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The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs (Princeton Field Guides) Hardcover – October 10, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Covering 735 species of dinosaurs, this volume, the work of a well-known dinosaur researcher and illustrator, consists of two main sections. The first is an introduction that includes a discussion on dinosaur evolution, biology, behavior, and more. The majority of the information is found in the “Group and Species Accounts” section and is further divided into three groups: “Theropods,” “Sauropodomorphs,” and “Ornithischians.” Entries on each species are concise and typically include information related to their anatomical characteristics, age, distribution, and habitat. Notes may be used to communicate alternative theories or debates that apply to the species. The volume also contains more than 600 color and black-and-white illustrations, among them more than 130 color life studies (some of them scenic views); nearly 450 skeletal, skull, head, and muscle drawings; and 8 paleo-distribution maps. Described as “the first authoritative dinosaur book in the style of a field guide,” this volume is more scientific in its language and approach than many of the other dinosaur books a library will have in its collection. At the same time, the illustrations should attract dinosaur fans. Recommended for public and academic libraries. --Robyn Rosenberg


One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2011

One of the Library Journal's Best Reference (Print, Electronic, and Free Reference Resources) in the Sciences category,for 2009

Honorable Mention for the 2010 PROSE Award in Single Volume Reference/Science, , Association of American Publishers

"You'll never need to decide whether that massive beast lumbering through your front yard is Chasmosaurus belli or C. sternbergi, but if you did, this would be a handy book to have on your windowsill. . . . [A]s dinosaur guidebooks go, this is as carefully assembled and authoritative as they come."--Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History

"Artist and researcher Gregory S. Paul describes hundreds of dinosaur species in this richly illustrated compendium. Learn how beasts ranging from Allosaurus to zuniceratops grew, moved and reproduced--and how they eventually went extinct."--Scientific American

"Given the vibrant state of dinosaur science, any book about them is going to be out-of-date by the time it hits shelves, but Gregory Paul's new The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs is a useful yearbook of dinosaurs which includes a variety of rarely-mentioned species. . . . Indeed, Paul is to be credited for pulling so much information together into one volume, as well as for illustrating so many skeletons (some dinosaurs no doubt discovered while the book was in press.)"--Brian Switek, SmithsonianMag.com's Dinosaur Tracking blog

"The publication of Gregory Paul's The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs is cause for celebration for all who share a fascination with this diverse family of animals. Paul's field guide is (perhaps) the most comprehensive one-volume guide to what we know about 735 species of dinosaurs. The book includes an outstanding . . . introduction summarizing the history of dinosaurs research, evolution, biology, energetics, behavior, and distribution. It includes a discussion of the most arresting feature of dinosaurs--their great size. . . . The heart of the book is a richly illustrated field guide which is organized like any of the field guides that we have become accustomed to. The species are presented in phylogenic order and meticulously and beautifully illustrated following the current state of our knowledge of posture and shape."--Wayne Mones, AudubonMagazine.org blog

"World-renowned dinosaur illustrator and researcher Gregory Paul provides comprehensive visual and textual coverage of the dinosaurs in this lavishly illustrated field guide. Incorporating the latest discoveries and research that are radically transforming what we know about dinosaurs, this book is distinguished both by its scientific accuracy and the quality and quantity of its illustrations. . . . The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs is a must-have for anyone who loves dinosaurs, from the amateur enthusiast to the professional paleontologist."--Prehistoric Times

"Lavishly filled with fossil forms and drawn interpretations of their outward appearance, the guide covers the entire spectrum of dinosaur species. The color images of some of the rock stars of the Age of Dinosaurs, from T-Rex to Triceratops, will enthrall any youngster with a yen for these ancient beasts. . . . Paul has revitalized and re-invented the depiction of dinosaurs in recent decades, and the book brings the breadth of their lost world to today's readers."--Dan Vergano, USA Today

"This latest book by Paul, a leading dinosaur researcher and illustrator, is an excellent accompaniment to your standard dinosaur encyclopedias. Its strength lies in the inclusion of over 735 species, along with information on how complete the fossil skeletons representing them are, anatomical characteristics, distribution of fossil finds, the animal's probable habitat, and what scientists believe about its behavior. . . . [B]eautifully illustrated."--Library Journal

"A fantastic new book on dinosaurs. . . . Paul is an accomplished illustrator and expert in all things dinosaurian. The first 60 pages of the book provide an introduction to dinosaur biology, morphology and techniques for studying these fossils. The information on how the limbs of dinosaurs articulated is particularly intriguing. . . . His fine illustrations provide nice accents to the text. The meat of the book is the coverage of individual dinosaur species."--Herb Wilson, Portland Press Herald

"This book . . . shows off Paul at his artistic and conceptual finest, as it is replete with all the latest knowledge of dinosaurian knowledge. . . . [I]t's an excellent book, one of the best ever, and one which I wish was around in my youth, when all I had were dense textbooks."--Dan Schneider, Blogcritics.org

"There's no doubt that Paul has done a tremendous job with The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs and it's quite impressive. If you're serious about dinosaurs and want a meticulously researched guide, this is certainly the book for you."--Jonathan Liu, Wired.com's GeekDad blog

"Paul, an eminent authority on dinosaur anatomy and a leading dinosaur illustrator, presents detailed information on all dinosaur groups. . . . The author, well known for his detailed skeletal diagrams and ability to interpret dinosaur biomechanics, displays his formidable skills throughout this book. . . . Serious dinosaur scholars will devour this book; it is a major contribution to the field."--Choice

"Reproduced and copied time and again, Paul's interpretation of dinosaur anatomy has found for years a permanent home on both the popular and scientific page. Paul's latest publication, The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs, is the collection of these skeletal reconstructions that the dinosaur-loving community has been waiting for. If nothing else, it is this collection that makes the book worthy of ownership."--Richard A. Kissel, American Paleontologist

"I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It represents the most comprehensive collection of scientifically informed dinosaur anatomical illustrations to date, making it a valuable desk reference. One can imagine taking a trip back to the Mesozoic and using this guide to identify these awe-inspiring creatures. This volume should find a proud place on the bookshelf of both amateurs and professionals."--Christopher R. Noto, Quarterly Review of Biology

"I am certain that all ages of dinosaur fans will love this book."--Dan Tallman, South Dakota Bird Notes

"Greg Paul is an independent researcher who specialises on dinosaurs; he's well known for his popular articles, books and technical papers, but in particular for his hugely influential artwork. Paul's most recent book--the 2010 The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs--is, simply put, the ultimate Greg Paul book. It's a large, heavily illustrated catalogue of over 400 reconstructed skeletons, accompanied throughout with life restorations and brief chunks of text that present data on the world's Mesozoic dinosaur species."--Darren Naish, ScientificAmerican.com's Tetrapod Zoology blog

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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Field Guides
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Princeton Field Guides edition (October 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069113720X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691137209
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 8.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joshua N. Wiley on September 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gregory S. Paul's 1988 book, _Predatory Dinosaurs of the World_Predatory Dinosaurs of the World: A Complete Illustrated Guide, reignited my childhood interest in dinosaurs when I was a teenager. I read it cover to cover several times and carried it around for months and months, lingering over his exacting white-skeletons-on-black-soft-tissue reconstructions with my eyes, ruminating over the accompanying text, and wistfully wishing that the book didn't stop with the last theropod but went on to cover sauropods and everything else in the same level of detail.

Now, some 22 years later, Paul releases what is probably his magnum opus: a big, bold 8 & 1/2 by 11 volume containing hundreds of reconstructions dozens of muscle studies and shaded skull drawings, and numerous fine color scenes. A feast for the eyes and an atlas for the imagination.

Paul writes in the preface: "Producing this book has been particular satisfying in that it has given me the reason to achieve a long-term goal, to illustrate the skeletons of almost all dinosaur species for which there is sufficiently complete available."

Thank you, Mr. Paul, from the bottom of our hearts! And thank you Princeton University Press for producing a durable big-format volume, the sort of thing that older boys can carry around on planes, trains, and automobiles . . .
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the best dinosaur guides I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Lavishly illustrated, exhaustively researched, this guide is, in my humble opinion, the definitive guide to the prehistoric world. From well known dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex and Allosaurus fragilis, to obscure dinosaurs such as Nothronychus mckinleyi and Cryolophosaurus ellioti, there's something for everyone. The introductory section of the book really brings you into the frame of mind you would need to venture into the wilderness of the past as well as even a brief section on what would be needed if one were to travel to that far distant past. Even some of the more recent discoveries have made their way into this book, such as Torosaurus actually being fully developed adult Triceratops horridus. Other dinosaurs, such as "Nanotyrannus" suffered the same fate in the past, but have since been properly identified as juveniles, Nanotyrannus in fact being the juvenile of Tyrannosaurus rex. The only disappointment, and this is a tiny one as I will explain, is there is no section on pterosaurs. Now, I'm quite certain that this is because the pterosaurs are not dinosaurs at all, but are very simply flying lizards. Still, a mention would have been nice. All in all, I would definitely recommend this book to any dinosaur enthusiast.
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Format: Hardcover
"The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs" is artistically superb yet science-heavy. This is no simple picture or "coffee table" book. Unique in its configuration (textbook-sized, but formatted not unlike a backyard birder's handbook), this "field guide" is really more akin to a single-volume dinosaur encyclopedia (or, as another reviewer pointed out, a dino desk reference). And that's not a bad thing.

Dinosaurs of all shapes, sizes, and levels of fame (or obscurity) are ranked taxonomically and provided with detailed background information. Each species is not only illustrated in life-like artist's renditions, but skeletal systems are also depicted. This book is not quite as "pretty" as some of the other large paleo-books, but it's replete with information.

Due to the technical nature of the book, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for younger children or children who don't have an earnest academic interest in paleontology. Instead, I'd recommend "The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs" for adult dinophiles -- "grown ups" who never grew out of their dinosaur "phase."
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Like many, I was introduced to Greg Paul's artwork as a young teenager in the 1980s. His Predatory Dinosaurs of the World was my favorite book for years. This book is a bit of a letdown in that aside from the teriffic skeletons, he offers no scale bars, zero information on the type specimens, the author(s) who named and described each taxon, or even the actual preserved elements. Stranger still, some taxa, known from reasonably complete specimens (Coelurus, Dilong, Guanlong, Torvosaurus, and Tanycolagreus for example) are not illustrated, while others that are known from similarly complete material (Ornitholestes and Irritator) are. Why? This is never addressed. Also, the color pencil drawings are absolutely amateurish and detract from the otherwise excellent art. Are these goofy little sketches really meant to convey an impression of the animals' heads? He's essentially traced the skulls, slapped in an eyeball, and presented it as a life portrait. Almost embarrassing. The text that accompanies the species descriptions appears to have been written by a child with a list of "enemies" provided for herbivores, and only the most cursory and useless description of the material: "most of the skull and minority of skeleton"...what exactly does that mean?!
So overall, you're getting some nice skeletal drawings, a brief note of where and when the thing was found, and some shoddy color pencil sketches. For me, the skeletons are worthwhile, but others might like a bit more actual information, so this book will perhaps be lacking.
On a final note, Greg Paul has recently declared that his guides should not be used as guides for artists wanting a skeletal reference upon which to draw or sculpt. So, be warned! This odd little man with an ego the size of Texas publishes some nice skeletal drawings, but if you use these references as a...you know...reference, he might sue you.
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