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 Top 4 Natural Histories of Dinos

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JD-man
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PostSubject: Top 4 Natural Histories of Dinos   Top 4 Natural Histories of Dinos Icon_minitimeTue Aug 07, 2018 8:29 pm

This post is the sequel to "Natural Histories of Dinos" ( http://dinotoyblog.com/forum/index.php?topic=5963.0 ). It's nothing formal, just a list of what I (as a non-expert dino fan) think are the best adult NHDs & why. Even still, I hope that at least some of you will get something out of it.

4/3) Tie btwn Fastovsky/Weishampel's Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History/The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs & Sampson's Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life: Despite their obvious differences (E.g. Fastovsky/Weishampel's book is a textbook w/a phylogenetic format, while Sampson's is a non-textbook w/a chronological format), these 2 books have 3 major similarities: 1) In both books, "the story builds in a stepwise fashion," "each chapter [building] upon the previous ones"; 2) "Part of [the goal in both books] is to explore the relationships of organisms to each other and to the biosphere"; 3) "It is [hoped] that science educators in particular will embrace some of the approaches presented" in both books. This is especially apparent when you compare the Introduction of Fastovsky/Weishampel's book ( http://assets.cambridge.org/97805218/11729/excerpt/9780521811729_excerpt.pdf ) to the Preface of Sampson's ( http://www.scottsampson.net/index.php?page=dinosaur-odyssey ).

2) Gardom/Milner's The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs: To quote Hammond ( http://www.tehachapinews.com/lifestyle/pen-in-hand-wonder-bird-a-closer-look-at-a/article_d47df6a6-ba67-59b5-912d-3ec3620763d8.html ), the red-tailed hawk is "the archetypal bird of prey". Similarly, this book was the archetypal NHD from 1993-2016 (See "Synopsis": https://www.amazon.de/Natural-History-Museum-Book-Dinosaurs/dp/184442183X ). There are 2 main reasons for why I think that is: 1) To paraphrase Naish ( https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/naish-and-barretts-dinosaurs-how-they-lived-and-evolved/ ), this book is backed by "one of the world's greatest and most famous of natural history museums, and [based on] one of the world's most important scientific collections of dinosaur fossils"; This is especially apparent in "The Dino Directory" ("which serves as a nice supplement to [this] book": https://paleoaerie.org/2015/09/18/the-natural-history-museum-book-of-dinosaurs/ ); 2) This book has a day-in-the-life format (I.e. The 1st part introduces the dinos & their world; The 2nd part shows how the dinos lived & evolved in their world); This makes sense given that, according to Ernest Thompson Seton, day-in-the-life stories are the best way to write natural history (See "NOTE TO THE READER": http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=seton&book=wild&story=_front ). It's also worth mentioning that the newer editions are very much "enlarged and updated" compared to the older ones (E.g. 144 pages in 2006 vs. 128 pages in 1993).

1) Naish/Barrett's Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved: In 2016, 10 years after the last edition of Gardom/Milner's book, this book became the new archetypal NHD. This book does everything Gardom/Milner's book does, but mostly bigger & better ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R3VQ7TMT8EFOC7/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ). In fact, if I could, I'd give this book an extra star for being extra authoritative (I.e. An extra half star for the NHM & an extra half star for the Smithsonian). In other words, this is a 6-star book.

Honorable Mention #1) Norell's The World of Dinosaurs: An Illustrated Tour: While I do think that this book is 1 of the best adult NHDs, I'm not sure where it should be listed relative to the other books: On the 1 hand, like the NHM books, it's backed by "one of the world's greatest and most famous of natural history museums, and [based on] one of the world's most important scientific collections of dinosaur fossils"; Thus, all 3 books are among the most "lavishly illustrated, scientifically up-to-date" NHDs (See the back cover); On the other hand, like the textbook, it's phylogenetically-arranged (& thus, not as good as the day-in-the-life-style NHM books); That said, it does the phylogenetic format MUCH better than most other NHDs.*

*I.e. For 1, it doesn't profile just any dinos, but ~50 of the AMNH's most well-represented dinos; For another, not only are the dinos arranged in order of when their sub-groups evolved (E.g. "Theropoda" begins with Coelophysis, a primitive meat-eater, & ends with Gastornis, a modern-style bird), but each dino is put in perspective ecologically & with its relatives (E.g. See the 1st 2 paragraphs: https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/59526903_2403665089673267_1323760584788803584_n.jpg?_nc_cat=107&_nc_oc=AQncsjfptU94vL4_ZbVnMYNp3DnL9n9aEJkVJEg4bCDBXxdXwttEFpnK6OzBxLZ_U2G4yeSkWOYWgP3GoYUsjlw8&_nc_ht=scontent-sea1-1.xx&oh=1a14570bb54a247e36e19e5d04c53512&oe=5DC56218 ); In other words, it puts the AMNH's dinos into an evolutionary & ecological context, making it feel both personal & broad at the same time.

Honorable Mention #2) Stout's The New Dinosaurs/The Dinosaurs: A Fantastic New View of a Lost Era: While not as recent as the other books, this book still deserves to be listed as 1 of the best adult NHDs. There are 4 main reasons for why I think that is: 1) It's the closest thing we have to a completely dinosaurian version of Seton's Wild Animals I Have Known (I.e. After the introductory chapters, it consists of a collection of short stories about the lives of dinos); 2) To paraphrase Robot Chicken ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTcVNuNX8yY ), Stout's comic book-style paleoart "ain't [100%] accurate, but it'll blow your [f***ing] mind"; 3) The 1981 edition greatly influenced the course of the Dino Renaissance, inspiring the likes of Michael Crichton, Walt Disney, & Jim Henson ( http://www.williamstout.com/news/journal/?p=3549 ), among others;* 4) The 2000 edition updated it for a new generation, combining classic day-in-the-life stories w/"32 added pages of new pictures and information" (& thus, putting said stories in the context of then-current dino science: https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/the-new-dinosaurs_william-stout/470564/#isbn=0743407245&idiq=9201911 ).

*I especially like the Henson part b/c it reminds me of the knife scene in Crocodile Dundee.
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PostSubject: Re: Top 4 Natural Histories of Dinos   Top 4 Natural Histories of Dinos Icon_minitimeFri Jul 05, 2019 8:55 pm

UPDATE: When I originally posted this list, it had 1 children's NHD as an Honorable Mention. I've since realized that it makes more sense to do separate lists for children's & adult NHDs. Now this list has 2 adult Honorable Mentions. I hope you like what I have to say about them.
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