How Fast Did T. rex Run? Unsolved Questions from the Frontiers of Dinosaur Science

Princeton Univ. Aug. 2022. 280p. ISBN 9780691242514. $29.95. SCI
Paleontologist Hone (The Tyrannosaur Chronicles) surveys what is known about dinosaurs and their world—and more excitingly, what people don’t know and how they might figure it out. Discoveries in the last generation have reshaped the understanding of what dinosaurs looked like, how they went extinct, and how they may have interacted with their environment, and Hone is a wonderful guide to this progress. But ultimately this book is forward-looking, discussing where gaps exist in the collective knowledge, why these questions remain, and what it will take to answer them. By explaining how factors of timing, location, and environment determine what is ultimately preserved in the fossil record, he shows that individual specimens may be unrepresentative and lead researchers astray. Unearthing new fossils will be part of learning the dinosaurs’ story certainly, but technological advances in biology, geology, and computing will allow paleontologists to go beyond the physical anatomy of dinosaur skeletons or the occasional preserved soft tissue and say more about the extinct animals’ ecological, behavioral, and social lives.
VERDICT An excellent book that shows the opportunities and potential of paleontology as a field for the intellectually curious scientist.
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