terça-feira, 15 de novembro de 2011

The 10 Most Essential Dinosaur Books

Ten Books No Dinosaur Lover Should Do Without

Tons of dinosaur books are written for kids, but if you want the most reliable information it's best to consult literature aimed at science-minded teenagers and adults. Here's a list of the 10 most essential, and scientifically accurate, books about dinosaurs and prehistoric life.

1. Prehistoric Life: The Definitive Visual History of Life on Earth

Dorling-Kindersley's Prehistoric Life qualifies as a coffee-table book, full of stunning illustrations (photographs of fossils, detailed depictions of prehistoric animals in their natural habitats) and voluminous text. This handsome book doesn't only focus on dinosaurs, ranging all the way from the Proterozoic age to the rise of modern humans.

2. Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History

Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History is a genuine college textbook, complete with scholarly references and questions at the ends of chapters. It's also one of the most detailed, comprehensive, and readable overviews of dinosaurs you can buy, and its authors (David E. Fastovsky and David B. Weishampel) have an infectious sense of humor. 

3. The World Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures

Dougal Dixon's World Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs has been sliced and diced by its publisher into numerous, smaller books; this is the one to get, though, if you're looking for concise, illustrated profiles of over 1,000 prehistoric animals, including birds, crocodiles and megafauna mammals as well as dinosaurs. 

4. Tyrannosaurus Rex: The Tyrant King

Most dinosaur books focus to a greater or lesser degree on :Tyrannosaurus Rex; Tyrannosaurus Rex: The Tyrant King goes whole hog (if you'll excuse the mammalian expression), with chapters written by some of the world's most notable paleontologists. This book covers everything from T. Rex's puny arms to its bulky, oversized skull. 

5. Feathered Dinosaurs: The Origin of Birds

Feathered Dinosaurs: The Origin of Birds focuses on a growing subset of the dinosaur kingdom: the small, feathered theropods of the late Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. John Long's text is perfectly accompanied by Peter Schouten's stunning illustrations; you'll never look at a Compsognathus the same way again. Buy it now

6. Oceans of Kansas: A Natural History of the Western Interior Sea

Many people find it surprising that the fossils of so many marine reptiles have been discovered in landlocked Kansas. Oceans of Kansas, by Michael J. Everhart, is an exhaustive survey of the ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and mosasaurs that have been discovered in the U.S. interior, as well as the pterosaurs that flew above the sea.

7. The Complete Dinosaur

The Complete Dinosaur is getting on a bit in age--the last edition of this 750-page reference book was published in 1999--but it's still the most comprehensive, scholarly, and just plain fun dinosaur book out there, with meaty contributions from a veritable who's who of famous paleontologists. 

8. Extinct Animals: Species that Have Disappeared During Human History

As its subtitle implies, Ross Piper's Extinct Animals has nothing to do with dinosaurs, focusing instead on 50 or so notable animals that have gone extinct within the last 50,000 years--ranging from the Golden Toad (a very recent casualty of human civilization) to Phorusrhacos, better known as the Terror Bird.


9. Prehistoric Life: Evolution and the Fossil Record

Bruce S. Lieberman and Roger Kaesler's Prehistoric Life puts dinosaurs (and other extinct animals) in their proper natural context, with a focus on mass extinctions, plate tectonics and global climate change. This textbook demonstrates that evolution isn't a linear process, but one that zigs and zags in response to an often-hostile environment.

10. The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs

The virtue of Gregory S. Paul's The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs is that it lists virtually all the genera, and species, of dinosaur that have ever been discovered, making it a handy desk reference. The problem is that Paul doesn't go into much detail about these dinos, and his illustrations, though anatomically correct, can be a bit underwhelming.

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