The Monster’s Bones: The Discovery of T. Rex and How It Shook Our World

Norton. Jun. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781324006534. $27.95. NAT HIST
Randall’s (Black Death at the Golden Gate) book takes the reader across the North and South American continents in pursuit of the great dinosaur bones, leading to the discovery of the Tyrannosaurus rex in 1902 in Montana. Randall breathes life into the human side of natural history, detailing the pioneers, paleontologists, and other personalities that discovered the dinosaurs, including the 19th-century scientists Richard Owen, Henry Fairfield Osborn, Othniel Charles Marsh, Edward Drinker Cope, and Barnum Brown. In addition to the discovery of Tyrannosaurus rex, the book explores the discoveries of other great prehistoric creatures during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including Brontosaurus and Triceratops. The landscapes of the Badlands in the American West and Patagonia in South America are well described. In addition to the adventure of paleontological excavation, Randall also considers how museum collections are developed, exploring the rivalries between great institutions like the Carnegie Museum and Pittsburgh and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Barnum Brown’s travels and his discoveries for the American Museum of Natural History are thoughtfully recounted.
VERDICT Randall successfully writes the human story behind the discovery of dinosaurs; a book that will delight readers of science and history.
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