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All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals Kindle Edition
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- ASIN : B00A2VS55O
- Publisher : Irregular Books (November 5, 2012)
- Publication date : November 5, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 13400 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 101 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #322,219 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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If my defeatist reaction was juvenile my skepticism was richly warranted, as this book illustrates in a thought-provoking and often hilarious way. It provides alternative reconstructions of extinct creatures--many but not all being dinosaurs--that are at least as plausible as the stereotypical portrayals of muscular lizards trying to chomp, or avoid being chomped, that we're all familiar with.
In many cases the depictions are actually much more plausible, which was my favorite feature of the book. Dinos are good for business, and Dinos!...in ACTION! are better yet, to the point that it's difficult to imagine them rolling happily in the mud like a pig, or without colorful scales and menacing claws, because nearly all depictions of them focus on the flamboyant, the bizarre, and of course, the ACTION!, no matter how speculative. But they were animals, and so surely they looked and behaved more like animals today than we usually imagine they did.
Or maybe not. But again, the alternative depictions in this book are at least as plausible and usually more so; and the text gives solidly scientific justifications without getting too dense or detailed. Equally enjoyable was the second part of the book, illustrations how modern animals might be reconstructed by paleontologists far in the future, based upon the parts of the animals' bodies likely to be be preserved and potentially dug up as fossils. It's funny and a bit unsettling, and I'll say no more to avoid spoiling anything.
I really enjoyed this book, which is part of why I gave it four and not five stars: even at the reasonable price of $8-10, I want a book to have more than 30 or 40 minutes material in it. Yes, I understand that the illustrations are the focus but I wanted to see more of those, even if it meant not all could be as well done artistically, or that some had to have abbreviated text accompanying them. Other people, perhaps, will find the amount of material satisfactory, but like the carnivorous dinos depicted in most pictures, books, movies, etc., all I do is consume and I'm never satisfied...
By jake chamberlin on May 13, 2019
It's alternate views of the soft tissue and behaviors that point out the traditional ways we've depicted dinosaurs are just traditional and not necessarily accurate. Then it ends with current-animals reconstructed by a hypothetical future scientist after we're all extinct, showing the types of errors that are probably common in our dino-reconstructions applied to animals we know.
Good pictures, interesting text explaining the limitations of current science in how these & more-traditional-dino-art are based on facts but also, by necessity, contain some educated-guesswork.
We are all taught by innumerable films and books how prehistoric animals looked like. I can only speak for myself, but it has never ocurred to me that we might actually be taught a lot of nonsense. Thankfully, it did occur to Mr Naish. He explains why the popular images are probably wrong - and the reasons are convincing.
The part of the book I liked the most was where he shows how modern animals would look like if they were reconstructed like dinosaurs. It was hilariously funny. This is the most pleasant book I have lately read, and one of the most informative.
if I'm honest, the best part to me is the second half of the book however, where you step into the shoes of a reader millions of years from now reading about such strange fossilized creatures as the "cat" and "hippo", reconstructed using the same techniques as modern day scientists use. it makes it so much easier to see how we don't know what we don't know when it comes to animals only known from a fragmentary record. if no animals have trunks in the future, how would someone know an elephant didn't just have a mildly bulbous nose? if fur is discovered on a rat fossil, would it be extrapolated all other vertebrates like iguanas also had such coverings? a specimen known only from a few fragments might look completely absurd to us now but extrapolating from similar animals is what we have to do for many extinct creatures, even if snakes might be depicted with legs or hippos as thin, agile land carnivores.
overall I cannot express just how much of a FANTASTIC book this is, and it's been on my radar for years now so I'm absolutely thrilled to finally have a physical copy to read through constantly.
Top reviews from other countries
If you have any interest in palaeontology, biology or anatomical art then I cannot recommend this book enough. The idea is an extremely simple one: take a look at how dinosaurs and other extinct creatures are most commonly portrayed and ask why? Yet, to my knowledge, no one else has actually addressed this fascinating topic, let alone produced a host of fantastic illustrations to go along with their counter-points. The quality of the illustrations does vary a little, but that's to be expected in a book with multiple contributors; plus, every piece has been cleverly designed to highlight a specific problem with your average palaeo-artist's work.
Frankly, if all this book contained was images of "classic" palaeo-art and the artist's re-imagined (yet equally plausible) take on the same scene it would be interesting enough, but the in depth discussion that accompanies each piece is often astonishing. Conway and Naish have a fantastic way of writing that captures their own excitement surrounding the subjects and also manages to be factual and educational. They're also not afraid to put their necks on the line, with some wonderfully weird ideas making the cut, nor admit to their/the field's failings and limitations when it comes to guesstimating appearance and behaviour from, ostensibly, rocks.
Then, of course, there is All Tomorrows. Though it occupies the end quarter of All Yesterdays, in many ways All Tomorrows is worthy of being a book just by itself. By juxtaposing the subject from the unknown creatures of the past to applying palaeo-art and speculative behaviour modelling to animals from the present, All Tomorrows serves both as a reminder that, ultimately, we're always bound to be a little bit wrong, as well as driving home the many problems with current palaeo-art techniques the book is initially set up to confront. Basically, I came for the images of protoceratops climbing trees, but I stayed for the nightmare that is vampiric baboons!
A fantastic book that will occupy a place of pride on my book shelf for many years to come.
When I was growing up they were either grey, brown or green and invariably scaly, and just didn't look like real animals. They were depicted in the same boringly cliched poses and activities. Even post Jurassic Park, when they suddenly sprouted feathers, they still looked like freakish, half-mummified chimaeras.
This informative, accessible book seeks to explain why, while delighting us with imaginative pictures of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures caught being just as diverse and behaviourally interesting as extant animals.
It's split into two parts. The first reconstructs fossil animals while trying to avoid the common errors and limitations of past reconstructions. The second, more whimsical (and short) section illustrates the effect those errors and limitations can have by reconstructing modern animals from imperfect fossils.
The art is simple and lovely, the text easy to read without being dumbed down (the intro is actually the trickiest bit, and for the few potentially unfamiliar scientific terms used, there's a short glossary at the back. For the real enthusiasts, there's also a full bibliography for further reading). As a Kindle e book the colour pictures expand gloriously on a retina iPad, allowing you to see every brush stroke. It's great to see dinosaurs looking interesting at last, in all their weird, well-fed and occasionally cute glory!