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"Walking with Dinosaurs": The Evidence - How Did They Know That? Paperback – 28 Sep 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books (28 Sept. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563537434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563537434
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 18.6 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 257,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

If your kids were captivated by the BBC's Walking With Dinosaurs--and let's face it, even big kids were--then Dave Martill and Darren Naish have just provided you with the perfect Christmas present. Walking With Dinosaurs--The Evidence sets out to explain the science behind the series. Given that Naish, a dinosaur expert at the University of Portsmouth wrote most of the text in little over two weeks, the result is extremely good. In the series, did you wonder how palaeontologists could possibly know what pterosaurs ate? Or why the animators reconstructed diplodocuses in such a strange-looking posture, their immensely long necks and tails sticking out almost parallel to the ground? You will find clear and concise explanations of these and many other puzzles here.

The authors also explore a few hotly debated issues not covered in the TV series. For example, were dromaeosaurs--like the fearsome Utahraptor depicted in the episode "Giant of the Skies"--really giant, flightless birds? This is seemingly ridiculous, but many palaeontologists take it very seriously. And given that many researchers believe that dinosaurs were the ancestors of birds, might dinosaurs have sported feathers? Fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex covered in fluff? Well, just maybe. The only disappointing aspect of the book is that some of the more outrageous bits of make-believe which peppered the TV series do not get a mention--the idea, for example, that cynodonts--long-extinct relatives of mammals--committed infanticide, or that Postosuchus marked its "territory" by urinating explosively (to choose just two examples). On these ticklish matters the learned authors are amusingly silent.

But this is a minor gripe. Walking With Dinosaurs--The Evidence is authoritative, well written, lavishly illustrated, and great fun to read. Moreover, invest just £10 in the book and your kids should stay quiet and contented well into Boxing Day. Now there's a bargain. --Chris Lavers

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "lakaterynka" on 3 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
This is definately a book for anyone who is interested in learning more about how the animals in Walking With Dinosaurs lived and where the evidence for the events in the programme came from. Not only does it give a fascinating insight into the programme itself, but it provides the reader with far more information than the programme had the time to do. There are information filled secions about all the animals featured in the programme from the early anscestor of the Crocodilians, postosuchus, to the allosaurs and the gigantic creatures that lived in the oceans. The computer-generated images from the TV series complete the book providing brilliant and realistic images of the dinosaurs and the creatures that lived at the same time as they did. It also gives more information about the animals the series didn't cover in detail, such as the early snakes and crocodiles and the sharks. It explains how they found out what the dinosaurs ate and what ate them, just how big they were, and finally the evidence for what killed them. How Did They Know That? Read this book and you will soon find out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Animal on 26 May 2011
Format: Paperback
We are broke and didn't want to get each other Christmas presents but then my husband caved and we succumbed to peer pressure. So we had to find each other a present for a quid or less (not including postage)

This cost me a penny, and he loves it!
(Incidentally, I got A Christmas Carol by Dickens as my gift and it cost 99p so I won the challenge.)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy to read and digest, all these ideas are put across with a view that you don't need to have a degree in palaeontology to understand. The layman's presentation.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The best adult WWD book 2 Dec. 2014
By Herman Diaz - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Short version: If you want the best adult WWD book, get Martill/Naish's "Walking with Dinosaurs: The Evidence - How Did They Know That?" (henceforth Evidence).* I recommend reading Evidence in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's "Dinosaurs").

Long version: Read on.

As far as I know, there are 3 adult WWD books: The 1st 1 is Haines' "Walking with Dinosaurs: A Natural History", a decent natural history of dinos with a chronological format; The 2nd 1 is Benton's "Walking With Dinosaurs: Fascinating Facts", a bad natural history of dinos with a Q&A format; The 3rd & last 1 is Evidence. In this review, I list the 2 main reasons why I think Evidence is the best 1.

1) Evidence does the same things as the other adult WWD books, but better:
-Like the 1st 1, Evidence has a chronological format with each chapter focusing on a different Mesozoic site (1 Late Triassic, 2 Late Jurassic, 2 Early Cretaceous, & 1 Late Cretaceous). Unlike the 1st 1, each chapter shows how we know what we know.
-Like the 2nd 1, Evidence has a Q&A format with each chapter divided into sections & each section having a sub-title (which is often a question). Unlike the 2nd 1, the questions are specific, the answers are concise, & the Q&As are good.

2) Evidence does things that the other adult WWD books don't:
-On the 1 hand, the 1st 1 "is transcribed natural history documentary...I don't know if it's actually the script from the TV programmes, but it's very similar in flavour if not detail. This means that it shares the programmes' fatal weakness that you can't tell what's fact, what's pure speculation and what's in between" (Google "Mike Taylor - Dinosaur Books"). On the other hand, Evidence "admirably [fills] this gap" (Google "").
-On the 1 hand, the 2nd 1 has almost nothing to do with WWD (There's a bit about the making of WWD in Chapter 2 & a series of color plates; That's about it). On the other hand, Evidence has everything to do with WWD ("Bringing these animals back to life for [WWD] relied on two primary sources of information...In this book we explore this information to show the scientific methodology behind the scenes of [WWD]").

At this point, you may be wondering why only 4/5 stars? For 1, "some of the animals, such as the Tyrannosaurus, were highly inaccurate" (See DK's "Ask Me Everything"). For another, there are several weird bits throughout WWD that pass without comment (E.g. The Diplodocus ovipositor). 2 more things of note: 1) Holtz's "Dinosaurs" gives the best idea of what we've learned since WWD (E.g. Compare the Martill/Naish quote to the Holtz quote); 2) Haines/Chambers' "The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life" does not (I.e. It either makes the same mistakes as WWD or comes up with new ones).

*WWD = "Walking with Dinosaurs".

Quoting Martill/Naish: "While it is by no means impossible that Deinonychus and other dromaeosaurs did cooperate and hunt like this, other possibilities exist. Perhaps the dromaeosaurs exhibited mobbing behaviour...that is, they they did not live together permanently (like truly social animals, such as wolves and lions) but simply cooperated when prey was available. Some predatory lizards, crocodiles and birds still do this today. True pack behaviour for Deinonychus seems unlikely if it means that they routinely attacked an animal that usually ended up killing several of the pack members!"

Quoting Holtz: "If a pack of wolves or a pride of lions loses a couple of members during an attack, the group may become too weak to hunt effectively. But dinosaurs were not mammals. Because each adult female could lay a dozen or more eggs every year, they could replenish their numbers more easily than mammals. So a raptor pack could lose more hunters every year than a lion pride and still be successful."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good!!! 6 Oct. 2004
A Kid's Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
This, I must say, is a good book. There were several bad bits, though, and that stops me from giving it 5 stars. It goes through all the evidence behind the Walking with Dinosaurus TV series. How do we know that Allosaurus had red horns? Or do we not at all know if it did? Buy this book and find out!!
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