Weird Dinosaurs: The Strange New Fossils Challenging Everything We Thought We Knew

John Pickrell. Columbia Univ., $29.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-231-18098-6
Pickrell (Flying Dinosaurs), editor of Australian Geographic, dishes more dirt on dinosaurs, focusing as much attention on the humans who scour the Earth in search of dinosaur fossils as he does on the fossils themselves. Some of his stories are fascinating, such as his account of how Transylvanian aristocrat Franz Baron Nopcsa von Felso˝-Szilvás moved between hunting for dinosaur bones in Romania and serving as a spy in Ottoman Albania while plotting to be named king of Albania, but others are somewhat pedestrian. Each of Pickrell’s 11 chapters focuses on a geographical region and catalogues the specimens found there, with a majority of the attention paid to the latest discoveries. Readers learn of beautiful opalised dinosaur bones from Australia and a crested dinosaur found approximately 13,000 feet up Antarctica’s Mt. Kirkpatrick, demonstrating that dinosaurs were widely distributed across the globe. Unlike his previous book, this one doesn’t offer much insight into the evolution of behavior or anatomy, though he does touch on the evolution of feathers and extremely long necks in sauropods. Despite the title, the dinosaurs Pickrell discusses don’t seem that weird, but given that the “rate of discovery has been increasing nearly exponentially,” something more strange is bound to appear soon. Illus. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/2017
Release date: 03/01/2017
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-231-54339-2
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