001 won Australia's prestigious Eureka Prize for the Public Promotion of Science.
Peter Schouten is an award-winning artist and illustrator of natural history books. His books include A Gap in Nature and Astonishing Animals. He spent two years working on the 80 magnificent illustrations in this book.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195372662
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195372663
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Long born in Melbourne and began collecting fossils there at age 7. In 1971 he won the Victorian Science Talent Search major junior division prize for his work on fossils. John graduated with PhD from Monash University in 1984, and spent 6 years as a postdoctoral researcher in palaeontology at universities in Canberra, Perth (as A QEII fellow) and Tasmania before being appointed at the Western Australian Museum in 1989 as Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology. In 2004 John returned to Melbourne as the new Head of Sciences for Museum Victoria. In 2009 he was appointed as the Vice President of Research and Collections at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, California.

John's research has focussed on the early evolution of vertebrates (fishes) as well as dinosaurs and general evolutionary theory. He has collected fossils in Antarctica (2 expeditions), Africa, throughout Asia, and has worked extensively in North America and Europe and in every part of Australia. His gruelling expeditions to Antarctica are documented in his book "Mountains of Madness- A Journey Through Antarctica" (Allen & Unwin 2000). He has published over 200 scientific papers and general science articles, and some 28 books. He has named more than 50 new species of prehistoric creatures. His most recent major papers contributed to solving some of the biggest problems in palaeontology- what killed the Australian megafauna, how fish contributed to the origins of the first land animals, and 2 papers on the origins of sex in vertebrates (all 4 published 2006-09 in the journal Nature).

In 2001 John won the prestigious Eureka Prize for the Public Promotion of Science. In 2003 he was awarded the Riversleigh Society Medal for promoting understanding of Australia's prehistoric past. In 2003 his book "Prehistoric Mammals of Australia and New Guina-100 million years of evolution" won a Whitely Award for most popular zoological book. In 2005 his book "Gogo Fish! The Story of the Western Australian State Fossil Emblem" won the Honour Book award for the 2005 Children's Book Council Awards. In 2006 his book "The Big Picture Book, won 2 national awards, and was short-listed for 2 other major childrens's literary awards. In 2008 John won the Australasian Science Prize for his discovery of the world's oldest vertebrate embryos, which also featured in the 2010 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records (under fish).

Customer Reviews

I liked it so much, I printed it out.
Emily
In summary, if you love dinosaurs and want to know what they really looked like as living animals, buy this book.
David W. Chace
This is an astonishingly good book on the topic.
Saganite

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By David W. Chace on October 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
First of all, this book is a must have for any dinosaur lover, and in particular those who are interested in the idea that many species of theropod dinosaurs may have had feathers. Indeed, there is direct fossil evidence that at least a few species of theropods had feathers, and the idea that feathers were a common feature of theropods is becoming increasingly plausible. That said, there is also direct fossil evidence for scales among some theropods, such as Carnotaurus. The question then becomes, which theropods had feathers and which didn't and exactly what did these feathers look like in life? How birdlike did these animals appear? Did some of them possess some combination of scales and feathers and, if so, what did that look like? It would probably take a time machine to definitively answer such questions, but a tentative answer can be had just by looking at Peter Schouten's beautiful illustrations in this book.

While the text is informative, the artwork is definitely the highlight of the book. Unfortunately the book suffers from one unforgivable flaw--bad page layout. Specifically, the paintings are presented as two-page spreads, resulting in a crease through the middle of the picture that, in many cases goes, right through the focus of the viewer's attention. This was a very poor design decision on the part of the publisher. The book is published by an academic press, so perhaps they don't understand how to make an art book. It should have been done in a different format, perhaps as an oversize book, in order to avoid putting that terribly distracting deep crease through the picture. That said, the paintings are better (in my opinion) than those of paleoartist Luis V. Rey, who has also taken to painting feathered dinosaurs.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Diamond on June 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The reviews and description were spot-on. It's pretty much a visual feast, but the information is sparse. I would have preferred photos of bare bones (and feather imprints) to the paintings, which always include a heavy subjective element. This book is definitely geared to the layperson with no background in paleontology. Nothing wrong with that; it's just not my cup of tea.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Saganite VINE VOICE on September 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an astonishingly good book on the topic. The art is first-rate, and I appreciate how the text immediately tells me what the animal's name means. I realize a lot of speculation and imagination goes into a work like this, but as long as the reader/viewer keeps in mind that a little license had to be employed, a work like this one can really spark a good deal of awe and wonder. That bucket of chicken from KFC? Really does look related to vicious raptors of "Jurassic Park" fame. Tweety? A fluffy yellow dino-spawn. I think learning about this link between avian dinos and their distant kin has had the effect, for me, of making birds more interesting. I was never an avid avian lover, but looking at them as related to the dinosaurs I always found so fascinating has made the little boogers a lot more interesting to me. This beatiful book might have that impact on you, as well. Final note: The illustrations are kid-friendly, but unlike the other books on this topic, this is not a kids' book. Adults will find much to love here. And it makes a handsome, if somewhat unsettling, coffee table book.
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26 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Ralph D. Hermansen on April 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was a tad disappointed with this book. I hoped to learn more about the evolutionary transition from dinosaur to bird, but there was far less on this topic than I expected. The majority of the pages were actually full-page pictures. They were drawings of the feathered dinosaurs and others. If you want to buy a book, which is predominately artwork, this is your book. However, if you want to understand dinosaur-to-bird evolution, this book is mediocre. Ralph Hermansen 4/8/09
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Enjolras TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is great if you ever feel the urge to imagine life 65 million years ago. The drawings are beautiful and creative, yet realistic. I appreciate that Schouten took some creative liberties in depicting the dinosaurs, but also explained his vision in a brief paragraph on each page.

One other review criticized the layout of the book, noting that the page seams run through some of the pictures. This is true, but only becomes really bothersome for two or so pictures out of several dozen. Overall, the creases do not distract from the pictures.

I also would have liked more information on each dinosaur, such as their estimated size and what they ate. However, that's not the purpose of this book. This book is about appreciating the beauty of animals we can only imagine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jacjac on September 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Informative book with colorful almost full page illustrations-- this is great reference if you're interested in Paleo Art, Dinosaurs in general, or are using it for reference either artistically or for the text.

This book is 70% paintings and 30% text though. While the text is informative, it only really scratches the surface of each Dinosaur with a long paragraph or two of info, so if you're looking for a more hardcore science-y book this might not be for you. I do wish as some of the other reviewers said, the publisher had not arranged the paintings along the crease.

If you're buying this for a child, I would say wait until they're about 6 or 7 if they're passionate about Dinosaurs, otherwise they may only enjoy the illustrations but find the text a bit dry.
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