The Tyrannosaur Chronicles: The Biology of the Tyrant Dinosaurs

Bloomsbury Sigma. Jul. 2016. 288p. illus. notes. ISBN 9781472911254. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781472911278. NAT HIST
Hone (zoology, Queen Mary Univ., London; Lost Worlds Revisited blog, the Guardian) resurrects tyrant dinosaurs, describing them as warm-blooded, unimaginably large yet fleet-footed, and possibly feathered. In smooth, serviceable prose, the author recounts how scientists visualize soft tissue from bone attachments and casts, find taxonomic relationships with algorithms, and deduce information about dinosaurs' ecology from bite marks, stomach contents, and comparisons with living species. This work features a snout-to-tail tour of tyrannosaur anatomy with minimal jargon. Most important, the author admits when evidence is missing or science lacks clear answers. Alas, Hone muddles tyrannosaur locations. His Mesozoic maps lack detail, and he dispenses with ancient continent names and fails to make clear whether a fossil's location is in the present or past. Because most of Mexico, sections of North Africa, and all of Florida were underwater during part of the Cretaceous period, readers may be confused. However, there are no other current books on tyrannosaurs for the nonscientist—though The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs and The Complete Dinosaur cover dinosaur biology with readable prose and clear illustrations—making this a strong selection, despite some flaws.
VERDICT Readers must look elsewhere for maps, but this volume is the go-to for tyrant dinosaurs.
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