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My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs [Kindle Edition]

Brian Switek
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Charming . . . We are beneficiaries of Mr. Switek's undiminished passion . . . The book is a delight, coming along when so much has changed in our understanding of dinosaurs, ever since the beginning of a renaissance in dinosaur studies in the 1970s and '80s . . . This may be the one book for catching up on what has become of the dinosaurs you thought you knew from grade school. (The New York Times)

My Beloved Brontosaurus is, in many ways, science writer Brian Switek's love letter to his favorite animal . . . But the book is more than a personal ode to fossils. Switek meets experts, tours museums and visits excavation sites. He is searching no longer for preserved eggs that might one day hatch dino-babies but rather for an understanding of what life in the age of dinosaurs was like. (The Washington Post)

Switek geeks out gloriously on everything from the truth about Jurassic Park to the ugliest roadside dinosaurs he has ever seen. He's a friendly guide to the latest in dinosaur science, whizzing through journal article after journal article on how cross sections of dinosaur bone can tell us about their physiology, or how fossil olfactory lobes can reveal their sense of smell through time . . . Much has been written about the 'dinosaur revolution' of recent decades, in which the idea of sluggish, passive reptiles transformed into more active and engaging creatures. Switek takes the science a step farther and into the 21st century. (The Dallas Morning News)

Switek passionately and playfully explores scientists' evolving perception of the wild, wonderful dinosaur world, emphasizing at every turn the dynamic nature of their field despite its now inanimate subjects . . . Switek intersperses his rich, well-researched scientific and historical discussions with personal anecdotes and cultural signposts, weaving together a narrative that reveals the current state of the field as well as some of the wrong turns along the way. (Science)

Fortunately for us, Brian Switek has continued to channel the enthusiasms of his own inner five-year-old. In his zany, sometimes mind-blowing romp through the new science of old bones . . . you too can nerd out anew . . . the discoveries Switek shares fill the old world with new wonders . . . Switek rekindles that childhood amazement at how vast the dinosaur world really was. (Barnes & Noble Review)

My Beloved Brontosaurus should appeal not only to those interested in dinosaurs, but to anyone interested in science, the history of science, or the natural world in general. It will also provide essential crib notes for any parent struggling to keep up with their child's encyclopedic knowledge of the beasts. (The Times Literary Supplement)

Science writer Brian Switek 'breathes new life into old bones' with this jaw-dropping book about dinosaurs. Forget everything you thought you knew about the brontosaurus, for example--turns out they never existed. And the T-rex might have had feathers. I couldn't believe how much there was to learn in this book. If you were the kind of kid who watched Jurassic Park obsessively, My Beloved Brontosaurus will feel like Christmas morning. (Bookshop Santa Cruz)

[Switek] deftly brings the concerns of dinosaur fanatics regarding the dinosaurian public image to the popular culture . . . it's always a treat to read someone so captivated by the romance of natural history . . . Switek's message is that dinosaurs are a relevant, vital field of study because the illumination extends to broader issues of evolution and the fate of our world. In the same way, My Beloved Brontosaurus uses the engaging topic of dinosaur lives as a way to celebrate the ongoing exploration of science at large. (Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs (blog))

Cleverly written, well researched and sprinkled with lots of tidbits of information gleaned from dinosaur sites that include Utah's wealth of material, Brian Switek's My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science and Our Favorite Dinosaurs is a jewel. (Deseret News)

Switek has a knack for finding fascinating specifics and presenting them in engaging ways. He excels at relating fossil finds to their once-living counterparts, giving these animals an awesome sense of reality. Even readers whose younger days of dinosaur frenzy are long extinct will find My Beloved Brontosaurus a fascinating read. (Shelf Awareness (starred review))

Fascinating . . . Switek's scope of knowledge is awesome . . . This is in the classic 'news you can use' for nerds genre. (Discover magazine's "Gene Expression" blog)

If you are itching to learn more about dinosaurs than just the bare bones, so to speak, then Brian Switek's My Beloved Brontosaurus is a must-read . . . In addition to being packed with fresh research, this book is just flat-out fun to read . . . Perhaps Switek's greatest triumph with My Beloved Brontosaurus is proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that dinosaurs are not some esoteric, irrelevant subject, but are deeply connected to our own human story. (The Mindhut)

Switek's dinomania is infectious. The book charms with the author's passionate curiosity . . . half guidebook, half love note. Switek lays out an accessible, rich history of these creatures, along the way meditating on the larger issues raised by their ancient lives and our modern study of them, including our evolving understanding of evolution, the role of personality and bias in the scientific process, and the psychology of just what we humans see in these fascinating monsters. (The Boston Globe)

Switek's writing is crisp and clean, and he knows his dinosaurs . . . [He] does a good job of keeping up with the latest refinements in dinosaur science. Crucially, he shares his enthusiasm well, writing about the fun, the weird and the wonderful without the tall tales of the explorers of old. (New Scientist)

Switek's book is a lifeline for the dinosaur enthusiast--an entertaining guide to the latest science of dinosaurs. (ScienceNews)

[C]harming . . . Read Mr. Switek's book to rekindle your love of all things dinosaur: the cheesy movies, the action figures, the many happy hours spent wandering through imaginary Jurassic jungles. But more than that, read it to remind yourself that the dinosaurs' story is our story and that, as Mr. Switek writes, 'extinction is the ultimate fate of all species. Nothing so majestically encapsulates these simple, powerful truths of nature quite like a dinosaur.' (The Wall Street Journal)

[Switek] offer[s] a compelling mixture of reliable infor­mation, personal experiences and thoughts, anecdotes about paleontological research and even science philosophy, delivered in a breezy and engaging style . . . [he] paints a comprehensive picture of how our understanding of dinosaur evo­lution gradually advances . . . Switek has succeeded in covering a wide range of inter­esting topics in dinosaur palaeontology with infectious enthusiasm. (Nature)

A charming journey . . . Making scientific concepts accessible using a playful voice, in the manner of Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Malcolm Gladwell, Switek guides readers through the ever-shifting world of conventional dino-wisdom, from why they became the dominant life form of their time, to what they looked like outside those giant bones, and even covering how they might have had sex. (Salt Lake City Weekly)

Switek's chatty, infor­mative cross-country adventure is the perfect read for catching up on the latest, most fascinating dino science. (Mental Floss)

Switek has the charm and knowledge to make what you thought you learned in 4th grade totally awesome again. (Ryan Britt The Barnes & Noble Book Blog)

[A] wonderful overview of current research and knowledge of dinosaurs, for both lifelong dino-lovers and people who need an introduction to the prehistoric beasts . . . informal, often humorous (in the tradition of great nonfiction writers like Mary Roach and Bill Bryson), without sacrificing scientific detail. The result is both readable and highly entertaining . . . an excellent field guide to the real dinosaurs that walked the planet. (DoubleXScience)

In My Beloved Brontosaurus, the dinosaur fanatic Brian Switek enriches the childlike sense of wonder these amazing creatures instill in us . . . Endearing, surprising, and essential to our understanding of our own evolution and our place on Earth, My Beloved Brontosaurus is a book that dinosaur fans and anyone interested in scientific progress will cherish for years to come. (The Guardian’s GrrlScientist blog)

Switek earned fame as the unabashed dinosaur advocate behind the fossil-focused blog Laelaps. He applies that same blend of boyish exuberance and serious science to this exploration of paleontology's roots, revisions, and future course . . . his zeal is infectious . . . Switek fleshes out the monstrous skeletons that we all remember from childhood museum field trips with meaty new findings about their anatomy and behavior. (Discover)

A revealing work of pop paleontology . . . Engaging and accessible enough for the lay person, readers will readily agree when Switek concludes that 'dinosaurs are better than ever. (Publishers Weekly)

Writing with unaffected ardor, Switek will resonate with readers fascinated by dinosaurs. (Booklist)

An enthusiastic account of the history, description, discoveries, ongoing controversies and inaccurate media obsession with these popular but extinct creatures . . . A genuinely informative introduction to [Switek's] favorite subject. (Kirkus Reviews)

Brian Switek is my favorite dinosaur tour guide in the world-smart, funny, lyrical, and can't-put-it-down readable (Deborah Blum, bestselling author of The Poisoner’s Handbook)

There are so many dinosaur books-but My Beloved Brontosaurus is something special. Brian Switek, a self-confessed dinosaur fanatic, imparts his enthusiasm in a lively, thoroughly entertaining and carefully documented way. It is a joy to read such a well-researched and contemporary account of dinosaurs written for non-specialists . . . This hard-to-put-down volume includes all manner of tidbits, from amorous penguins to alligators dying of sunstroke. Well written and creatively structured, this beguiling work is enriched with personal experiences. And when readers reach the end of the book they will feel a sense of loss, like the demise of the incredible creatures captured between its covers. (Christopher McGowan, author of The Dragon Seekers, Curator Emeritus, Vertebrate Paleontology, Royal Ontario Museum)

Switek has a true passion for the giants of the ancient past! Whether you are new to the world of the 'fearfully great lizards' or are a lapsed dinosaur-fanatic, this book will help you understand how paleontologists bring fossils to life. (Thomas R. Holtz, Jr., Department of Geology, University of Maryland; author of Dinosaurs: The Most Complete Up-To-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages)

You won't find a better guide to paleontology than Brian Switek, a fossil-crazed writer whose clear-eyed skepticism never dampens his boyish enthusiasm. And why should it? Dinosaurs, Switek shows convincingly, need no hype to blow your mind. The man is fearless. This book is splendid. (David Dobbs, author of My Mother’s Lover and Reef Madness)

With this new book, Brian Switek reaffirms his status as one of our premier gifted young science writers. It's an exciting time for dinosaur research, and Brian is the best guide I know. (Kevin Padian, University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley)


One of Amazon's Best Science Books of 2013

A Hudson Booksellers Staff Pick for the Best Books of 2013

One of Publishers Weekly's Top Ten Spring Science Books

Selected by Apple's iBookstore as one of the best books of April

A Bookshop Santa Cruz Staff Pick

Dinosaurs, with their awe-inspiring size, terrifying claws and teeth, and otherworldly abilities, occupy a sacred place in our childhoods. They loom over museum halls, thunder through movies, and are a fundamental part of our collective imagination. In My Beloved Brontosaurus, the dinosaur fanatic Brian Switek enriches the childlike sense of wonder these amazing creatures instill in us. Investigating the latest discoveries in paleontology, he breathes new life into old bones.

Switek reunites us with these mysterious creatures as he visits desolate excavation sites and hallowed museum vaults, exploring everything from the sex life of Apatosaurus and T. rex's feather-laden body to just why dinosaurs vanished. (And of course, on his journey, he celebrates the book's titular hero, "Brontosaurus"--who suffered a second extinction when we learned he never existed at all--as a symbol of scientific progress.)

With infectious enthusiasm, Switek questions what we've long held to be true about these beasts, weaving in stories from his obsession with dinosaurs, which started when he was just knee-high to a Stegosaurus. Endearing, surprising, and essential to our understanding of our own evolution and our place on Earth, My Beloved Brontosaurus is a book that dinosaur fans and anyone interested in scientific progress will cherish for years to come.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 3576 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 269 Seiten
  • Verlag: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux (16. April 2013)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00ANI9EP6
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • : Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (4 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #304.466 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

  •  Ist der Verkauf dieses Produkts für Sie nicht akzeptabel?

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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Das beste Buch über Saurier? 22. April 2013
Von Peer Sylvester TOP 1000 REZENSENT
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Der Titel ist schon einmal gut gewählt, denn der "Brontosaurus" heißt ja eigentlich Apatosaurus und mittlerweile weiß man auch, dass er einen anderen Kopf hatte, als immer dargestellt wurde. Und nicht in Wasser lebte. All dies wussten Paläontologen schon recht lange, warum in Büchern und Museen das dennoch bis in die 80er Jahre falsch gemacht wurde, davon handelt das erste Kapitel dieses Buches.
Aber es kommt noch viel, viel besser: Switek beschreibt mit witziger Schreibe den aktuellen Stand der Dinosaurierforschung und das ist wörtlich zu nehmen - viele zitierte Artikel stammen aus dem Jahr 2012! Und man erfährt wirklich allerhand: Über Farben (!) und Federbekleidung der Saurier, über deren Krankheiten und natürlich die Großen Fragen: Warum sind die untergegangen? Und warum waren sie überhaupt so groß? Wer sich irgendwie für Dinos ernsthafter interessiert, kommt um dieses Buch kaum herum!
Hinzu kommen noch einige persönliche Überlegungen (der Autor bezeichnet sich selbst als einen Dinoverrückten) über das Umgehen mit neuen Wissen (Gefiederter T-Rex???).
Wenn man dem Buch eines vorwerfen will, dann das es nicht sehr reich bebildert ist. Wenn der Autor über mehrere Saurier referiert, wünscht man sich auch entsprechende Bilder, die aber nur spärlich vorhanden sind. Ich hatte überlegt dafür einen Stern abzuziehen, da der Rest aber so gut ist (bislang das beste Wissnesbuch für mich dieses Jahr), habe ich mich dagegen entschieden. Ich habe mir jetzt jedenfalls gleich das andere Buch von Switek bestellt...
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Not only a book about "Brontosaurus" 23. Mai 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Brian Switek starts with the story behind "Brontosaurus" and why she no longer exists, but then takes you on some kind of a road trip to dinosaur quarries. He is writing about the progress in paleontology knowledge, how things changed and why it sometimes takes so much time for dinosaur fans and even museums to accept these changes.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Best current Dinosaur book available 11. Mai 2013
Von R
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This is by far the best current Dinosaur book available.

But behold - this title is not for everyone! To fully enjoy this wunderfully written book you should at least have a basic knowledge about dinosaurs and know the creatures behind names like 'Triceratops', 'Torosaurus', 'T-Rex', 'Apatosaurus' and of course - 'Brontosaurus'!!

If these names don't seem to you like words from a latin or greek novel and if you are a dinosaur fan for at least a few years then this book will catapult your knowledge to the current state (it contains news of findings from 2012!).

Like in his last book, Brian Switek takes the reader to an adventure into the past.

With the information found in this book, you can hear and see these great creatures with other eyes.
Your image of them will be more realistic than ever!

If you are already a dino fan, this book is the best way to boost your dinosaur knowledge up to date.
All the others should consider buying a more suitible title for beginners.

For more information about Brian's books I recommend to take a look at his homepage: [...]
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5.0 von 5 Sternen An excellent journey through dinosaur science 30. April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
It is no surprise to find out about Switek`s love for dinosaurs. It permeates every line of the book, from considering the titular thunder lizard`s name change over the different viewpoints of how dinosaurs moved to the question of what diseases ailed them. Coupled with a good turn of prose, this book has proven to be a delightful breeze to read. There isn't that much in-depth information, but surely enough to learn something new.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.6 von 5 Sternen  71 Rezensionen
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Page Turner but not for Kids 20. April 2013
Von Let's Compare Options Preptorial - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
The cover design and publisher hype about this book might make you mistakenly think that this is a kid's book, which is tragic because 1. It's not and 2. It might keep you from buying one of the best science books written this year, bar none-- for YOURSELF!

I "kid" you not-- if you want a break from your favorite mystery novel series for a plane ride or night reading, THIS IS IT! The author is a young genius at pulling our heart and head strings and leading us along with... what will happen next? The book is as engaging as a novel, but filled with research, science, documentation, citations, etc. as if it were researched as a scholarly text, then written for fun, love and enjoyment. An amazing blend.

If you're a fan of "popular science books" you'll be surprised that even though the read is fast, engaging and fun, the author doesn't dumb down the material at all-- there is plenty of deep palenotology snuck in, and you get a sense not only of his love for these critters, but his respect and determination to understand them scientifically. Our struggles to survive as humans, our coping with tragedy, and our many talents, are subtly reflected in every page as we watch creatures who, like Scott's "aliens," should be immune to extinction, then cope with situations nothing can handle.

With Jurassic Park type genetic biologists telling us that we may indeed be able to bring these creatures back some day (assuming WE make it), without being preachy, the author gives us a lesson in how we should view our more fragile fellow inhabitants here. If you've ever seen ANY episode of the discovery channel that you enjoyed, you won't be able to put this book down, even if you're not a dinophile. If you are... what are you waiting for, go for it! Could you read this to a child who likes dinos? Probably not, you'd have to skip or explain too much. Could you read this as a fun project with your significant other on a nasty weather day, rather than going to a movie-- now you've got it!!!

UPDATE NOTE ABOUT KIDS: To emailer with "bright child" -- I tried this on my 10 year old grandson (editing out the inappropriate sections) and he's not as bright as your son, this text is filled with at minimum High School science if not undergrad and some grad! Don't get me wrong, if you even have a younger child and want to spend the money giving it a shot, go for it. My motive was just to warn shoppers who thought the cover picture meant it was for young kids like a storybook for "my pet Bronto..", and when they get it, be disappointed and have the hassle of returning it. To be honest, they'd probably keep it and enjoy it themselves if they were bright enough to want their kids, like you, to experience this level of Paleontology! No insult to your bright child intended... and thanks for the positive vote. As just one example, the "big bang" chapter is all about dinosaur mating, including a Paleontologist and his wife who give stage demos of the Jurassic Sutra... so to speak... (I'm writing in code here as Amazon also has young readers).

Library Picks reviews only for the benefit of Amazon shoppers and has nothing to do with Amazon, the authors, manufacturers or publishers of the items we review. We always buy the items we review for the sake of objectivity, and although we search for gems, are not shy about trashing an item if it's a waste of time or money for Amazon shoppers. If the reviewer identifies herself, her job or her field, it is only as a point of reference to help you gauge the background and any biases.
24 von 28 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen As intriguing as Jurassic Park, but without the running & screaming and with much better science 20. April 2013
Von Rebecca SG - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I pre-ordered this book without hesitation because I'm a fan of Brian Switek's blog and think he's a talented science writer. As a bonus, the hardcover editions dust-jacket folds out into a cool poster. The book is well-written and engaging. I've loved dinosaurs since I was a kid, but as my academic path has led towards paleopathology my knowledge of paleontology has gotten ever more antiquated. From the charming introduction describing his adventures in paleontological preschool plays to fuzzy feathers to his theoretical discussion of dinosaur sex, Switek draws his readers in and entertains while he enlightens.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The changing science of how dinosaurs lived and looked - and a great read 3. Mai 2013
Von W. M. Shipman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
If you don't track dinosaur research on a regular basis, it's difficult to keep up -- new papers seem to come out daily, and new dinosaurs are being discovered (or re-classified) at a dizzying rate. Switek is one of the most well-regarded reporters on the dinosaur beat, currently writing a blog about prehistoric life for National Geographic. He's also written for a host of other news outlets, and maintained blogs on paleontology news for both Wired and Smithsonian. In short, he knows his stuff.

That's important, because the dinosaurs you remember from your childhood (whether you're a child of the 1950s or the 1990s) have been given a makeover. Scientific advances have given us new insights into how dinosaurs looked, moved and sounded (yes, sounded). Switek gives readers a highly-readable overview of the high points, illuminating how much we've learned about these amazing creatures over the past few decades -- and how much we have yet to discover. What's more, he makes an excellent case for why studying dinosaurs is important, and what it can tell us about the life on Earth that still goes on all around us. Well worth a read -- I suspect you'll enjoy it.
19 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Reminesences of a Creature that never was 27. April 2013
Von D_shrink - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Brontosaurus never was because lexicographically it should have been referred to as an Apatosaurus, since the name Apatosaurus was used first and the Brontosaurus existed as only a minor variation of the Apatosaurus. Of course, whatever you called it the animal itself did exist, however, in science, naming is a really big thing.

There many things I liked about the book and a few, I saw, as negatives. First and most importantly of the positives, the author exhibited a deep knowledge about his subject matter, which is dinosaurs in general and his favorite member of that species the Brontosaurus or more correctly referred to as the Apatosaurus, in particular. The author described many facts that made the book interesting as:

1. "Tyrannosaurus lived closer to us in time - 66million years ago than it did to Apatoaurus, which died 84 million years prior." [p29] Therefore the fight scenes between these two giants, most of us have seen in movies over the years, could never have occurred since they didn't live at the same time.
2. "For all those stunning forces to exist, though, dinosaurs had to have sex." [p57] He describes how this theoretically occurred in a chapter titled THE BIG BANG THEORY. :)
3. It also seems that we know more about about female dinosaurs due to their fossilized pelvic bone structure than male members of their species, since male sexual apparatus would be soft tissue and not become fossilized. [p65] But inquiring minds still want to know!
4. It seems that paleontologists can estimate a dinosaurs age at time of death by bone growth rings similar to dating trees. [p69-70]
5. We also learn that female dinos did protect their young hatchlings, at least for a short while, and this would have varied with different members of the species.
6. Another interesting point made was that TRICERATOPS also never existed as a separate species but was the juvenile form of of a two horned species called TOROSAURUS. [p92]

These were just a few of the many interesting points made in revealing a lot about dinosaur lives, but there were some things that would have helped dramatize the overall theme better and the first would have been more drawings or correct photos of the various species the author tried to explain with just words. He gave detailed explanations but as others have said a picture is worth a thousand words, and such photos or drawings these could have been used especially in pointing out the differences between say the Triceratops in its juvenile and adult forms, as the bone structure of the head also changed, which would change the way it looked.

But my biggest concern was with the writing and extreme use of descriptive paragraphs as filler to make the book at least 25 pages longer than it needed to be. Let me just cite one example from page 140. "I remember exactly where I was when ARCHEOPTERYX [a bird like predecessor] was threatened to demotion from its place as an evolutionary icon. I was sitting at an Exxon station in the middle of nowhere Montana, waiting for my rented SUV to finish fueling so I could continue my journey from the isolated town of Ekalaka (where I had been looking for dinosaurs with paleontologists Thomas Carr and Scott Williams and their field crew) down to Thermopolis, Wyoming. After running into a convenience store to buy the requisite snacks and caffeine for my seven hour trip, I checked my messages to see if I had missed anything important while I was in the field." I would consider NONE of that germane to the story of ARCHEOPTERYX but the type of trivia that might be shown on reality TV, which is an oxymoron itself. The worse part is that that wasn't the complete paragraph. There were many other descriptions of roads leading into Dino digs and other useless trivia that simply took away from the flow of the story.

The overall story was interesting, the author seemed to truly enjoy telling about dinosaurs, but the descriptive passages were far too numerous and way too long.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Solid science with a light touch 18. März 2014
Von Wulfstan - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This is *THE* book for layperson dino lovers who want something beyond kids books. Other than rather inadequate illustrations, the book is about the best I have read. Each chapter segues into the next and we cover all the bases- including why the Brontosaurus is now Apatosaurus. Even includes a fascinating chapter on what color the dinos were, dino sex, and of course T-rex and what Killed them all (or did it?).
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