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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Journeying Through Time and Mesozoic Life
The book is an oddity of sorts: it is aimed at adults with an interest in dinosaurs but no significant background knowledge on the subject. This can be both an asset and a fault as we will see.

The author avoids the usual structuring of books dealing with the whole of the dinosaurs' story, namely the strict chronological periods / species within each period...
Published on 17 May 2011 by Nick Candoros

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars dinosaur oddity
i just didnt think this book was THAT good.
I found the writing style somewhat patronising but then it was probably written for a teenage audience.
The book seems to conclude that dinosaurs are just a great way to teach kids about ecology and evolution.
Robert Bakker's 'Dinosaur Heresies' wipes the floor with it. Bakker has such a mastery of his subject...
Published on 6 April 2011 by djb


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Journeying Through Time and Mesozoic Life, 17 May 2011
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Nick Candoros (Athens - Greece) - See all my reviews
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The book is an oddity of sorts: it is aimed at adults with an interest in dinosaurs but no significant background knowledge on the subject. This can be both an asset and a fault as we will see.

The author avoids the usual structuring of books dealing with the whole of the dinosaurs' story, namely the strict chronological periods / species within each period one. Instead he opts for a more generalist view in the "background building" section of the book, addressing topics such as solar system creation, tectonic plates movements, the ecology-evolution continuum within the story of Earth and all life on it, energy transfer in food webs, past and present and so on.

The point of providing all this data is to better set the stage for the dinosaur family and their astonishing 160 million years dominance of land life on the planet. Besides a brief, but fairly complete, exposition of the comings and goings of various dinosaur groups through space and time, the tale is told from an ecological standpoint, with separate chapters for herbivores, carnivores, decomposers etc. A host of thorny paleontology issues are meticulously presented, with painstaking effort to objectively put forward all the conflicting viewpoints, no easy task when dealing with deep time. The discussion on alternate solutions for dinosaur physiology and thermodynamics was particularly interesting. Armed with all this, the reader then follows three prehistoric ecosystems "case studies", one for each period of the Mesozoic, coming to the inevitable extinction event and the scientific battles raging around the "why" and "how" of the dinosaurs' demise.

If one has been reading about the subject for some time, many of the book's material - particularly in the "background building" section - will be redundant, but not boring, due to the author's lucid and attractive writing style. Any educated layman can easily follow the scientific arguments presented and the glossary at the book's end is of great help. Personally, I would have liked less background information and more thorny issues discussion, but you cannot have it all. And "Dinosaur Odyssey" offers a lot for dinosaur lovers, beginners and veterans alike.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A realisitc view of dinosaurs, 3 Mar 2010
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Garry Paton "Garry Paton" (Germany) - See all my reviews
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Okay folks, let's get away from the computer generated fantasy 'Jurassic Park', galloping, tiger stripe dinosaur imagery and get back to basics. Let's talk Mesozoic ecosytems, vertebrate physiology, food chains, etc. That's right, how dinosaurs actually lived as animals, suffering disease, predation, participating in sexual display, suffering environmental stress, acting as primary consumers (herbivores) and secondary consumers (predators) alongside a myriad of various other life forms in the mesozoic, from the billions of bacteria in every gram of soil to the dung beetles which fed on dinosaur dung.

I enjoyed this book, it moves away from 'let's dumb dinosaurs down' approach to put a more realisitic face to these fascinating archosaurs, resulting in an absolutely fascinating read. The border line is drawn, let's make hypotheses and support them with hard science, rather than just suggesting and wishing.

As they say, 'it's amazing how little we know, but how much we DO know' - such is the knowledge we have of dinosaurs which is clearly explained in this great book. Can't recommend it enough to anyone who has an interest in dinosaurs. Enjoy.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars dinosaur oddity, 6 April 2011
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i just didnt think this book was THAT good.
I found the writing style somewhat patronising but then it was probably written for a teenage audience.
The book seems to conclude that dinosaurs are just a great way to teach kids about ecology and evolution.
Robert Bakker's 'Dinosaur Heresies' wipes the floor with it. Bakker has such a mastery of his subject that old misconceived ideas fall by the wayside as he tramples across the orthodox view of dinosaurs as lumbering, cold blooded dim-witted plodders. This book aims to correct some of Bakkers supposed excess. For example the idea of dinosaurian gizzards is tempered; as is the notion of warm blooded dinosaurs. Much of the content is recycled. If the info is new to you then you'll be thrilled, but if not then...well....just don't expect fireworks.
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