on February 28, 2000
The book is not written for dinosaur loving children. A background in general science, anatomy, biology, and/or zoology would be useful in understanding the astonishing wealth of information contained. That should not scare inquirers away from this opus magnus. Furthermore, Carpenter's occassional tongue-in-cheek humor imparts a very special flavor to the writing. In my mind,this beautiful volume would be worth the price just for its profusion of well-done illustrations, photos, and captions. But that's just icing on the cake. We learn the history of dinosaur egg finds, how one studies every detail of the egg fossil (wonderfully illustrated with photos and drawings), how the eggshell formed inside a dinosaur, by what means the dino embryo took in air and effectively expelled carbon-dioxide from within the eggshell, and even speculate on how the dino chick may have escaped the egg. Learn how to examine a dinosaur egg fragment and detect whether an embryo actually developed within it. Carpenter explains how dinosaur nests were built and 'designed' to incubate fertile eggs. Why is a baby dinosaur 'cute' by our perceptions, and possibly to its parents? Facts, photos, and paintings make the answer cuddlingly clear. Along with the abundance of superb black & white figures, illustrations, and photos, are over a dozen full-color plates, including ten life restorations by some of our most scientific and talented dinosaur artists. This volume is surely a treasure to those of us who seek a deeper insight into the mysteries of dinosaur life (and death). One such tantalizing mystery might be summed up as, "But how did dinosaurs DO IT?" Carpenter doesn't beg the question. He ventures into it with careful observations and analysis based on both behavior and form of contemporary animals and known dinosaurian anatomy. The answers should prove reasonable to his scientific colleagues. So filled is this book with interesting items that one could almost say there's something for everybody. On the far side, imagine some 'Good Old Boy' that doesn't 'give a hang' about science, picking the book up to brouse the strikingly beautiful dinosaur life illustrations. "Wow!" he croaks, "Forget about Tyrannosaurus rex! It's 'CARNOTAURUS SEX!'" [The reference is to an utterly dramatic and highly colorful life restoration by artist Luis V. Rey, revealing an imposimg Carnotaurus pair 'going at it' while their thunderous groans of ecstacy freak out the Mesozoic neighborhood! Startled by those sounds, a flock of at least 40 winged reptiles (Pterosaurs) bolts skyward from the ground. The dinosaur couple copulates, transfixed, among appropriately phallic plants. Some will buy the book just for that one startling scene. Yet, it is far more valuable as an adventure in learning, including its very thoughtful discourse on dinosaur intercourse. A scientific adventure. A 'Calvin and Hobbes' day-dream? For real. Get it.
on June 23, 2007
This is an intensely fascinating book that immediately gets into the surprisingly large amount of information to be learned about dinosaur eggs. Open it to any page and you are immediately hooked. It contains a very thorough treatment of dinosaur reproduction, the process in which an egg forms, how fossil eggs are studied and classified, egg types, nomenclature, fossil nest types, fossil embryos and hatching, where eggs have been found, a thorough synthesis of scholarly papers that have erected the various genera and species of fossil eggs currently known to science, and much more. It also covers dinosaur mating as well, but not to the great extent that you'd assume by reading the editorial above. The photos are numerous, pertinent, and enlightening (including one amusing one of a painting by Luis Rey entitled "Carnotaurus sex!"). Due to the advanced level of material covered, this is not a book for a child under (say) twelve years old, but it is essential reading for anyone over that age with a passion for dinosaurs and their fossilized eggs. I've found no other book with the breadth and depth of information in this one, and thus I recommend this volume as *the* one to own on the topic. As a major fossil dealer, I read this book cover to cover about once a year to keep sharp on the topic. And I recommend it enthusiastically to my customers when they ask me about reference material.
on August 13, 2014
If you're a serious "Dino-geek", like me, then Eggs, Nest, and Baby Dinosaurs may be just the book for you. Author, Paleontologist, Kenneth Carpenter has written an in depth treatment of Dinosaur reproduction in an ancient world. While accessible to the interested layperson the book seems to be directed primarily towards the professional and student reader who are comfortable with technical terminology, anatomical details and a little (very little!) statistical mathematics. Not to worry though, Dr Carpenter will help you through these difficulties. His writing is clear and "reader-friendly" with a bit of added humor ( How do Stegosaurs make love? Very carefully! ). Technically, some of the subjects followed are; How do you name a dinosaur? Where do you find dinosaur eggs and nests? I had no idea that an egg was so complex, different parts and multiple layers all working in unison for the support and benefit of the embryo. Also the nest and the nest-site are just as vital for the baby's survival. Is the nest too wet or too dry? Is there too much vegetation or not enough? The wrong temperature, too high or low, can drastically change the outcome and could even be fatal for the embryo. Like bowls of porridge the temperature needs to be "just right" and it's up to the parent to manage that problem. Using modern day animals as models, scientist are able to speculate on how dinosaurs went about "bringing up baby". These ideas are not just idle musings on a spring day but are based on a solid foundation of knowledge derived from fossil evidence, established facts on extant animals, and the work of countless paleontologist the world over. Tracing the evolution of vertebrate reproduction from earliest times to today the author discuses how dinosaurs played at the "the mating game", picked a nesting ground and constructed the nest. At times this book can be very technical; the anatomy of both the egg and the embryo; how a scientist goes about studying the fossil egg and the importance of parental care ( or lack of ) for the survival of the nestling. The book closes with a look at the infamous KT extinction event and a few of the many suggested causes; gender imbalance, changes in the environment, possible imbalance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmosphere. Did predatory mammals or small dinosaurs play a part in the extinction? And how about eggshell thickness ( too thick or too thin )? The list is very long and for the most part not supported by much evidence, but all pertain directly to dinosaur eggs and babies. Of special note are extensive volcanic episodes covering thousands of miles and, of course, the astroid impact. Any Mass Extinction Theory must not only explain the extinction itself but also explain the organisms that survived: crocodiles and other reptiles for example. Why did some birds make it through while others perished?And, most importantly, frogs and other amphibians, If things were as bad as some of the "dooms day" scenarios have it then there wouldn't be any of these soft bodied vertebrates around today. Carpenter covers all of these issues and more in thoroughly engrossing manner. The book is extensively illustrated with numerous charts and graphs and art work by various artist like Gregory Paul and Luis Rey. Archival and new photos along with SEM images of fossils. As a bonus there is also several pages of color plates depicting working scientist, fossil sites and famous paintings of dinosaurs. All in all a great book for anyone curious about life and death in the Age of Dinosaurs.