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The Great Dinosaur Discoveries 0th Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520259751
ISBN-10: 0520259750
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Photographs of fossils and illustrations of what dinosaurs might have looked like in the flesh help tell the story."--"Earth Magazine"

"Reading this book will most definitely whet your appetite for donning your hiking boots, grabbing your rock hammer, and joining a dinosaur hunting expedition!"--Samantha Sands"American Paleontologist" (11/01/2010)

Reading this book will most definitely whet your appetite for donning your hiking boots, grabbing your rock hammer, and joining a dinosaur hunting expedition! --Samantha Sands"American Paleontologist" (11/01/2010)"

About the Author

Darren Naish is Honorary Research Associate in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Portsmouth. Among his books are Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life, which he coauthored with David Lambert and Elizabeth Wyse, and Walking With Dinosaurs: The Evidence. How Did They Know That?, produced to accompany the acclaimed BBC series Walking with Dinosaurs.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (October 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520259750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520259751
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #902,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Andrew Everett on October 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have had a lifelong interest in extinct creatures, especially dinosaurs, and have followed Darren Naish's blog for several years. This book looked interesting, and I purchased it without realizing how utterly addicting this book is. It has the visual quality of a coffee table book (but not the enormous size) and the contents of a scientific book written with the layperson (that is to say, a non-biologist or paleontologist) in mind. It is a fascinating look at dinosaurs from a historical perspective, meaning that Dr. Naish begins with the first dinosaur discoveries and discusses what theories people had about the creatures they were discovering and describing.

The layouts are interesting and visually attractive to the eye, and the content is conveniently partitioned for easy comprehension. Dr. Naish also goes out of his way to discuss misconceptions or little-known facts in order to help clarify what we currently believe about the topics covered.

This is a fantastic read and a terrific buy for anyone who has more than the faintest interest in dinosaurs.
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Format: Hardcover
There are plenty of books about dinosaurs. Because the creatures fascinate so many people, and not just little boys, many of these books are aimed at the public, and feature pictures of the fantastic beasts in their many forms. _The Great Dinosaur Discoveries_ (University of California Press) by Darren Naish is a little like this, but pay attention to the title; there are dinosaurs aplenty here, and lots of color photographs and artists' reconstructions of the ancient animals, but the history of discovering and of understanding what the fossils had to tell us is the theme of this dinosaur book. It's a fine theme, and Naish, who has previously written a more conventional encyclopedia of dinosaurs, tells it from the first discovery of mysterious gigantic bones to the controversies that power dinosaur research today. The story is chronological, with each two-page spread devoted to a particular dinosaur, discovery, or concept. The chapters are tied with a timeline, but not the typical one that shows Precambrian, Cambrian, Jurassic, and other ancient eras (although there is one of those in the introduction). Rather, there is a timeline that starts with the naming of the first dinosaur in 1824, right through the ones named in the 21st century. It is a human story, complete with misunderstandings and competition that somehow got us to our current concepts of what dinosaurs were and why they were important.

The earliest discoveries of fossils were where the naturalists already were, in England in the 1820s. The version of the dinosaurs from these original fossils makes them look like hippopotami with alligator teeth. It is not surprising that with just a few specimens, there would be many mistakes in the beginning.
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Format: Hardcover
The Great Dinosaur Discoveries is exactly what the real dinosaur fan wants: a book on dinosaurs that treats the reader as a real dinosaur fan. Most books about dinosaurs seem to assume that the buyer isn't interested in the subject and shouldn't be bothered with boring details of dull extinct reptiles no normal person cares about. Or, if not a three year old, has the intelligence of one. They are aimed at a "wider audience", i.e. those people unlikely to buy a dinosaur book in the first place. Fundamental marketing mistake, in my opinion. Naish takes the reader seriously without needing jargon or academic language as we have come to expect from one of the best popularisers of biological subjects on the internet!

The historical take, apart from filling a gap is also very appealing. Man is a narrative species (and woman no less so) and we all love a good story, especially told by one as good at telling it as Naish is. In short, the Great Dinosaur Discoveries is, together with Paul's (quite ahistorical) Field Guide, the best book on dinosaurs presently available. Its only drawback is that it is too short. And basically ends in 2007. I would gladly pay double the price for a sequel, "The New Dinosaur Discoveries", highlighting some of the 170 species named since...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great coffee table book for kids and adults who refuse to grow up (is it culturally acceptable to be obsessed with dinosaurs at any age yet? Its ought to be!) Fantastic photos and paleo art, a fun trip through the history and science of dinosaur discovery, including some great Discovery Profile pages such as "Mole-armed Mononykus", which includes my favorite photo, the skull of Shuvuuia, demonstrating its half-finger length. Never heard of names/terms like Mononykus, Parvicursor, or Shuvuuia? That's one of the great things about this book, it will introduce to you all sorts of great lesser, and unknown ancient beasts instead of just banging on about the usual suspects like T. rex (but don't worry, there is a Discovery Profile about this perennial favorite as well a bit about Chicago Field Museum's famous "Sue" ). The only thing that I wish it had was a pronunciation guide so as to limit the feelings of embarrassment and ignorance when attempting to say the names aloud. That's a bit nit-picky, perhaps, and it wouldn't have prevented me from buying it anyway.
Bottom line, this is an all-around fun, intelligently written, beautifully designed book for dino-nerds of any age. Get it for your kids, get it for yourself, just get it and geek out.
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