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 JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!

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PostSubject: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:33 pm

For my 1st post, I published my 1st Listmania! list (which I'll add to as time goes on). The requirements are listed below & the books are listed in the bolded link. If there are any books you think should be listed, please let me know. Many thanks in advance.

My Serious Dino Books ( http://www.amazon.com/lm/R2H4F8H299AK8M/ref=cm_pdp_lm_title_1 )

My serious (I.e. For learning) dino books must be all of the following:
-About dino paleobiology to a large extent (at least 50%).
-About non-T.rex theropods in particular, if not dinos in general.
-At least 100 pages.
-Authored/edited/forwarded/introduced by at least 1 BAD ("Birds Are Dinosaurs": http://archosaurmusings.wordpress.com/2009/01/02/the-whole-bad-band-thing/ ) dino paleontologist who isn't Louis Jacobs.
-Described/reviewed on Amazon.
-For adults.
-For "casual readers"/"the enthusiast" ( http://whenpigsfly-returns.blogspot.com/2008/04/paleo-reading-list.html ).
-Non-fiction.
-Not "reference works" (See "Citations, cross-references and xreferences": http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue30/ref-books ).*
-Not state-specific.
-Post-1986 ("Arguably, the most recent previous attempt by a paleontologist to synthesize the cutting edge of dinosaur paleontology was Robert Bakker’s 1986 book": http://www.scottsampson.net/index.php?page=dinosaur-odyssey ).
-With dino-related titles.

*2-3 parters are exempt from this requirement.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Sat Jun 11, 2016 7:59 pm

As a Jurassic Park Portal member, I'm gonna post my reviews here every so often, some being positive & some being negative. I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said reviews in the bolded link below & the ART Evolved links therein. Besides wanting to make sure said reviews give a good idea of what to expect, they need all the "Yes" votes they can get because 1) some are for very-good-to-great books that deserve more attention, & 2) some are outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

P.S. Yes, I do take requests, mostly for non-fiction dino books that either don't get enough praise for being good or don't get enough criticism for being bad.

My 13th Pair of Reviews (which is where the Jurassic Park Legacy thread left off): http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/01/my-13th-pair-of-reviews.html
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:34 pm

Looking forward to your reviews Wink
Just saved your old one to add to the archive

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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:17 pm

@Tarbtano wrote:
Looking forward to your reviews Wink
Just saved your old one to add to the archive

Many thanks for the kind words. Smile


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:19 pm

My 27th review for this thread is a positive 1 for Waldrop/Loomis' Ranger Rick's Dinosaur Book. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

I wish I had this book as a kid ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R94XM1O8E45DV/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 5/5

Short version: Waldrop/Loomis' Ranger Rick's Dinosaur Book (henceforth Ranger) is like Wexo's Zoobooks - Dinosaurs (henceforth ZD), but better. I recommend reading Ranger in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Gardom/Milner's The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs).

Long version: Read on.

If you're anything like me (I.e. A life-long dino fan born in the 1980s), you probably grew up with 1) Ranger Rick magazine, & 2) Zoobooks magazine.* ZD used to be my favorite issue of either magazine, but now my favorite is Ranger. Like ZD, Ranger is a natural history of dinos illustrated by Hallett, published by a wildlife organization, & consulted by Ostrom. In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think Ranger is even better than ZD.

1) Ranger is very complete & in-depth: For 1 (in reference to "complete"), using Holtz's "Dinosaurs" as a guide, Ranger features representatives of 10 different dino groups; Compare that to the 7 different dino groups of ZD; For another (in reference to "in-depth"), see the Waldrop/Loomis quote; Ranger does more in 1 page than ZD does in 2 pages ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/babbletrish/5747604673 ).

2) Ranger is very well-organized: Being well-organized is especially important to a natural history of dinos given that it's "designed to be read from start to finish as the developing story of a remarkable group of animals" ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/Natural-History-Museum-Book-Dinosaurs/dp/184442183X ); Not only does Ranger have a chronological format, but each chapter begins with a day-in-the-life story & ends with a lead-in to the next chapter.

3) Ranger is very well-illustrated: In addition to Hallett, Ranger is illustrated by Akerbergs, Dawson (E.g. See the cover), Kish, Knight, & Zallinger; Dawson's paleoart is especially good at making reconstructed animals appear life-like (I.e. It "displays a superb attention to small details - in terms of the animals' anatomy...their interaction with the surrounding environment, and the environment itself");** It helps that Dawson illustrated all the day-in-the-life stories. My only gripes are that 1) some of the herbivorous dinos (especially the sauropods) are depicted as dragging their tails, & 2) some of non-dinos (especially the pterosaurs) are depicted as being derpy.

*My sympathies to those who didn't grow up with "Classic Ranger Rick" ( http://babbletrish.blogspot.com/2009/11/time-has-not-been-kind-to-ranger-rick.html ).

**Google "Vintage Dinosaur Art: De Oerwereld van de Dinosauriërs - Part 1".

Quoting Waldrop/Loomis:
Quote :
Workers in a German quarry in 1861 uncovered a puzzle that has not been solved after more than 120 years. The puzzle was a new fossil that had a wishbone like a bird's and wings with feathers. It was a bird, the earliest ever found. It was named Archaeopteryx...the "ancient wing."
One of the puzzling things about this bird was its ancestors. To try to solve this puzzle, scientists checked its head, its tail, its hands, its feet. Finally, one man studied the fossil for two years and listed 21 ways that its bones matched those of the small, meat-eating dinosaurs called coelurosaurs (see pages 44-45).
Archaeopteryx was a very primitive bird. It has been called a missing link in the evolutionary chain between the dinosaurs and modern birds. In some ways it was like a dinosaur. In other ways it was like a bird. It had teeth and a bony tail like a dinosaur. Birds today don't have teeth, and their tails are just long feathers. But, like birds, Archaeopteryx had wings and feathers.
Scientists still don't know for sure why this ancient bird had feathers or whether or not it could fly. Feathers help birds in many ways. Of course, they help birds fly. They also insulate them and help them stay warm. Perhaps feathers began as insulators. Small, warmblooded dinosaurs would have lost heat very quickly. Feathers would have helped keep their bodies at a constant temperature.
The feathers might have served other uses. Some people think that Archaeopteryx ran along the ground, chasing insects and other small prey. When it got close enough, it used its wide, feathered wings to scoop up its meal.
Archaeopteryx probably could not fly, at least the way most birds do today. It did not have the right bones for holding the muscles needed to flap its wings.
But Archaeopteryx might have been able to glide. That's what flying squirrels do. Some scientists think the bird climbed branches in search of prey, then spread its wings and floated gently back to the ground. Other scientists think it lived only on the ground.


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Mon Aug 08, 2016 1:27 pm

My 28th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Wexo's Where Did Dinosaurs Come From? If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

OK in the 1980s, but not in the 2000s ( https://www.amazon.com/review/RAVE9K9147YWQ/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 2/5

As you may remember, I grew up with Zoobooks magazine ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R94XM1O8E45DV/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ). Wexo's Zoobooks - Dinosaurs is my favorite issue of said magazine, so I was very excited to get Wexo's Where Did Dinosaurs Come From? (henceforth WD). I originally thought that WD was going to be the sequel issue I've always wanted. Boy, was I wrong about WD! WD would've been OK in the 1980s, but not in the 2000s. Switek's WD review ( http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/where-did-dinosaurs-come-from-49918128/?no-ist ) sums up most of the reasons why, but not the most important reason. In this review, I point you to Switek's WD review & add my own thoughts as well:
-The most important reason is that WD was billed as new when it actually was 20 years old: 1st, see the back cover; Then, compare that to "t-rex, prehistoric #zoobooks, #1989. #science!" ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/14859306@N06/5914388328 ). This explains most of the inaccuracies. However, there are several weird bits throughout WD that can't be explained by its outdatedness (E.g. See the Wexo quote).
-I'm surprised that Switek didn't say more about the paleoart given that, to quote Switek ( http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2015/06/10/a-dinosaur-reading-list-for-everyone/ ), "Everyone knows that half the fun of paleontology is imagining how prehistoric creatures looked and moved." In addition to Sibbick, WD is illustrated by Orr, Francis, & Newman. Sibbick's paleoart is especially noteworthy: For 1, to paraphrase Vincent ( http://chasmosaurs.blogspot.com/2012/12/vintage-dinosaur-art-creatures-of-long.html ), "The illustrations in [WD] show a marked improvement over those in the Norman encyclopedia from just [4] years prior. They demonstrate a stage in the evolution from Sibbick's earlier stodge-o-saurs to the altogether more active, muscular and modern-looking restorations of the '90s"; For another, it's very jarring to see Sibbick's T.rex in the style of Hallett's.
-In some ways, WD is better than the original (E.g. The main stuff is more well-organized, beginning with "some of the earliest creatures on earth" & ending with the Age of Dinosaurs). In other ways, WD is worse than the original (E.g. The sidebar stuff is more hit-&-miss).* In still other ways, they're about the same (E.g. Both refer to T.rex by different genus names).
-If you want a good alternative to WD, get Bakker's The Big Golden Book of Dinosaurs: For 1, not only does Bakker's book cover much of the same background info, but also goes well beyond;** For another, Bakker's book doesn't shy away from discussing evolution, using "the dreaded e-word" multiple times.

*While the hits really hit (E.g. A comparison of sauropods' teeth & garden tools), the misses really miss (E.g. A race between a man & various theropods in which the man is winning & the theropods are scattered all over with no apparent rhyme or reason).

**To quote Switek, "The trouble is that by the time Wexo gets to the dinosaurs, relatively little time is spent on explaining how different groups of dinosaurs evolved or even when different kinds of dinosaurs lived…The book then abruptly ends with no concluding section tying the lessons of the book together. Likewise, the fact that the book never discusses feathered dinosaurs or that birds are living theropod dinosaurs is a major flaw." Bakker's book does the exact opposite of all that & MUCH more.

Quoting Wexo:
Quote :
For a long time, the simple plants fed themselves on chemicals that were dissolved in the water. Later, they started to make food from sunlight and chemicals, as plants do today. But they did not eat each other…Then one day, for reasons that are not clear, one plant did eat another plant…and thereby became the first animal. Eating other plants was a good way to get food. For this reason, more and more new species of "animals" came along as time passed. Some new species of animals had the first mouths, to eat plants more easily.


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:44 pm

My 29th review for this thread is a positive 1 for Abramson et al.'s Inside Dinosaurs. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

This book would make a great exhibit ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1G5HZTPACE9QG/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=140277074X&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=283155&store=books ): 5/5

Short version: The best exhibits are attractive, brief, & clear (I.e. The ABCs of exhibit design). Abramson et al.'s Inside Dinosaurs (henceforth ID) takes the AMNH's best dino exhibits & combines them into the AMNH's best children's dino book.

Long version: Read on.

As you may have noticed, I usually review non-fiction dino books that either don't get enough praise for being good or don't get enough criticism for being bad. What's interesting about ID is that it got a lot of praise for being very well-illustrated, but little-to-no praise for being very well-organized & thematic. Put another way, to quote Ham (See Environmental Interpretation: A Practical Guide for People with Big Ideas and Small Budgets), the other Amazon Reviewers "worried more about the "A" than they did about the "B" and "C."" In this review, I focus on the "B" & "C" & why I think they make ID great.

1) Like a great exhibit, ID is very brief/well-organized: To quote Ham, "Brief exhibits are well organized and simple; they contain five or fewer main ideas and only enough text to develop the theme; rather than having a lot of words, they show details visually; they don't appear like they require a lot of work from the viewer". That's exactly what ID does: Not only does ID contain 5 main ideas as outlined on the 1st inside flap, but also 10 fold-out pages; Not only do said pages "allow kids to dig deeper into the topics and enjoy amazing illustrations", but also make ID interactive (Quoting Ham: "Besides being more enjoyable, interactive exhibits are better "teachers" than static ones"); This reminds me of the new DK Eyewitness books, but more engaging.

2) Like a great exhibit, ID is very clear/thematic: To quote Ham, "Clear exhibits contain a theme that is so conspicuous it can be recognized and understood in only a second or two." That's exactly what ID does: As outlined on the 1st inside flap, "This amazing book will give you the inside scoop on [dinos]...As a daring insider, you'll walk in the steps of these astonishing creatures"; The opening pages reinforce the "inside scoop" part of the theme (See the 1st Abramson et al. quote), while the closing pages reinforce the "daring insider" part of the theme (See the 2nd Abramson et al. quote); This reminds me of the Dinosaur Train series (Quoting Sampson: "Get outside, get into nature, and make your own discoveries!"), but for older kids.

If I could, I'd give ID an extra half star for being extra authoritative. My only gripes are the non-maniraptoran reconstructions (some of which have shrink-wrapped heads &/or too many claws) & the lack of pronunciations (especially of Chinese names). 2 more things of note: 1) There are direct & indirect references to the AMNH's "Hall of Dinosaurs", "Fighting Dinos", & "Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries"; 2) The AMNH keeps updates on "American Museum of Natural History" when parts of ID become outdated.

Quoting Abramson et al.:
Quote :
Let's learn to look through a paleontologist's eyes and take a trip back to the time when fierce Albertosaurus stalked prey in the forests, spike-frilled Styracosaurus grazed in the ferns, groups of Corythosaurus hung out, and early birds darted through the sky. Join us as we explore the world of the dinosaur to get an inside look at the lives of these amazing creatures from long ago.

Quoting Abramson et al.:
Quote :
The discovery of new dinosaur fossils can happen almost anywhere and at any time. Amateur dinosaur hunters have discovered many fossils and even whole new species. The bones of the dinosaur Bambiraptor were found by a fourteen-year-old boy on his family's ranch in Montana. So if you have exposed sedimentary rock in your backyard, don't be afraid to get out there and try to make your very own dinosaur discovery. Don't have any sedimentary rock nearby? Look at the trees…the birds you see are your very own dinosaur discoveries.


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:40 pm

My 30th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Long's Dinosaurs (Insiders). If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

The worst alternative ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1Y51RJP1YORCC/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1416938575&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=283155&store=books ): 1/5

For as long as there has been Dinosaur (DK Eyewitness Books) (henceforth DD), there have been wannabes. As much as I love DD, I understand why readers would want an alternative: For 1, see the Ben quote; What Ben says about "the AMNH fossil halls" goes for DD; For another, DD is a mixed bag in terms of paleoart.* However, as far as I know, Abramson et al.'s Inside Dinosaurs is the only good alternative. Long's Dinosaurs (Insiders) (henceforth DI) is the worst of all the other alternatives. In this review, I list the 2 main reasons why I think that is, besides the text.**

1) Unlike DD, DI is an annoying & confusing mess in terms of writing & organization. In reference to "annoying...writing", this is especially apparent in the sub-chapter about the dino extinction because 1) the main text explains nothing about the science behind the dino extinction story, & 2) the sidebar text needlessly re-tells said story. In reference to "confusing...organization", this is especially apparent in the sub-chapters about studying & finding/reconstructing dino fossils because 1) you have to find dino fossils BEFORE you can study/reconstruct them, & 2) the text explaining said processes is scattered all over with no apparent rhyme or reason.

2) Unlike DD's life reconstructions, DI's are mostly not-so-good. Those by Carr are as good as it gets in DI, while those by Pixel-shack are as bad as it gets: In reference to Carr, that's not saying much; Some of her life reconstructions are OK (E.g. See the small T.rex on the front cover), while others are just plain outdated/abominable (E.g. See the feathered dinos on the back cover; Some have pronated hands or splayed legs; Others look like demented muppets or feathered lizards); In reference to Pixel-shack, I've already said everything I have to say about them in my Dinosaurs review (See reason #4: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3J1R5BYAZABGZ/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1847244173&nodeID=283155&store=books ); In DI, the ankylosaurs are depicted as being piles of poop, while the tyrannosaurs are shameless rip-offs of the Jurassic Park T.rex. Those by the other illustrators fall somewhere in between, but more towards Pixel-shack (E.g. See Eriksson's large T.rex on the front cover, which is a poorly-photoshopped lace monitor). McKinnon's paleoart may be the 2nd worst in DI (E.g. Not only is the Struthiomimus un-feathered with pronated hands, but also duck-billed with cheeks).

*I'm specifically referring to DD's life reconstructions, some of which are not-so-good (E.g. Those by various illustrators & Pixel-shack in the older & newer editions, respectively).

**Even if you only read the "Fast facts" & the "Time bar", you'll see that there's an average of at least 3 or 4 factual errors per page in DI, a 64 page book.

Quoting Ben ( https://extinctmonsters.net/2015/02/26/framing-fossil-exhibits-phylogeny/ ):
Quote :
Within the actual fossil halls, interpretation remains stubbornly unapproachable. For example, the sign introducing proboscidians tells visitors that this group is defined primarily by eye sockets located near the snout. An observant visitor might wonder why scientists rely on such an obscure detail, as opposed to the obvious trunks and tusks. There’s a good teaching moment there concerning why some characteristics might face more selection pressure (and thus change more radically) than others, but instead visitors are only offered esoteric statements. Relatedly, the exhibit does little to prioritize information. Most label text is quite small, and there’s a lot of it. Compare this to Evolving Planet at the Field Museum, where there is a clear hierarchy of headings and sub-headings. Visitors can read the main point of a display without even stopping, and parents can quickly find relevant information to answer their charges’ questions (rather than making something up).
Evolving Planet also compares favorably to the AMNH fossil halls in its informative aesthetics and spatial logic. At FMNH, walls and signs in each section are distinctly color-coded, making transitions obvious and intuitive. Likewise, consistent iconography...such as the mass extinction zones...helps visitors match recurring themes and topics throughout the exhibit. AMNH, in contrast, has a uniform glass and white-walled Apple Store aesthetic. It’s visually appealing, but doesn’t do much to help visitors navigate the space in a meaningful way.


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:14 pm

My 31st review for this thread is a positive 1 for Hedley's Dinosaurs and Their Living Relatives. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

Cladistics yay! ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1SCM65CLPZD4M/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 5/5

To quote Grandmother Fish ( https://plus.google.com/+Grandmotherfish/posts/9vgV2CqjerP ), clades "are central to a modern understanding of how we living things relate to each other." Before Holtz's Dinosaurs, Hedley's Dinosaurs and Their Living Relatives (henceforth Living) was 1 of the best children's dino books when it came to introducing older kids (especially those who like activity books) to cladistics. In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think that is, 1 for each part of Living (See the Hedley quote).

1) To quote Sampson ( http://www.scottsampson.net/index.php?page=dinosaur-odyssey ), "all science writing should follow Albert Einstein’s dictum: “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”" That's exactly what Living does. More specifically, Living guides readers step-by-step through using cladistics to work out relationships. This is especially apparent in the 1st part (E.g. 1st, it defines & gives examples of homologues; Then, it defines & gives examples of analogues; Last, it asks readers, "Can you recognize homologues? Two of these animals have structures that are homologous to a bird's wing. Which do you think they are?"). In that sense, Living is basically a cladistic activity book.

2) To paraphrase Milner ( http://www.accessscience.com/content/dino-birds/YB061940 ), "It has been widely accepted for more than [20 years before Sinosauropteryx] that birds are direct descendants of small theropods...called maniraptorans." Living is very good at showing that. This is especially apparent in the 2nd part (I.e. See the Padian quote; Chapter 5 is basically that, but in a more step-by-step form).

3) The 3rd part is illustrated with Graham High's dino models & they're very life-like. This is especially apparent in the cover ( https://ia600708.us.archive.org/zipview.php?zip=/34/items/olcovers702/olcovers702-L.zip&file=7024262-L.jpg ): Remember when Lex shines the light into the T.rex's eye in Jurassic Park?; To quote Faraci ( http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2011/05/05/best-movies-ever-jurassic-park-1993 ), "the way the beast’s pupil dilates is amazing and scary at once. This seems to be a real thing!, you think, in awe. And it’s right there, inches away!, you think, afraid for the kids"; The same goes for the cover. It's also worth mentioning that the Preface & Chapter 1 are illustrated with Peter Snowball's dino paintings & they're very easy on the eyes. 1 of my only gripes is that some of the herbivorous dinos (especially the sauropods) are depicted as dragging their tails.*

*My other gripe is the lack of evolution (I.e. Living uses the word "evolution" multiple times, but doesn't define it).

Quoting Hedley:
Quote :
This book takes a completely new approach to the study of dinosaurs. It sets out to discover how dinosaurs are related to other animals...both living and extinct. It begins by explaining a simple method for working out the relationships between animals. Then, using many photographs and diagrams, it applies this method to the dinosaurs. The book ends with a unique series of new full-colour illustrations of many of the Natural History Museum's most famous dinosaurs...as they may have appeared when they were alive.

Quoting Padian ( https://ncse.com/library-resource/dinosaurs-birds-update ):
Quote :
In a short paper in Nature, John Ostrom (1973) first laid out a case for the descent of birds from theropod dinosaurs. At the time, other ideas had recently been proposed, linking birds to crocodiles or to a more vaguely defined group of archosaurs (the group that includes birds, dinosaurs, crocodiles, pterosaurs, and many extinct relatives). Although all three hypotheses had early proponents, only the dinosaur-bird hypothesis survived the decade, mainly because (1) the evidence was convincing, (2) the hypothesis survived repeated tests using cladistic analysis, and (3) the alternatives were too vaguely phrased, there was no convincing evidence for them, and they failed repeated cladistic testing. The public tends to think that there is a substantial controversy among scientists about the ancestry of birds, partly because the public does not understand cladistics and partly because cladistics is rejected as a method by the opponents of the dinosaur-bird hypothesis.


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:55 am

Have you reviewed "The Tyrannosaur Chronicles" by David Hone yet? I got it for Christmas and I love that book very much.

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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:33 am

@Rhedosaurus wrote:
Have you reviewed "The Tyrannosaur Chronicles" by David Hone yet? I got it for Christmas and I love that book very much.

I actually haven't read Hone's book yet, but I will. Would you like me to review it?
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:49 am

@JD-man wrote:
@Rhedosaurus wrote:
Have you reviewed "The Tyrannosaur Chronicles" by David Hone yet? I got it for Christmas and I love that book very much.

I actually haven't read Hone's book yet, but I will. Would you like me to review it?

I wouldn't have had typed that I didn't want to see what you thought of it.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:06 am

@Rhedosaurus wrote:
I wouldn't have had typed that I didn't want to see what you thought of it.

Just making sure. I have several in-progress reviews that I need to finish 1st. I'll let you know when I do review it. I'm aiming for April 2018.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:54 pm

My 32nd review for this thread is a negative 1 for Markle's Outside And Inside Dinosaurs. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

BANDitry boo! ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R3VEMQKSPPFFLC?ref_=pe_584750_33951330 ) 1/5

If you want the best insider's book about dinos for kids, get Abramson et al.'s Inside Dinosaurs. Despite all the praise heaped on them (See "More About the Author"), Markle's Outside And Inside series in general & Outside And Inside Dinosaurs (henceforth Outside) in particular were never the best or even just decent in their own right. In this review, I list the 2 main reasons why I think that is while using the Markle quote as an example.

1) Outside seems to pander to the fringe group BAND (= Birds Are Not Dinosaurs). More specifically, debunked BANDit claims are depicted as being as valid as dino expert facts. In the Markle quote alone, it's claimed that growth rings indicate ectothermy (They don't), Troodon was ectothermic (It wasn't), scaly skin indicates ectothermy (It doesn't), Sinosauropteryx imprints could be "frilly fins" (They couldn't be), & said imprints could be collagen fibers (They couldn't be). Said claims are probably because BANDit Terry Jones is 1 of the researchers Markle thanks "for sharing their enthusiasm and expertise". The problem is that BANDits aren't dino experts (See the GSPaul quote), but 9 of the researchers are & have been debunking BANDit claims for years, especially Tim Rowe, who co-authored Dingus/Rowe's Mistaken Extinction: Dinosaur Evolution and the Origin of Birds.

2) Even if you ignore the fringe pandering, Outside still fails in the following ways (which apply to the Outside And Inside series in general):
-The photos are grainy to varying degrees. Surprise surprise, the grainiest photos are of feathered dino fossils & taken by Terry Jones, who (as indicated by the Naish quote) is known for using grainy-as-heck photos.
-The writing is too simple & condescending (E.g. To quote Bakker from a good children's dino book, "When you look at dinosaur bone under a microscope, you see it's full of tiny holes for little blood vessels. That means that the blood flow was high and the body generated a lot of heat"; Compare that to the 1st 2 paragraphs of the Markle quote).
-The text is hit-&-miss in terms of getting the facts straight: On average, there's 1 or 2 factual errors per page in Outside, a 40 page book; Those in the Markle quote are especially cringe-worthy (E.g. "Feathery scales" & "Feathered scales"; See "Feather evolution" for why they're so cringe-worthy: http://people.eku.edu/ritchisong/feather_evolution.htm ).

Quoting Markle:
Quote :
A special tool, called a microscope, was used to enlarge this slice of a Troodon's leg bone. It offers a clue to solving a mystery: Did dinosaurs produce their own body heat or did they just soak up heat from the world around them?
See the rings in the bone? Some dinosaur experts believe these rings could mean the dinosaur soaked up heat. All animals need heat energy to be active and grow, so the dinosaur may have grown more when it was warmer. However not all dinosaur bones have rings. Some dinosaur bones are full of holes, like the bones of animals that make their own body heat. When the dinosaur was alive, the holes were filled with tubes that carried blood. The blood quickly spread heat energy throughout the animal's body.
But the question still remains: Did dinosaurs produce their own heat? More clues are needed to solve this mystery.
Here's another clue. It's an imprint of a Hadrosaurus' skin. The little bumps are like those on an alligator. This sort of scaly skin is a good, tough covering for a body that soaks up heat by lying on the ground. So did all dinosaurs have scaly skin?
Dinosaur imprints, like this one of a Sinosauropteryx, make some researchers believe there were dinosaurs with feathery scales. If these were like down feathers they would have been good for holding in body heat. Feathered scales could be proof that at least some dinosaurs produced their own heat.
Other researchers don't think such imprints show skin at all. Some believe the imprints show frilly fins like those seen on the backs of some of today's lizards. Others believe the imprints show a kind of tissue that lies just underneath the skin, connecting the skin to the muscles and bones.

Quoting GSPaul ( http://dml.cmnh.org/1997Jan/msg00318.html ):
Quote :
I also agree with AF that although cladistics is very important, it is also not phylogenetic nirvana. What AF does not know is how overwhelming is the skull, skeletal, eggshell and nesting behaviour evidence that advanced theropods are the ancestors of birds. Feduccia and other paleoornithologists sometimes say that we dinoologists do not understand bird anatomy well enough. Actually, we know birds quite well because they are the living dinosaurs we look at all the time. The real problem is that some paleoornithologists do not understand the anatomy of nonavian archosaurs well enough.

Quoting Naish ( http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/07/17/birds-cannot-be-dinosaurs/ ):
Quote :
— the innards of Sinosauropteryx and Scipionyx supposedly falsify avian-like air-sac systems in non-avian coelurosaurs and demonstrate a croc-like hepatic piston diaphragm (Ruben et al. 1997, 1999), even though a gigantic dose of personal interpretation is required to accept that this claim might be correct, even though crocodilians and dinosaurs are fundamentally different in pelvic anatomy, and even though some living birds have the key soft-tissue traits reported by Ruben et al. in Sinosauropteryx and Scipionyx yet still have an avian respiratory system [alleged diaphragm of Sinosauropteryx highlighted in adjacent image; unconvincing on all levels]
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:30 pm

My 33rd review for this thread is a positive 1 for Martin's Dinosaurs Without Bones: Dinosaur Lives Revealed by their Trace Fossils. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

1 of a kind ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R385LV9OEXYSG8/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 5/5

Short version: If you want the only popular adult book about dino traces, get Martin's Dinosaurs Without Bones: Dinosaur Lives Revealed by their Trace Fossils (henceforth Bones). If you want the best adult day-in-the-life dino book, get Bones. If you want the most 1 of a kind adult dino book, get Bones.

Long version: Read on.

As you may have noticed, I usually review non-fiction dino books that either don't get enough praise for being good or don't get enough criticism for being bad. What's interesting about Bones is that it got a lot of praise for covering so much ground on dino traces, but little-to-no praise for how it covers said ground (which is what really makes it 1 of a kind). Not only is Bones the only popular adult book about dino traces, but also the best adult day-in-the-life dino book. In this review, I list the 2 main reasons why I think that is.

1) The 1st part of a day-in-the-life dino book usually tells a day-in-the-life story of a dino. 1 of the major problems I have with many day-in-the-life dino books is that their stories are poorly-written. Thanks to Martin, Bones doesn't have that problem. In fact, Bones is basically a dino-centric version of Aardema's Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale written in the style of Bakker's Raptor Red, but better: For 1, Chapter 1 tells a day-in-the-life story of a "big male Triceratops" & how its "aggressive movement...triggered overt and subtle changes in the behaviors of nearly every dinosaur nearby"; This is like Aardema's book ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO1K4wXy2CI ), but better because it's more realistic; For another, Chapter 1 "serves as a vehicle for [Martin] to give science lessons in a user-friendly format" ( http://prehistoricpulp.blogspot.com/2007/07/raptor-red-by-robert-t-bakker-1995.html ); This is like Bakker's book, but better because "most [of the dinos in Chapter 1] are from near the end of the Cretaceous Period (about 70 million years ago) and in an area defined approximately by Montana and Alberta, Canada."* This is especially apparent in the Martin quote.

2) The 2nd part of a day-in-the-life dino book usually explains the science behind the story. 1 of the major problems I have with many day-in-the-life dino books is that they concentrate on the story with only limited emphasis on the science (which doesn't make sense to me given how much science there is behind a given story). It'd be like "The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition — Blu-ray" having 26 hours of film & only 11 hours of bonus material ( http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/movies/dvd/2011-06-30-lord-of-the-rings-dvd-extra_n.htm ). Thanks to Martin, Bones doesn't have that problem. In fact, Bones is the closest thing we have to an adult day-in-the-life dino book done right, LOTR style: Not only do Chapters 2-11 cover all of the dino traces in Chapter 1, but also all related dino traces (E.g. See the Martin quote; Not only does Chapter 8 cover dino "scat", but also dino stomach & intestinal contents, vomit, & urine); It helps that, like LOTR DVD extras, Chapters 2-11 are very well-organized, beginning with Triceratops tracks (in reference to the big male's "aggressive movement") in Chapter 2 & ending with sauropod trails (which made "the sunlit valley" itself possible) in Chapter 11.

If I could, I'd give Bones a 4.5/5. My only problem is the lack of paleoart (There's a series of color plates; That's about it): On the 1 hand, Bones is a "TRANSITION TO THE TECHNICAL" & thus doesn't have "lots of different dinosaurs fully restored" ( http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2013/05/holtzs-dinosaur-lovers-bookshelf-article.html ); On the other hand, similar books do have "high quality pictures and graphs that break up the text" ( https://paleoaerie.org/2014/06/02/best-introduction-to-evolution-textbook/ ); At the very least, Chapter 1 should've been illustrated for obvious reasons. However, for the purposes of this review, I'll round up to 5/5.

*To quote Holtz ( http://dml.cmnh.org/1995Sep/msg00258.html ), "The fauna Bakker portrays is a very artificial one, combining genera from two different parts of the Early Cretaceous."

Quoting Martin:
Quote :
In between the two Triceratops, a group of small feathered theropod dinosaurs with stubby forearms—similar to the Asian alvarezsaur Mononykus—and a nearby bunch of slightly larger ornithopod dinosaurs (Thescelosaurus) looked on warily. Each of these groups of dinosaurs had been striding unhurriedly across the floodplain, tolerating one another's presence, spurred on by intriguing scents wafting down the sunlit valley. Nevertheless, a charging Triceratops provided a good reason to temporarily abandon their longterm goals and deal with this more immediate problem.
In unison, they all looked up at the advancing Triceratops, its profile and rapidly increasing pace causing it to appear ever larger as it neared. Next to them, a mixed flock of toothed birds and pterosaurs all turned and aligned themselves with the wind at their backs. They began hopping while flapping their wings, and then were aloft, chattering loudly. This was all the motivation one of the more skittish theropods needed to start running, and the rest of his group followed suit. The ornithopods only hesitated a second or two before doing the same. First, though, more than a few of both species lightened the load before taking off, involuntarily voiding their bowels and leaving variably colored and sized scat, peppered with seeds, on top of their distinctive footprints. In her haste, one Thescelosaurus slipped on a muddy patch and fell on her side. She quickly righted herself and bolted to catch up with the others, leaving a long, smeared body impression on the sand among the tracks.


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:51 am

My 34th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Stewart's Why Did T. rex Have Short Arms?: And Other Questions about Dinosaurs. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

The paleoart is the only good part ( https://www.amazon.com/review/RRMG7G6JUAPF7/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 2/5

If you want the best digital paleoart, get Csotonyi's The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi. If you can't afford Csotonyi's book, get Stewart's Why Did T. rex Have Short Arms?: And Other Questions about Dinosaurs (henceforth Arms). Arms is some of Csotonyi's best work next to his Oxford University Museum of Natural History labels ( https://morethanadodo.com/2015/08/07/bringing-dinosaurs-to-life/ ). In terms of paleoart, Csotonyi is basically "Peter Zallinger, Doug Henderson and Greg Paul" combined into 1 awesome being ( https://www.amazon.com/Paleoart-Julius-Csotonyi/dp/1781169128 ). Unfortunately, the paleoart is the only good part of Arms.

As you may remember, I generally dislike the dino Q&A genre for 3 main reasons: 1) Redundant questions; 2) Vague answers; 3) Bad Q&As (I.e. Stupid or misleading questions & misleading or wrong answers). Arms, while not the worst Children's dino Q&A book, is still very bad:
-Redundant questions? Uncheck (There are only 16 questions), but Arms more than makes up for this in the following ways.
-Vague answers? Check times infinity! The 1st Stewart quote is the worst because it answers 1 of the biggest questions in science with a vague "just so" story (See the penultimate paragraph).
-Bad Q&As? Check times infinity! The 1st Stewart quote is the worst because it fails on many levels: It contradicts itself from a previous Q&A (See the 2nd Stewart quote; If "birds are a group of dinosaurs", then people did, & still do, "live at the same time as dinosaurs"); It avoids using the word "evolution" (as does the rest of Arms); It fails to understand that "developed" =/= "evolved" ( http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/04/2/l_042_02.html ); It fails to get the facts straight (E.g. To quote Witmer, Archaeopteryx looked like "just another feathered predatory dinosaur"; Each wing had 3 LONG fingers); It fails to explain what it means by "dino-bird". & if that's not bad enough, it isn't even illustrated with Csotonyi's Archaeopteryx, but with a stock photo of a shameless rip-off of Sibbick's Archaeopteryx with a scaly dragon face & "Wings...but with hands!" ( http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/illustration/illustration-of-archaeopteryx-preys-on-a-dragonfly-in-stock-graphic/82828488 ).*

To sum up, I recommend getting Arms ONLY for the paleoart. If you want to know "Why Did T. rex Have Short Arms", google "Wyrex’s fancy footwork and tender hands: Get to know this tyrannosaur’s softer side".

*Google "Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Age of Dinosaurs" for "Wings...but with hands!"

Quoting Stewart:
Quote :
Are there any dinosaurs alive today?
Believe it or not, birds are the modern relatives of dinosaurs. In fact, T.rex is more closely related to a blue jay than to an alligator.
Most paleontologists think that birds are a group of dinosaurs that developed around 150 million years ago. Archaeopteryx...may be the earliest true bird discovered so far. It lived in central Europe about 150 million years ago.
Archaeopteryx looked like a cross between a lizard and a bird. Like a lizard, it had sharp teeth and a long tail. Its body was covered in feathers, and it had wings. But each wing had three small fingers with claws on the ends.
Scientists think that feathers first developed to help dinosaurs stay warm. Over time, feathers became larger and dino-bird bodies became more equipped to fly. At some point, feathered dinosaurs got a split-second of extra "lift" when they pounced on prey. This gave them an advantage over other small dinosaurs and helped them survive. As their bodies continued to change, dino-birds learned to glide. Eventually, they took flight.
By the time an asteroid struck Earth 65 million years ago, many kinds of dino-birds lived all over the world. Some of them survived the disaster and developed into the birds we see today.

Quoting Stewart:
Quote :
Did people live at the same time as dinosaurs?
No way! The earliest humans walked the earth around 2.3 million years ago. By then, dinosaurs had been dead and gone for more than 60 million years.
Our ancient relatives shared the world with large herbivores such as woolly mammoths and giant ground sloths. They worried about being attacked by cave bears and saber-tooth cats. None of these larger mammals are alive today. They are extinct. Scientists are still trying to figure out why they disappeared.


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:34 pm

My 35th review for this thread is a positive 1 for Zoobooks Zoodinos Tyrannosaurus Rex. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's for a very good book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

Could be better, but still good ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1Z11U1ZI7TALW/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 4/5

As you may remember, I've always wanted a sequel issue to Wexo's Zoobooks - Dinosaurs (henceforth ZD: https://www.amazon.com/review/RAVE9K9147YWQ/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ). Now, thanks to "Bring Dinosaurs Back to Life: New Zoobooks Dinos for Kids", there's a whole series of sequel issues. Zoobooks Zoodinos Tyrannosaurus Rex (henceforth ZZ) is the 1st sequel issue. In this review, I list the 3 major differences between ZZ & ZD that seem bad, but are actually good.

1) ZZ is for younger kids than ZD (6-12 vs. 9 & up, respectively): This seems bad because it implies that ZZ doesn't do as much as ZD; This seems to be the case when you compare "Meet the Theropods!" ( https://sayeridiary.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/theropod.png?resize=760%2C463 ) to the theropod part of "Zoobooks: Dinosaurs - Poster" ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/babbletrish/5747604441 ); However, this is actually good because, to paraphrase the Nostalgia Critic ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL4vRihNk4s ), ZZ "had to find new avenues that people wouldn't think of if they had the luxury of" a higher age range; In this case, ZZ has less text, but uses more of it to discuss theropods & what they have in common; Also, ZZ has fewer theropod genera, but does more with them by showing the most extreme examples of theropod diversity doing their thing in their natural environment (as opposed to running around in a vacuum like ZD).

2) ZZ is mostly illustrated by Wilson (as opposed to Hallett like ZD): This seems bad because 1) nostalgia is a powerful thing, & 2) Hallett is "one of the most influential masters of modern dinosaur imagery" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Hallett_%28artist%29 ); However, this is actually good because 1) variety is the spice of life, & 2) while Hallett's paleoart is better overall, Wilson's is easier on the eyes & thus better for younger kids (Google Books search "Aesthetics A classroom is" for why); Also, while Wilson's ZZ work isn't the best, it's still good & MUCH better than his previous work (E.g. Compare ZZ's cover to that of Brown's The Day the Dinosaurs Died).

3) 1 definitely-good difference is the organization of ZZ. More specifically, ZZ is a reverse day-in-the-life dino book & thus MUCH better organized than ZD. I like how the science builds up to a day-in-the-life story of "Hungry Tara" that ties all the science together. My only problem with the story is Harren's paleoart (which is better looking but less accurate than Wilson's).*

*E.g. Harren's T.rex is a shameless rip-off of the Jurassic Park T.rex.


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:52 pm

My 36th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Henry's RAPTOR: The Life of a Young Deinonychus. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

The odd life of a young sparkleraptor ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2BSHHZ5GWKWZJ/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 1/5

If you want the best day-in-the-life dromaeosaur book, get Bakker's Raptor Pack & read it in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's Dinosaurs in general & Chapter 20 in particular). As far as I know, Bakker's book gives the best idea of 1) what dromaeosaurs were like when alive, & 2) how we know what we know. I can't say the same about Henry's RAPTOR: The Life of a Young Deinonychus (henceforth Life). In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think that is.

1) The 1st part of a day-in-the-life dino book usually tells a day-in-the-life story of a dino. 1 of the major problems I have with many day-in-the-life dino books is that their stories are poorly-written. The same goes for Life: Being complete & in-depth is especially important to a day-in-the-life story that covers more than a day ( http://prehistoricpulp.blogspot.com/2007/07/raptor-red-by-robert-t-bakker-1995.html ); The problem is that Life is anything but, skipping & glossing over many important things in Deinonychus's life (E.g. Everything related to reproduction).

2) 1 of the major problems I have with many day-in-the-life dino books is that their stories are poorly-illustrated. The same goes for Life: If you think Rey's Deinonychus is ugly, then you'll hate Life's; The former is at least plausible; The latter isn't even that (E.g. Pronated hands, feathers that look more like bush viper scales, etc); Worse still, the latter is a "Sparkleraptor" ( http://babbletrish.deviantart.com/art/PSA-Addendum-177783393 ); Not only is that misleading, but also hypocritical given that, to quote Penney, "Painting dinosaurs in bright colors…makes more sense than thinking that all dinosaurs were either gray or brown, which is how they were painted during the first half of the twentieth century."

3) The 2nd part of a day-in-the-life dino book usually explains the science behind the story. 1 of the major problems I have with many day-in-the-life dino books is that they concentrate on the story with only limited emphasis on the science (which doesn't make sense to me given how much science there is behind a given story). The same doesn't go for Life, but only because there's almost no emphasis on the science: There's a map (See the Henry quote) & an artist's note; That's about it. In other words, not only do the dinos not act like dinos, but there's no scientific justification given for how they acted.*

*At best, Life's Deinonychus is more croc-like than dino-like. At worst, Life's Deinonychus is unlike any real animal. In reference to "At best", it's stated that "Deinonychus's mate sits on a buried clutch of eggs", presumably based on croc nest-guarding (Quoting GSPaul: "A female drapes part of her body in irregular poses atop a nest within which her eggs are deeply buried"). In actuality, pennaraptorans in general & Deinonychus in particular brooded their eggs ( http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/e06-033 ). In reference to "At worst", it's implied that animal packs are competition-based hierarchies, presumably based on "the notions of "alpha wolf" and "alpha dog"" ( http://io9.gizmodo.com/why-everything-you-know-about-wolf-packs-is-wrong-502754629 ). In actuality, wolf packs are families. The same goes for dino packs (Quoting Orellana/Rojas: "Cooperative hunting is executed by pairs, family groups, or sibling groups, and is generally related to cooperative breeding").

Quoting Henry:
Quote :
The Cretaceous Period lasted from 146 million years ago until 65 million years ago. This map shows how the landmasses of the planet looked at the time of our story, 100 million years ago. The white outlines denote the modern shapes of the continents as we know them today.
Our story takes place in North America, in the great forest that existed beyond the western shore of the great inland sea called the Niobrara. The fossil remains of several different kinds of dinosaurian raptors...including Deinonychus...have been discovered here.


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:40 pm

My 37th review for this thread is a positive 1 for Lauber's How Dinosaurs Came to Be. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's for a very good book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

Why didn't anyone tell me about this book? ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R39WS997IOS6UW/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 4/5

If you're anything like me (I.e. A life-long dino fan born in the 1980s), you probably grew up with Lauber's work in general & The News About Dinosaurs in particular, the latter of which introduced me to Henderson. It's amazing then that I didn't know about Lauber's How Dinosaurs Came to Be (henceforth HD) until adulthood. & it's doubly amazing how good HD is for a children's book about a very important yet under-appreciated subject:* For 1, it's very well-illustrated (I.e. Henderson's pastels are especially easy on the eyes; See the cover for what I mean); For another, it's very well-organized (I.e. Not only does it have a chronological format, but each chapter begins with a day-in-the-life story & ends with a lead-in to the next chapter); For yet another, it's very complete & in-depth.**

At this point, you may be wondering why only 4/5 stars? For 1, there are several technical problems throughout HD (I.e. Dinos with too many claws & non-pastels with hard-to-make-out details). For another, HD avoids using the word "evolution" (E.g. "By studying the fossil record, paleontologists can see when and how new kinds of life developed"). Even still, I recommend reading HD in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's "Dinosaurs" in general & Chapter 39 in particular).

*Google "Triassic Officially Loses Status! - General Fossil Discussion" for what I mean by "very important yet under-appreciated".

**After Chapter 1 (which summarizes "the world of the early dinosaurs" & how "we know about these ancient times"), HD consists of 4 chapters, each of which focuses on a different period or epoch (Permian, Early Triassic, Middle Triassic, Late Triassic). Not only does each chapter describe the dominant land animals, but also key scientific concepts related to their dominance (E.g. Chapter 2 describes the pelycosaurs that dominated the Permian landscape as well as the continental drift that led to their dominance).
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:31 am

My 38th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Moody's Dinofile: Profiles of 120 Amazing, Terrifying and Bizarre Beasts. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

The REAL worst dino field guide ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R11QFC0SN4L2PA/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 1/5

If you want the best dino field guide for casual readers, get Holtz/Brett-Surman's Jurassic World Dinosaur Field Guide. As you may remember, I referred to Brusatte's Field Guide to Dinosaurs as "the worst dino field guide" ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1BHCV2E970BGY/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1849160066 ). However, that was before I read Moody's Dinofile: Profiles of 120 Amazing, Terrifying and Bizarre Beasts (henceforth Dinofile). Brusatte's book is at least well-organized & authoritative. Dinofile isn't even that. In this review, I list the other, more major problems (which, ironically, are listed as highlights on the back cover) while using the Microraptor profile as the main example ( http://palaeofail.tumblr.com/post/71902141271/happy-new-year-from-palaeofail ).

1) To say that Dinofile is annoying in terms of writing would be a major understatement. This is especially apparent in the so-called "in-depth profiles".* Even if you only read the "at-a-glance information", you'll see that the animal names are annoyingly misspelled (E.g. Maniraptora is misspelled as Manuraptora) & inconsistent (E.g. Some of the dromaeosaurs are grouped as maniraptorans, while others are grouped as eumaniraptorans).

2) To say that Dinofile is hit-&-miss in terms getting the facts straight would be a major understatement. Again, this is especially apparent in the so-called "in-depth profiles". Even if you only read the "at-a-glance information", you'll see that there's an average of at least 3 factual errors per page in Dinofile, a 64 page book (E.g. Microraptor =/= 50 cm & 128-126 MYA).

3) Pixel-shack's "stunning and accurate computer artworks" are actually anything but. The scaly-skinned, bunny-handed Microraptor is bad, but not as bad as it gets in Dinofile (E.g. The Thecodontosaurus has a green iguana's feet, the Falcarius has a Velociraptor's head, & the Pachyrhinosaurus is a cyclops). It's also worth mentioning that many of the dinos drool a lot.

4) Many of the "silhouettes showing size comparison to humans" are ridiculously oversized. This is especially apparent in the dromaeosaur profiles: The Microraptor silhouette is Velociraptor-sized compared to humans, while the Velociraptor silhouette is Deinonychus-sized compared to humans; See FredtheDinosaurman's "Dromaeosauridae size chart for Wikipedia" for how said dromaeosaurs actually compare in size: https://fredthedinosaurman.deviantart.com/art/Dromaeosauridae-size-chart-for-Wikipedia-708931961

*So-called because they're annoyingly vague (E.g. See the Microraptor profile; Notice that it doesn't explain what it means by "bird-like dinosaurs" nor why Microraptor & Troodon don't count).


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:53 pm

Really enjoy these reviews, fun to see a different and more headlines perspective on my childhood books without nostalgia goggles lol. Keep em up!

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"A creature of the future, built with pieces of the past!"
"This is the most dangerous creature that ever walked the Earth!"
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:14 am

@Levine wrote:
Really enjoy these reviews, fun to see a different and more headlines perspective on my childhood books without nostalgia goggles lol. Keep em up!

Many thanks for the kind words. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:30 pm

My 39th review for this thread is a positive 1 for Naish/Barrett's Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

My NEW favorite serious dino book ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R3VQ7TMT8EFOC7/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 5/5

As you may remember, Gardom/Milner's The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs WAS my favorite serious dino book ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2URWS93D4PO4C/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=184442183X ). However, Naish/Barrett's Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved (henceforth DH) is my NEW favorite. Thus, DH is now my go-to natural history of dinos. There are 2 main reasons for why that is: 1) DH is very comprehensive; This is especially apparent in Chapters 5-6 (which not only cover "the origin of birds" like Chapter 10 of Gardom/Milner's book, but also birds "beyond the Cretaceous"); 2) DH is very well-illustrated; In addition to Sibbick (who illustrated Gardom/Milner's book), DH is illustrated by Bonadonna, Conway, Csotonyi, Knüppe, Nicholls, Willoughby, & Witton. My only nit-picks are the cover art (which, while not the worst, neither reflects the interior art nor compares to the cover art of Gardom/Milner's book) & the lack of focus on the museum website (although the museum logo should be enough to show readers where to go for more info). Otherwise, these 2 books are very similar (E.g. Compare the quotes at the end of this review). 2 more things of note: 1) Contra what Publishers Weekly says, the "chapter on dinosaur cladistics" is 1 of the highlights of DH; Each section reads like a mini-story of how that sub-group evolved; 2) For whatever reason, Amazon doesn't do Listmania! anymore; If it did, DH would be right under Pickrell's Flying Dinosaurs: How Fearsome Reptiles Became Birds on "My Serious Dino Books" ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/fullview/R2H4F8H299AK8M ).

"For 160 million years, dinosaurs were the most successful and diverse creatures to dominate the Earth. This book is based on the world-famous fossil collections and permanent “Dinosaurs” exhibition at London’s Natural History Museum. Written by two experts from one of the world’s leading Paleontology departments, this book features hundreds of color photos and illustrations that reveal the astonishing variety of life that proliferated in the Mesozoic Era—the Age of Dinosaurs. Tim Gardom has researched several major exhibitions, including The Natural History Museum’s acclaimed “Dinosaurs.” Angela Milner is Head of Fossil Vertebrates at The Natural History Museum" ( https://www.amazon.com/Natural-History-Museum-Book-Dinosaurs/dp/184442183X ).

"From the Victorian golden age of dinosaur discovery to the cutting edge of twenty-first century fossil forensics 'Dinosaurs' unravels the mysteries of the most spectacular group of animals our planet has ever seen. Despite facing drastic climatic conditions including violent volcanic activity, searing temperatures and rising and plunging sea levels, the dinosaurs formed an evolutionary dynasty that ruled the Earth for more than 150 million years.Darren Naish and Paul Barrett reveal the latest scientific findings about dinosaur anatomy, behaviour, and evolution. They also demonstrate how dinosaurs survived the great extinction at the end of the Cretaceous Period and continued to evolve and thrive alongside us, existing today as an incredibly diverse array of birds that are the direct descendants of theropods. 'Dinosaurs' is lavishly illustrated with specimens from the Natural History Museum's own collections, along with explanatory diagrams and charts and full-colour artistic reconstructions of dinosaur behaviour" ( https://www.amazon.com/Dinosaurs-They-Lived-Evolved-2016/dp/0565093118 ).


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:55 pm

My 40th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Green's The Dinosaur Museum: An Unforgettable, Interactive Virtual Tour Through Dinosaur History. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

The worst dino museum in book form ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1EIPWIOLMYAWT/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 1/5

Short version: If you want the best dino museum book for older kids, get Abramson et al.'s Inside Dinosaurs. If you want the best dino museum books for younger kids, get Aliki's dino books & read them in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's Dinosaurs).* Green's The Dinosaur Museum: An Unforgettable, Interactive Virtual Tour Through Dinosaur History (henceforth Museum #2) may be the worst children's dino museum book I've ever read.

Long version: Read on.

TripAdvisor Reviewers say that The Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester (henceforth Museum #1) is "the worst dinosaur museum", & based on their reviews & photos, I'm inclined to agree ( https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g186263-d268146-r137214416-The_Dinosaur_Museum-Dorchester_Dorset_England.html ). In this review, I list the 4 main reasons why Museum #2 is similarly bad or worse while using "The Meat-Eaters" as the main example (See the back cover).

1) Like Museum #1, Museum #2 is lacking in real fossils & full of bad reconstructions: In reference to fossils, each chapter has 1 or 2 at most & only some of them are real (E.g. "The Meat-Eaters" has a replica Velociraptor claw & a real T.rex tooth); In reference to reconstructions, each chapter has at least 3 or 4 & they're shameless rip-offs of more famous reconstructions (E.g. The Iguanodon on the front cover is a shameless rip-off of the "Walking With Dinosaurs" Iguanodon), just plain outdated/abominable (E.g. The T.rex has pronated hands; Both of the Giganotosaurus are unrecognizable as such), or some combination of both (E.g. The Velociraptor is a shameless rip-off of the "Jurassic Park" Velociraptor with pronated hands & feathers that look more like yellow grass).

2) Like Museum #1's text, Museum #2's is hit-&-miss in terms of getting the facts straight. In "The Meat-Eaters", it's claimed that Velociraptor "charged after prey at up to 40 miles...per hour" (More like 24 mph), T.rex's "tiny front limbs may have helped it to stand up after lying down" (They didn't), "T.rex teeth had serrated...edges that could cut through flesh like steak knives" (They couldn't), & Giganotosaurus was 3 m high (More like 4 m high).

3) Like Museum #1's writing, Museum #2's is annoyingly vague. In fact, Museum #2's is even worse in that it's also annoyingly hyperbolic (E.g. See the Green quote for both vagueness & hyperbole) & repetitive (E.g. The word "terrify" is used 3 times in "The Meat-Eaters" alone).

4) Like Museum #1, Museum #2 is poorly-organized. Not only are the dino chapters scattered all over with no apparent rhyme or reason, but so are the dinos within each chapter. This is especially apparent in "The Meat-Eaters" (which features Velociraptor, Giganotosaurus, & T.rex) & "Small but Deadly" (which features Oviraptor, Troodon, Deinonychus, Coelophysis, & Compsognathus). Not only are the theropod chapters separated by ornithischian & sauropod chapters, but the theropods within each chapter are almost completely random. In other words, nothing in Museum #2 makes any chronological/phylogenetic/ecological/etc sense.**

*In reference to "Aliki's dino books", google "paleoaerie.org/tag/aliki/".

**In reference to "chronological/phylogenetic/ecological/etc sense", google "DINOSOURS! on tumblr. - Framing Fossil Exhibits - Framing".

Quoting Green:
Quote :
Giganotosaurus
Monster-size Giganotosaurus was probably even larger than T.rex. Its enormous jaws opened more than wide-enough to swallow you! Most likely it lunged at victims and took great bites of flesh with its sharp teeth. One twist of its sturdy neck could have ripped its victim limb from limb.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:24 pm

My 41st review for this thread is a positive 1 for Bonner's Dining With Dinosaurs: A Tasty Guide to Mesozoic Munching. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

Dino ecology yay! ( https://www.amazon.com/review/RP5K90YL2VODH/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 5/5

Bonner's Dining With Dinosaurs: A Tasty Guide to Mesozoic Munching (henceforth Guide) is basically a cross between Chapter 5 of Sampson's Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life (I.e. "Solar Eating") & the "Dinosaur Block Party" episode of Dinosaur Train, but better. In this review, I list the 2 main reasons why I think that is.

1) Like "Solar Eating", Guide examines the different trophic levels of Mesozoic ecosystems, beginning with "mega carnivores" (E.g. T.rex) & ending with "trashivores" (I.e. Detritivores & decomposers). Also like "Solar Eating", Guide explains how food webs & photosynthesis work. In fact, Guide does the latter even better: For 1, instead of using a trophic pyramid to explain food webs, Guide uses a trophic layer cake (To paraphrase Gaffigan, "[Pyramids] can't compete with cake"); For another, instead of explaining photosynthesis in a paragraph of text, Guide explains it in a recipe with step-by-step directions & pictures showing how to create "SUGAR FROM SUNSHINE".

2) Like "Dinosaur Block Party", Guide is hosted by a human & a dino (I.e. Bonner & "her Microraptor pal"), who compare the features of different organisms in each trophic level. Also like "Dinosaur Block Party", Guide reconstructs entire Mesozoic ecosystems (E.g. That of the Jehol Group) & interviews experts about the science behind said reconstructions (I.e. "Ask a Scientist"). In fact, Guide does the latter even better: For 1, Guide's reconstructions are similarly cartoony, but MUCH more accurate; "The insectivores" is an especially good example of that ( https://hannahbonnerblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/featured-slider-dinning-2.jpg?w=768 ); For another, Guide's interviews don't just tell about said science, but also show it; "Mini carnivores and omnivores" is an especially good example of that ( https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-SgRrZOyjLms/WBFpnyKYTwI/AAAAAAAAHLg/lrNewyoVoT0Pt5drkbOWZk3GJZoq_c_TQCLcB/s1600/dining%2Bwith%2Bdinosaurs%2BDSC01790.JPG ).

My only nit-picks with Guide are the paleoart (which, while still good, is sketchier & less defined than Bonner's previous work) & the lack of explanatory/identifying text in some parts (which, while few & far between, is still weird for a book both by Bonner & for older kids).* With that in mind, I recommend reading Guide as 1) an introduction to dino ecology for younger kids, & 2) a transition to other, more adult books (E.g. Naish/Barrett's Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved in general & Chapter 4 in particular) for older kids.

*In reference to the paleoart, don't take my word for it. Compare the cover of Guide to that of Bonner's When Fish Got Feet, When Bugs Were Big, and When Dinos Dawned: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life on Earth. In reference to the lack of explanatory/identifying text, I'm specifically referring to "The raptors: midsize predators" & "Who ate who"/"Who eats who today?": The former makes a "Raptor Prey Restraint" reference ("The raptors couldn't fly, but feathered arms may have been used...for keeping their balance during an attack"), but doesn't explain it; The latter are meant to draw parallels between Mesozoic & modern ecosystems, yet only "Who ate who" identifies the different organisms in its ecosystem.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:44 am

My 42nd review for this thread is a negative 1 for Hort's Did Dinosaurs Eat Pizza?: Mysteries Science Hasn't Solved. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

Where's the substance? ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2D7VXPQ8H787T/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 2/5

If you want a substantial children's dino book about what we do & don't know, get Kudlinski's Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs! (henceforth Boy) & read it in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's Dinosaurs). It helps that Kudlinkski & Schindler are 1) very well-read, as indicated by the bibliography, & 2) collaborators with experts (I.e. Brinkman, Butler, & Norell). I can't say the same about Hort & O'Brien. As far as I know, Hort's Did Dinosaurs Eat Pizza?: Mysteries Science Hasn't Solved (henceforth Pizza) has neither a bibliography nor any expert collaboration & it shows in the lack of substance. In this review, I list the 3 main indications of that lack of substance.

1) Unlike Boy (which has a roughly chronological format, beginning with the discovery of Iguanodon & ending with the discovery of the Chinese feathered dinos), Pizza consists of a bunch of so-called "Mysteries Science Hasn't Solved" scattered all over with no apparent rhyme or reason. Each mystery is illustrated with dinos doing things we know they didn't do, so maybe Pizza's title was supposed to tie all the mysteries together. However, since Pizza's content has nothing to do with eating pizza, it's just a confusing mess.

2) Unlike Boy (which is illustrated with mostly-good cartoon dinos & page-by-page comparisons of what people used to think vs. what we think now), Pizza is illustrated with mostly-bad cartoon dinos (E.g. O'Brien's T.rex is basically a cartoon version of Solonevich's Antrodemus: https://chasmosaurs.blogspot.com/2013/08/vintage-dinosaur-art-dinosaurs-and-more.html ). Not only are the dinos themselves bad, but they make a lot of the text misleading: It's claimed that "different scientists can disagree by as much as [20 or 30] tons in estimating weights"; While this is technically true when it comes to sauropods, it's illustrated with a Styracosaurus (which weighed between 1 & 4 tons) outweighing an entire family farm.

3) Unlike Boy (which has mostly-accurate text that uses multiple lines of evidence to show why we think what we think), Pizza has a lot of misleading or wrong text, partly because of the aforementioned illustrations, & partly because it refers to many non-mysteries as mysteries (hence the "so-called" in indication #1 above). This is especially apparent in the text about T.rex & birds (E.g. See the Hort quotes, which fail on many levels).*

*They fail to get the facts straight (E.g. Giganotosaurus & Spinosaurus were larger; To quote Hendrickson, "I feel very sure, as do 99 percent of all dinosaur paleontologists, that T. rex was a predator"); They fail to understand how ecology works (Quoting GSPaul: "The idea that animals as big as most theropods were true scavengers is ecologically unfeasible"); They fail to understand how evolution works (If "birds evolved from dinosaurs," then they ARE "considered dinosaurs"); They fail to understand that, "scientifically, traditions are an idiot thing" ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7HmltUWXgs ); They fail to understand that, traditionally, "the word dinosaur" refers to non-bird dinos, not "extinct dinosaur species of the Mesozoic Era" (which include many bird species).

Quoting Hort:
Quote :
Tyrannosaurus rex may have been the largest meat eater ever. But the jury is still out on whether T. rex mostly hunted for its food or mostly scavenged to find dinner that was already dead.

Quoting Hort:
Quote :
Most scientists now agree that birds evolved from dinosaurs, and a convincing case can be made that, as long as birds survive, dinosaurs aren't really extinct. Since there is still some disagreement on whether birds should be considered dinosaurs, I have followed tradition in using the word dinosaur to refer only to extinct dinosaur species of the Mesozoic Era.


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:16 am

My 43rd review for this thread is a positive 1 for Cooley/Wilson's Make-a-saurus: My Life with Raptors and Other Dinosaurs. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

How to REALLY build a dino ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R3PD2BYTU5ANKB/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 5/5

Short version: Cooley/Wilson's Make-a-saurus: My Life with Raptors and Other Dinosaurs (henceforth Life) may be the best children's dino book when it comes to showing kids how to build a dino. I recommend reading Life in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Naish/Barrett's Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved in general & Chapter 3 in particular).

Long version: Read on.

This review's title is a reference to Horner/Gorman's How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn't Have to Be Forever (which, to paraphrase Kosemen, should've been called "[How to build a] sort of dinosaur look-alike retarded monstrosity").* Point is, to quote Willoughby ( https://emilywilloughby.com/about ), "paleontology is unique in that there is no equivalent method of using film to capture the reality of its natural subjects...we must paint, sculpt and draw to bring these animals to life." Life may be the best children's dino book when it comes to showing kids how to do that. In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think that is.

1) As you may remember, Life was 1 of the books that got me into feathered dinos, along with Sloan's Feathered Dinosaurs. Cooley's life-like models of feathered dinos are 1 of the main reasons why that is (See reason #1: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1UO9MSFJ9W37N/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0792272196&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=283155&store=books ).

2) Life provides a lot of background info. This is especially apparent in the introductory section: 1st, Currie explains why art is important to his science (See the Currie quote); Then, Cooley explains why science is important to his art (See the Cooley quote); Last, "The World of Sinornithosaurus" tells a day-in-the-life story of the Sinornithosaurus specimen Cooley's model is based on; More specifically, it tells a story of how said specimen lived, died, & became fossilized.

3) Similarly to Gardom/Milner's The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs, Life uses a "popular approach [that] not only accurately mirrors the methods used by [paleoartists in creating] dinosaurs, but also satisfies the overwhelming curiosity of people to know what dinosaurs were like when alive" ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/Natural-History-Museum-Book-Dinosaurs/dp/184442183X ). This is especially apparent in the main sections: 1st, Cooley explains the paleoartistic process without dumbing down; Then, Cooley shows readers how they can adapt said process using tools & materials around their house (E.g. Instead of beginning "with a welded steel armature," they can make an armature using "rolled-up newspaper, wire, foam and tape, even balloons"); Last, Cooley shows readers how they can go 1 step beyond & create dino environments (I.e. Dioramas, which are the best dino exhibits).

If I could, I'd give Life a 4.5/5. My only gripes are a few weird bits in the text (E.g. Dino scales, which are non-overlapping, are compared to lizard scales, which are mostly overlapping) & writing (E.g. Liaoning is misspelled as Laioning). However, for the purposes of this review, I'll round up to 5/5.

*Google "Is it Possible to Re-Create a Dinosaur from a Chicken?"

Quoting Currie:
Quote :
Even with all my training and experience, I still learn a lot when Brian asks me how the bones of a skeleton actually go together. Often we end up pulling bones out of the Museum's collections so we can consider how they fit together and how the muscles were attached. Most people can learn more by building models than by just looking at museum displays and books.

Quoting Cooley:
Quote :
Life takes us in marvelous directions and, as luck would have it, the first job I found upon graduating from art school was sculpting a volcano for the Calgary Zoo's new Prehistoric Park. That led to making a dinosaur for a company in Vancouver. My wife, artist Mary Ann Wilson, worked on that dinosaur with me, and since then we have completed many dinosaurs together. While doing research for that project, Mary Ann and I met Dr. Philip J. Currie, who was soon to become one of the world's most prominent paleontologists. It was Dr. Currie whose enthusiasm and riveting stories about new discoveries and theories rekindled my passion for dinosaurs. Twenty years since that meeting, I'm still making dinosaurs
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:54 pm

My 44th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Miller/Blasing's Dinosaur George and the Paleonauts: Raptor Island. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

Bad dino doc + bad dino movie ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1ANUT6L08H5CM/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 1/5

Short version: As far as I know, most dino time travel books aren't meant to be educational. Of those that are, I recommend reading White's Dinosaur Hunter: The Ultimate Guide to the Biggest Game in conjunction with other, more educational books (E.g. Naish/Barrett's Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved). Miller/Blasing's Dinosaur George and the Paleonauts: Raptor Island (henceforth DG) fails at being either a decent educational book or a decent science fiction book.

Long version: Read on.

As you may remember, I said that Jurassic Fight Club is 1 of the worst dino docs ( http://www.amazon.com/review/R2FFY9S77ANRTK/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0810957981&nodeID=283155&store=books ). Despite this, I originally thought that DG was going to be better than JFC given that dino books are usually better than dino docs. Boy, was I wrong about DG! Not only is DG as bad as JFC in some ways, but also as bad as the movie The Lost World: Jurassic Park (henceforth JP2) in other ways. In this review, I list the 4 main reasons why I think that is, besides the annoyingly-repetitive writing.*

1) In DG, George is the only well-defined/developed character, & not in a good way: He's basically an 18-year-old male version of Sarah Harding from JP2 (I.e. A "naive, impulsive paleontologist...whose dumb decisions constantly put the team in greater danger");** This is especially apparent when he 1st compares the Saichania's poor eyesight to that of rhinos, but then makes a sudden move; Similarly, in JP2, Sarah 1st explains "the dangers of the bull rex tracking the group with its powerful olfactory sense, but [then] brings the jacket coated in the infant's blood with her as they flee."** The other Paleonauts are just character archetypes. More specifically, Vince Witmer is "The Lancer", Lloyd Lance is "The Big Guy", Parker Holtz is "The Smart Guy", & Sonya Currie is "The Chick".** There's also Professor Stone & Dr. Morgan, but they're only in Chapter 1.

2) In some ways, DG's dromaeosaurs are better than JFC's (E.g. They're more fully feathered, though not entirely). In other ways, DG's dromaeosaurs are worse than JFC's (E.g. They have whip-like tails). In still other ways, they're about the same (E.g. They're "super persistent" predators of "impossibly large prey").** This is especially apparent in Chapter 8, when a pack of 30 flightless, blue jay-sized "mini-raptors" attack George over & over again despite being blasted with a surge gun & attacked by a 20-ft constrictor, among other things. Put another way, Chapter 8 is basically an extreme version of JP2's "Compy Attack" scene.

3) I have 2 major problems with DG's story: 1) It's dependent on the reader caring about the characters; See reason #1 above for why that's a major problem; 2) As indicated by its sub-title, DG mostly takes place on/around Raptor Island in Southern Asia, presumably the Gobi region given that that's where all the dinos are from; The problem is that's near the center of the continent, & it's not like Asia ever had an inland sea like the Western Interior Sea of North America; In other words, DG's story is dependent on a setting that could never have existed.

4) DG's text is hit-&-miss in terms of getting the facts straight. This is especially apparent in "PaleoFacts" because the misses stick out more with less text.*** However, the main text misses may be worse in degree: Like JFC's misses, some of DG's are due to being very outdated (E.g. Compare the Miller/Blasing quote to the Naish/Barrett quote; It's also worth mentioning that Sauropoda is a suborder or infraorder, not a family); Also like JFC's misses, some of DG's are due to being very nonsensical (E.g. "A creature, about the size of an owl, suddenly swooped down from its perch above and grabbed the lizard in midair. At first, George thought it must have been some sort of bird, but when it landed on the ground it quickly ran into the woods on only its back legs. It was no bird. It was a flying dinosaur!").

*E.g. The fact that George dislikes guns is stated 4 times in the span of 1 chapter, including twice in the same paragraph.

**Google "The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Film) - TV Tropes" & "Raptor Attack - TV Tropes" for reasons #1 & #2, respectively.

***In "PaleoFacts" alone, it's claimed that Nemegtosaurus was 7 m tall & 15.2 m long (More like 2.46 m tall & 12 m long), Saichania was 2.4 m tall (More like 1.3 m tall), Plesiosaurus was 7 m long & 3 tons (More like 3-5 m long & 150 kg), Plesiosaurus lived during the Late Cretaceous (It didn't), Bactrosaurus means "Bactrian lizard" (It doesn't), & Tylosaurus was 20 tons (More like 4.5 tons), among other things.

Quoting Miller/Blasing:
Quote :
George knew this species. His uncle taught him a lot growing up. Because of that, he knew by the end of the Jurassic Period nearly all members of the Sauropod family had become extinct. A few species managed to survive all the way to the end of the late Cretaceous Period when they, along with all other non-avian dinosaurs, became extinct. The majority of the long necks that survived into late Cretaceous were from the Titanosaurus family. Although not as large as their earlier cousins, they were still massive dinosaurs and among the largest living things on earth by the end of the Cretaceous Period.

Quoting Naish/Barrett (See Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved):
Quote :
As recently as the 1990s it was thought that sauropods were a mostly Jurassic event and that they had largely disappeared by the Cretaceous. We now know that this view was completely inaccurate, and that sauropods were a major presence on many continents throughout much of the Cretaceous. And, rather than being stagnant or static in evolutionary terms, they were constantly evolving new anatomical features and new ways of cropping plants.


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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Sun May 06, 2018 9:11 pm

My 45th review for this thread is a positive 1 for Hone's The Tyrannosaur Chronicles: The Biology of the Tyrant Dinosaurs. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's for a very good book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

Mostly good, part 1 ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1BGIKWL90PWZD/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 4/5

Hone's The Tyrannosaur Chronicles: The Biology of the Tyrant Dinosaurs (henceforth TC) is mostly good, especially when it comes to describing key scientific concepts (E.g. Classification in Part 1). I say that b/c, unlike most of my positive reviews, this 1 is about TC's problems.

1) The paleoart is seriously lacking: For 1, most of the illustrations (I.e. Hartman's skeletal reconstructions) are great, but too small for good comparisons; For another, said illustrations are few & far between (I.e. Most of the chapters have only 1 illustration, 3 at most, & 5 of them have none); For yet another, there's only 1 life reconstruction in TC's entirety (I.e. Hartman's T.rex). This is especially problematic because, according to Hone, TC is meant for casual readers, yet it's laid out more like an enthusiast's book (I.e. Mostly black-&-white pages with a series of color plates). To put this in perspective, Sampson's Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life is an enthusiast's book of similar length & layout, yet it has at least 3 illustrations per chapter, more in most, including a multi-species scene by Skrepnick at the beginning of every chapter.

2) The "scaly Tyrannosaurus" & "larger females" hypotheses are very misrepresented. Depending on the context, I don't mind if 1 or 2 non-major hypotheses are misrepresented once or twice.* My Riddle review shows what happens when many major hypotheses are misrepresented on many levels ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R47I7QPHDIHYD/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0300164351 ). However, while not as major as "Birds Are Dinosaurs", "scaly Tyrannosaurus" & "larger females" do have major implications for tyrannosaur biology, among other things (See the Willoughby & Bakker quotes, respectively). In reference to the former, the evidence for it is "essentially" ignored, while "a liberal coating of feathers" is taken as a given. Yes, said evidence hadn't yet been described in detail, but it had been mentioned in the technical literature. In reference to the latter, the problem is more layered. See "Review update #45 (It's a big 1)!" for how: https://jd-man.deviantart.com/journal/Review-update-45-It-s-a-big-1-743681263

In short, I recommend reading TC in conjunction with 1) GSPaul's The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs for larger skeletal reconstructions & more life reconstructions, & 2) the Neal & Peter Larson chapters in Larson/Carpenter's Tyrannosaurus rex, the Tyrant King for more pre-TC info about T.rex skin & sexual dimorphism.

*E.g. In Chapter 10, Hone claims that "Richard Owen...regarded dinosaurs as giant lizards" in terms of physiology. That's not right (Quoting Owen: "The Dinosaurs, having the same thoracic structure as the Crocodiles, may be concluded to have possessed a four-chambered heart; and, from their superior adaptation to terrestrial life, to have enjoyed the function of such a highly-organized centre of circulation to a degree more nearly approaching that which now characterizes the warm-blooded Vertebrata"). Also, in Chapter 14, Hone claims that "the discovery of multiple remains of the famous dromaeosaurid Deinonychus with bones of the ornithischian Tenontosaurus...is mostly the limit of the evidence in support of the [pack hunting large prey] hypothesis". Depending on what he means by "large prey", that's not right either (Google "Taphonomy and Paleobiological Implications of Tenontosaurus-Deinonychus Associations" & "Days of the Deinos" for the technical & popular versions, respectively).

Quoting Willoughby ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R4VJXNM6VVEIV/ref=cm_cr_othr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0300164351 ):
Quote :
Along a similar vein, Kenneth Carpenter (1997) has pointed out evidence of Gorgosaurus scale imprints that have been known for at least twenty years, but have never been formally published. Research can of course take many years to publish for a myriad of reasons, but it seems highly likely that had these imprints been of feathers, they'd been published almost immediately. It seems like there is something fundamentally wrong with a system that more readily publishes research that is exciting and interesting because it conforms so smoothly with the dominant paradigm, when conflicting research that challenges some of these established lines of thinking might ultimately result in a more robust and less flawed theory overall.

Quoting Bakker (See "Raptor Red"):
Quote :
Female dominance is a powerful piece of evidence that permits us to reconstruct the private lives of Cretaceous predatory dinosaurs. A family structure built around a large female is rare in meat-eating reptiles and mammals today, but it's the rule for one category of predatory species...carnivorous birds. Owls, hawks, and eagles have societies organized around female dominance, and we can think of tyrannosaurs and raptors as giant, ground-running eagles.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   Sun May 13, 2018 10:33 pm

My 46th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Stan/Jan's The Berenstain Bears and the Dinosaurs. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Yes" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

Stop liking things! ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R37ELAMHP3KSEA/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 1/5

I was originally planning on reviewing Stan/Jan's The Berenstain Bears and the Dinosaurs (henceforth BB) the way I usually review bad dino books. However, I then remembered that Trish/Talcott's BB review is so perfect (especially when it comes to criticizing BB's art & message: https://berenstainbearcast.wordpress.com/2016/02/13/episode-37-the-berenstain-bears-and-the-dinosaurs/ ) that I can't possibly top it, so I won't even try. Instead, in this review, I'll point you to Trish/Talcott's BB review & add my own thoughts as well:
-The part around 13:00 reminds me of the I Love Dinosaurs series. I'm surprised said series isn't mentioned by name.
-The parts around 14:00 & 17:00 remind me of the Holtz quote below. More specifically, "it feels like...the creatures in the mind of a concerned parent whose only knowledge of [dinos] comes from the films of the 30s" (& thus, has "more in common with medieval bestiaries, conjured from rumor and imagination alone"). Furthermore, not only are said creatures inconsistent with "these [dino] skeletons on this page", but said skeletons are inconsistent with "the fossil skeletons on which [they're] based."
-The parts around 16:00 & 20:00 remind me of The Berenstain Bears' Nature Guide: Not only do the Berenstain Bears explore "the whole of nature" (including non-bird dinos), but 1) they do so with Actual Factual (who supplies "actual facts about nature"), & 2) "they're happy" to spend the day together doing so; Keep in mind that this book was published 9 years before BB.
-The part around 30-32:00 sums up part of the reason why The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Dream does BB's story better, the other part being that Mama & Papa don't "take advantage of Brother's fear to talk him out of...his new interest".
-The part around 31-33:00 reminds me of 1) Switek's "Paleontological Profiles: Robert Bakker" (To quote Bakker, "We dino-scientists have a great responsibility: our subject matter attracts kids better than any other, except rocket-science"; This interview is especially good at showing both why an interest in dinos is good & why BB's message is bad), & 2) Waldrop/Loomis' Ranger Rick's Dinosaur Book (which is 1 of the "better kids' books of the time": https://www.amazon.com/review/R94XM1O8E45DV/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ).
-The part around 37:00 reminds me of Jan/Mike's "The Berenstain Bears' Dinosaur Dig" (which also does BB's story better).*
-At around 39:00, they recommend Bakker's The Big Golden Book of Dinosaurs & Holtz's Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages, but forget the author & title, respectively (which surprises me given that [1] they mentioned The Dinosaur Heresies at around 9:00, & [2] Holtz's book has the best title ever).

*For 1, both Brother & Sister take an interest in dinos. For another, not only does Actual Factual encourage their interest, but he also takes them on a tour of a dino dig; For yet another, this book begins & ends with 2 important messages (See the Jan/Mike & Papa quotes, respectively).

Quoting Holtz ( http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2013/05/holtzs-dinosaur-lovers-bookshelf-article.html ):
Quote :
Paleoart is, admittedly, a difficult enterprise: after all, its subject matter is long dead, and science can never expect to know very much about the creaturers' external surfaces or, for that matter, any of their other perishable features. Nevertheless, there is one inviolate rule of dinosaur restoration: if the known fossil skeleton conflicts with the shape of the reconstruction, the reconstruction must be wrong. That rule gives the casual reader at least a fighting chance of separating the wheat from the chaff: distinguishing books that depict restorations consistent with fossil specimens from books that have more in common with medieval bestiaries, conjured from rumor and imagination alone. One reliable clue that a book belongs to the former group is the inclusion of drawings or photographs of the fossil skeletons on which the restorations are based.

Quoting Jan/Mike:
Quote :
A special kind of beast lived very long ago.
Its different forms and names are very good to know.

Quoting Papa (in reference to sitting on Sister's Stegosaurus toy):
Quote :
Sister...I'm delighted that you and Brother have this wonderful new interest. But...the Jurassic Age will just have to settle for the coffee table.
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