Dinosaurs Rediscovered: The Scientific Revolution in Paleontology

Thames & Hudson. May 2019. 352p. illus. index. ISBN 9780500052006. $34.95; ebk. ISBN 9780500774694. SCI
Looking back on his 40-year career in dinosaur research, British paleontologist Benton (vertebrate paleontology, Univ. of Bristol, England; When Life Nearly Died) has seen the field evolve from a speculative discipline, often reliant on guesswork and intuition, into a highly technical and computational science. The author examines how this transformation has advanced our understanding of dinosaurs in almost every aspect—their origin and diversification, locomotion, feeding, growth, reproduction, physiology, phylogeny, and the mass extinction event that caused their demise. He further reveals how CT (computed tomography) scanning, 3-D digital imaging, engineering design software, and the scanning electron microscope have revolutionized the paleontologist's work. Benton also describes the Bristol Dinosaur Project: an educational program for getting school children involved with dinosaur science. For dinosaur movie fans, he analyzes the accuracy of dinosaur animation and feasibility of reconstructing dinosaurs from ancient DNA, à la Jurassic Park.
VERDICT This engaging book by one of the field's most prominent paleontologists is as much about the evolution of dinosaur paleobiology as the evolution of dinosaurs themselves. Highly recommended for enthusiasts of these areas.

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