Dinosaurs Rediscovered: The Scientific Revolution in Paleontology

Michael J. Benton. Thames & Hudson, $34.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-500-05200-6
In this insightful survey, Benton (When Life Nearly Died), a University of Bristol paleontology professor, looks at how dinosaurs might have lived, lauding the many advances made in paleontology since the 1970s. Findings about dinosaur intelligence, for example, indicate that though dinosaurs’ brains were “actually pretty tiny,” they could have “shown complex behaviour around mate choice.” Benton also considers diet, and the question of whether various creatures were herbivores or carnivores, as can be indicated by tooth shape, stomach contents, and even fossilized feces. Going behind the scenes, Benton takes readers through expeditions and museum laboratories. His view of how dinosaurs are depicted in films and TV should particularly appeal to general audiences; he laments that 2018’s Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom didn’t show any dinosaurs with feathers, as are now thought to have adorned some species. He also highlights how computational digital modeling aids both special effects artists (in more realistically depicting dinosaurs than in the older films that used “stop-motion photography, or... lizards sporting cardboard crests and spikes”) and scientists (in more authoritatively estimating dinosaurs’ speed, gait, and posture). This enjoyable primer will leave layreaders with a new appreciation for how far modern science has come in understanding “long-dead animals, represented now by skeletons and isolated bones.” With 120 illus. Agent: Michelle Tessler, Tessler Literary Agency. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/01/2019
Release date: 05/07/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-500-29553-3
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