Dinomummy: The Life, Death and Discovery of Dakota, a Dinosaur from Hell Creek

Philip Manning, Author, Tyler Lyson, Foreword by
Philip Manning, Author, Tyler Lyson, Foreword by . Kingfisher $18.95 (64p) ISBN 978-0-7534-6047-4
Reviewed on: 12/24/2007
Release date: 12/01/2007
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When teenage dino-enthusiast Tyler Lyson found a few dinosaur vertebrae on his uncle's South Dakota ranch in 2000, he didn't yet know that the bones belonged to one of the best-preserved dinosaurs ever located—dubbed a “dinomummy” because some of the hadrosaur's scaly skin had been fossilized as well. Lyson contacted Manning, a paleontologist at the University of Manchester, to help recover and study the hadrosaur, which came to be nicknamed Dakota. The first half of the book, which features realistic, computer-generated depictions of colorful, active dinosaurs, conjectures what Dakota's life might have been like 65 million years ago, and sets up the mystery of his death (“Strangely, there are no signs of injury to this body. If he was killed by the Tyrannosaurus rex , why wasn't he torn to pieces? Why wasn't he eaten?”). The rest of the book focuses on the discovery and excavation, as well as what scientists learned, including their explanation for why Dakota's body remained so well preserved. Although dino enthusiasts on the younger end of the target audience may need parental help with some terms and information, they should be captivated by both the dramatic account of prehistoric life and the up-close look at a modern dig (not to mention the attention-getting die-cut cover, through which a luminous dino-eye peers). Both Manning and Lyson found their first dinosaur bones when they were children, backing up Lyson's claim that “anyone can hunt for and find dinosaurs”—a message that will go over big with readers. Ages 6-up. (Dec.)

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