Dinovember: Books about Dinosaurs

Toy dinosaurs
Photo courtesy davidd on Flickr under CC License.

It’s Dinovember, the month when people all over the internet celebrate the awesomeness of dinosaurs by posing toy dinosaurs in different situations, taking pictures, and putting them online for everyone to see. The founders of this wonderful celebration, Refe and Susan Tuma, actually have a new children’s book with some of their best dino-photos, What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night, which is coming soon to the library so place your holds now. In the meantime, we have plenty of other fantastic adult dino-themed books because you should never grow out of loving dinosaurs.

Raptor Red book coverRaptor Red by Robert T. Bakker

Raptor Red’s tale begins with tragedy. She and her mate are stalking their prey; a giant astrodon feeding in a nearby meadow. They approach silently and attack with deadly force. But at the moment of triumph, something goes terribly wrong and Raptor Red’s mate is killed. It is the beginning of a yearlong odyssey of survival, a thrilling story told by leading paleontologist Robert T. Bakker. Now, in Raptor Red, he dramatizes his revolutionary theories in a one-of-a-kind tale. Painting a rich and colorful picture of her lush, exotic prehistoric world, the novel is convincingly told from within Raptor Red’s mind, revealing the powerful instincts and Darwinian forces that shape her remarkable consciousness. Her story is filled with a unique cast of characters that includes a white pterodactyl, a giant prehistoric crocodile, a small furry aegialodon, hulking astrodons, and an incredible range of other exotic creatures.

Jurassic Park book coverJurassic Park by Michael Crichton

A breakthrough in genetic engineering leads to the development of a technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA, a method that brings about the creation of Jurassic Park, a tourist attraction populated by creatures extinct for eons now locked away behind electric fences. Before opening the attraction to the public, the billionaire owner of Jurassic Park invites some scientists to experience the park and help calm anxious investors; but, during the visit, something goes terribly wrong when a worker on the island turns traitor and shuts down the power and the scientists get a much closer look at these creatures than they had anticipated.

Cretaceous Dawn book coverCretaceous Dawn by L.M. Graziano and M.S.A. Graziano

A long-extinct beetle appears in a physics lab and four-and-a-half people and a dog are hurled 65 million years through time, to the Age of the Dinosaurs. Paleontologist Julian Whitney and his companions have only one chance for rescue and to get back to their own time, they’ll have to survive both creatures like the Tyrannosaurus Rex and a 1,000 mile trek across an amazing and dangerous landscape. Meanwhile, in the lab, police chief Sharon Earles must solve the mystery of why half a body remains where five people had just been. Physicists come in to try to determine what went wrong, but can they fix it in time to retrieve the missing people before they’re killed in the past?

How to Build a Dinosaur book coverHow to Build a Dinosaur by Jack Horner and James Gorman

Jack Horner, a scientific adviser for the film Jurassic Park and James Gorman, editor of the New York Times Science Times, evaluate the potential for artificially growing a real dinosaur without ancient DNA in an account that traces the paleontological research to reveal the relationship between dinosaurs and birds. Beginning in the 1980s with CAT scans of fossilized dinosaurs eggs, the authors show the development of research on the genealogical links between these two different kinds of creatures leading up to current research into how it may be possible to stimulate latent Tyrannosaurus Rex genes in a chicken.

Dinosaurs Without Bones book coverDinosaurs Without Bones by Anthony J. Martin

What if we woke up one morning all of the dinosaur bones in the world were gone? How would we know these iconic animals had a 165-million year history on earth, and had adapted to all land-based environments from pole to pole? What clues would be left to discern not only their presence, but also to learn about their sex lives, raising of young, social lives, combat, and who ate who? What would it take for us to know how fast dinosaurs moved, whether they lived underground, climbed trees, or went for a swim?Welcome to the world of ichnology, the study of traces and trace fossils, such as tracks, trails, burrows, nests, toothmarks, and other vestiges of behavior, and how through these remarkable clues, we can explore and intuit the rich and complicated lives of dinosaurs. With a unique, detective-like approach, interpreting the forensic clues of these long-extinct animals that leave a much richer legacy than bones, Martin brings the wild world of the Mesozoic to life for the twenty-first century reader.

My Beloved Brontosaurus book coverMy Beloved Brontosaurus by Brian Switek

Dinosaurs haunt museum halls, stomp across movie screens, and adorn just about any product you can name. Despite groundbreaking discoveries, the dinosaurs of our childhood are entrenched in our minds, and new science struggles to overcome the inaccurate monsters of Jurassic Park. In My Beloved Brontosaurus, the brilliant dinosaur fanatic Brian Switek investigates the tension between dinosaurs as scientific objects and pop-culture icons as he introduces us to the latest theories in paleontology, from how dinosaurs had sex to what colors they were and just how they got so big. To understand why they died–after 150 million years of success–we need to know how they lived. With infectious enthusiasm, Switek explains that these giant beasts left behind a wealth of information in their bones–and it’s only by piecing together these clues that we can begin to understand ourselves. After all, our furry little ancestors lived in the shadow of the dinosaurs. Switek visits excavation sites, museums, and high-tech labs to question what we’ve long held true about these creatures, weaving in stories from his obsession with dinosaurs that started when he was knee-high to a Stegosaurus. Endearing, surprising, and essential to our understanding of our place on Earth, My Beloved Brontosaurus is a book that science buffs and dinosaur fans will love.

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