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The Scientific American Book of Dinosaurs Hardcover – November 18, 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gregory S. Paul is one of America's leading dinosaur paleontologists and also a gifted artist. For his anatomical accuracy, he is considered among his peers to be the "definitive" paleo-artist. Paul has worked on Disney's animated movie Dinosaur and was a consultant on the motion picture Jurassic Park. His published work includes dozens of scientific papers in magazines and journals, and the books Beyond Humanity, The Complete Illustrated Guide to Dinosaur Skeletons, Predetory Dinosaurs of the World, Dinosaurs of the Air: The Evolution and Loss of Flight in the Mesozoic, and Dinosaurs and Birds. Paul's illustrations have graced dozens of books, periodicals, and televised specials on the fabulous beasts. His art has also been exhibited in the Smithsonian Institution's traveling exhibit and has been displayed in ten natural history museums around the world.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (November 18, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312262264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312262266
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.3 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,508,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Kwok HALL OF FAME on September 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"The Scientific American book of Dinosaurs" edited by distinguished artist and vertebrate paleontologist Gregory S. Paul is a splendid summary of the current state of knowledge of dinosaurian paleobiology. Although there are a couple of classic articles included in this volume, most notably Robert Bakker's "Dinosaur Renaissance", published in Scientific American in the mid 1970's - which sets the tone of much of the book's contents - most of the text is comprised of recent Scientific American articles or new essays commissioned for this volume. The first two chapters are an overview of the history of dinosaur paleontology and the history of reconstructing dinosaurs from both an artistic and scientific perspective. Chapter Three contains several articles on dinosaur systematics, emphasizing the relationships between living dinosaurs (birds) and their nearest cousins, small predatory theropods such as Velociraptor and Deinonychus, and their larger cousins, the tyrannosaurids, most notably Albertosaurus, and of course, Tyrannosaurus. It closes with an elegant essay on the origin of birds and their flight by distinguished paleobiologists Kevin Padian and Luis Chiappe. Chapter Four is an overview of the physical geography and climate of the middle and late Mesozoic Era, when dinosaurs were the dominant creatures on land. Chapter Five delves into intriguing reconstructions of dinosaur behavior, from locomotion, and food gathering to nesting and the rearing of young. Chapter Six contains several essays on dinosaur bioenergetics, exploring issues such as how rapidly they grew and whether they were - or were not warm blooded creatures.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
As a fan of Paul's earlier work, Predatory Dinos of the World, I bought this book hoping it would follow a similar format and to some extent, update the previous book. I realize that Paul didn't write this book, but one can always hope for the best. I expected a book that listed all of the known species and gave some info on each. Take note, if this is the type of book your looking for, keep looking. However, this is a good book, with lots of new and informative info., and well worth having if you are interested in dinosaurs. The drawings, many of them by Paul, are first class and represent the state of the art. The color pictures are also good and represent a nice mix of new and old. Especially good is the chapter on feathered dinosaurs and the one on dinosaur thermoregulation. I've found myself reading some chapters many times over. Not perfect, but a very good read that adults will find geared towards them without having to have a masters degree to understand.
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Format: Hardcover
Almost considered using this as a textbook in an undergraduate dinosaur class; it is perhaps a little to difficult for those not already highly interested in dinosaurs. Book consists of reprintings of Scientific American articles with lots of new material and entire chapters by various experts in dinosaur paleontology. Great artwork is also another plus for the book. Editor Gregory Paul did a wonderful job of compliling these articles with major contributions of ideas and artwork by himself.
Some of Pauls ideas about dinosaurs are speculative and a little quirky, but are well-presented. Some odd, non-paleontological, speculations at the end of the book by Paul are sort of out of place.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This work is essentially a very good anthology of dinosaur science, however multiple articles present an overwhelming predisposition toward cladistics (classification of animals by their anatomy ALONE without ANY regard for their proper chronological placement or occurrence in the fossil record). Thus, in multiple instances, we observe an animal's descendants preceding its ancestors in the evolutionary sequence --- a serious scientific blunder.

Also, NO AUTHOR, in ANY of these scientific articles addresses the fact that fossils (in the vast majority of all cases) portray ONLY the organism's skeletal system and thus only 5-10% of its anatomical and physiological evolutionary history. To illustrate this problem, we should imagine ourselves as paleontologists, 20 million years in the future, finding fossils of a Great Dane and a Dachshund. Not knowing anything about about their internal anatomy, we would most certainly classify these fossils as not just TWO entirely different species, but, most likely, as two entirely different FAMILIES or ORDERS, instead of properly clasifying them (as we now know) as simply two VARIATIONS of the very same SPECIES, canis familiaris.

Therefore, as many paleontologists have already pointed out, cladistics, as a systematics tool, has very serious limitations in the accuracy of fossil representation. Dr. Paul has otherwise compended an excellent anthology and his analyses of dinosaur motion, art and art history are superb.
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Format: Paperback
I read Scientific American fairly regularly, and so thought this might be a good book to try. After only a few chapters I was highly impressed. Most books I've bought on the subject are really just lists of dinosaurs with a few blurbs and factoids set against some pretty art, while others are heavy on the mechanics of paleontology and talk about things like the strata of rock you find fossils is (which while important info, can be rather boring.) This book has a high level of detail, while not getting boring. For example, I had only a vaugue idea of what cladistics was, and thought it would be boring even if I did, but the essay on the subject was very simple without being condescending. If you like dinosaur books, but are tired of too much artwork with no substance behind them, this book is for you.
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