I am not an out-and-out palaeontologist more an amateur enthusiast so I can of course only review this as one. This book contains an interesting up-to-date overview of dinosaur fossil discoveries and theories about dinosaurs evolution/habits and such like. This is a relatively short (about 60-odd pages) introduction into the bulk of the book. The bulk is an overview of every dinosaur species. These refer to their fossil remains/locality/habitats/size/habits/anatomy and general notes based on the latest knowledge. Of course there is an element interperitation of the fossils and related evidence but we do not have every fact to hand and never will. The conclusions reached a certainly based on sound reasoning and are not fringe opinions. The book contains good illustrations (outer and skeletal) of about 3/4 of the dinosaurs referenced. (The only reason I assume they are all not pictured is that some so closely related to be hardly different, for example Carcharodontasaurus and Giganotasaurus.) This book could be used for various purposes (in my case just to know that bit more) but is perhaps best as a quick reference book. I certainly feel that bit more 'complete' in my understanding than I did before I bought this.
Any questions feel free to ask in the comments area I'll try to answer you as quick as I can. (And as best as I can!)
This is a well written, very readable, excellently illustrated and up to date book about dinosaurs, which classifies them into their orders, families and species in readily assimilated fashion. Best of all, it shows both how many theropod dinosaurs grew feathers and how they gave rise to birds, and the work includes many illustrations of various theropod dinosaurs covered in feathers. Early birds such as archaeopteryx are included among the theropods. It really is amazing how many theropods had feathers. As dinosaurs evolved their brains grew bigger until the most advanced of them became as bright as birds.
The theropod dinosaurs were mostly bipedal, moving around on their hind legs and using their front feet for a variety of purposes. It's fascinating to see illustrated how the different species adapted their hands for doing all kinds of things and how, in some species, their front limbs evolved into wings. The various species of tyrannosaurs belong to the theropod dinosaurs, which include the only truly carnivorous dinosaurs. There are two more kinds of dinosaur: sauropdomorphs and ornithischians, all of which were mainly herbivorous.
The sauropodomorphs are the ones with very long necks and very long tails and they all walked on all fours. They are among the largest animals that ever lived. Only the extant blue whale is bigger, a fact cleverly illustrated on page 49 where the sizes of various mammals and dinosaurs are compared.
Ornithischians, or 'bird hipped' dinosaurs are dealt with in the third section of the book. This section contains 'old favourites' such as triceratops and anklopollexia. Ornithoschians are very confusing kinds of dinosaurs because, although they have bird hips, none of them ever evolved into birds. Those fond of 'monsters' will be fascinated by both the ornithischians and the sauropodomorphs, but the most famous monster of all, Tyranosaurus rex, is a theropod dinosaur actually more closely related to birds, although not a direct ancestor of them. There's some evidence that baby tyranosaurs many have been covered in downy feathers. As they grew bigger their large size meant that they no longer needed this insulation.
The first 65 pages of the book, which includes lots of helpful, explanatory illustrations, sets out, in readily assimilated format, lots of useful information concerning the lifestyle of dinosaurs and there are eight helpful maps. The way in which this work has been researched, compiled and illustrated is a superb example of how to present scientific facts in a fashion easily understood by the general reader. I find it much easier to read than many novels, none of which I will be so unkind as to mention here. I love this book. It's the best book about dinosaurs ever and, best of all, part of it is the section where the reader can turn over page after page and see dinosaur after dinosaur covered in feathers just like the many kinds of birds I can see in the garden as I look out of the window as I write this. Thank you Gregory S Paul for your lovely book. It's great stuff!